Of all the carrot cakes I have tried in my life, this recipe is and remains the World’s Best – at least in my opinion.
Carrot cake has been one of my ‘later in life’ discoveries. As a child I could not reconcile the thought of a vegetable in my dessert. It just didn’t seem right.
Oh the twisted paradigms we develop in childhood!
With a transcontinental move from Germany to Canada I had to change my opinions on a lot of things. And so also my vegetables-in-dessert aversion eventually disappeared.
It all started with my sister making an amazing chocolate cake in her cooking class and then admitting it had zucchini in it. I couldn’t believe she didn’t tell me first and I also couldn’t believe that I didn’t taste any of the zucchini! Now even my favorite brownie recipe includes zucchini.
I don’t remember the details, but probably the next time I was offered some carrot cake, I didn’t resort to my default ‘no, thanks!’ And sure enough, I also liked this vegetable in my cake.
Not long after I wanted to bake a carrot cake on my own for the first time. We didn’t have a ‘family recipe’ for it, so I just googled for one. It’s been so long that I don’t remember what site I found it on, but the hand-written recipe has been well treasured in my baking notebook.
One differentiating ingredient from most other carrot cake recipes is the crushed pineapple it requires. Grated carrots (just like zucchini) already make for a nice and moist cake, but the added pineapple gives an additional kick in moistness.
Another ingredient that sells this recipe as ‘world’s best’ to me are the chopped pecans (walnuts will also do). I love contrast in cakes. Here the moist and juicy carrot cake is contrasted by crunchy nuts.
I have tried many other carrot cakes since finding this recipe, even here in Asia – most recently in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Luang Prabang – Laos. The later was praised in an online review and ‘the world’s best’. I was excited to try it! To my disappointment however, there were no nuts in either one, resulting in a cake that was great in flavor but kind of boring and too smooth in texture.
If you are looking for a new and different carrot cake recipe, I dare you to try this one. Even my husband, who usually doesn’t like carrot cake at all, loves this version. The largest tier of our wedding cake was this carrot cake and the first to be all gone.
You can pair this carrot cake with your favorite cream cheese icing. I prefer to use Rose Levy Beranbaum’s White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting with this cake. The recipe in the link yields a huge amount. For a 9×13 sheet cake convert it to 3-3.5 cups, for a filled and frosted layer cake to 4-5 cups.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup drained, crushed pineapple
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9x13" cake pan (or two 8 or 9" cake pans). In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt & nutmeg.
- In a separate bowl mix sugars, eggs, oil & vanilla until smooth. Pour this over flour mix and stir until moistened.
- Stir in carrots, pineapple & pecans. Fill batter into pan(s) and bake for about 40 min.
- Let the cake cool in pan on a wire rack. If making a layer cake, invert cake layers onto rack after cooling for 10 min.
- Ice completely cooled cake with cream cheese frosting.
Do you have a favorite carrot cake recipe? What is the selling factor for you?