Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

When it’s done right, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite indulgences.

And this is my new favorite recipe for carrot cake.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

I’m really picky about carrot cake. Just like when I dissected Lemon Bars and pointed out many things that could go awry from dog biscuit-like crust to lackluster lemon oomph, carrot cake is also ripe for caketastrophes, with the number one issue being dryness. I would rather eat a dry rice cake than ingest all those calories on cake that tastes like a dry rice cake. Problem solved because this is the moistest carrot cake I’ve ever had.

Additionally, many carrot cakes don’t include enough of the starring ingredient, carrots. I also have to have raisins in my carrot cake or it’s just not the same. I know some people don’t like raisins, but I’m a Raisin Lover. Here they’re used plentifully, adding flavor, texture, and help keep an already soft and moist cake even more so.

As for nuts, they’re a total deal-breaker for me in baked goods and this carrot cake is nut-free. With both raisins and nuts, you can add or omit based on your ideal definition of carrot cake.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Another issue that plagues carrot cakes is blandness. When it comes to cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, I use a heavier hand than most recipes call for. Carrots, eggs, sugar, buttermilk, flour; they’re all ingredients that can stand up to bolder spices. In no way is this carrot cake overly-spiced; it’s not a spice cake, but it’s flavorful. It’s not to be confused with those grocery store carrot cakes that are generally so bland they’re just one step above jarred baby food carrots.

As for actually baking the cake, many people seem to shun layered cakes and Bundt cakes, whereas loaves of things, like banana bread or quickbreads baked in loaf pans, seem more popular. I’ll be the first to admit, I typically don’t have the patience for layered cakes or for frosting them, so I baked this in loaf pans. So much easier than a fancy three-layered cake and absolutely nothing is sacrificed in the taste department.

This batter makes enough for two loaves. I used one 9-by-5-inch pan and one 8-by-4-inch pan. The photos are of the 9-by-5-inch. I like symmetry and wanted to do two 8-by-4-inch loaves, but there was just a bit too much batter. I could have them made 4 to 6 muffins, but kept it easy in two loaf pans. Choose any combination of loaf pans, muffin pans, tube or Bundt cake pans. It would make a great 10- to 12-cup Bundt, two mini Bundts, or about 4 mini loaves. Whatever odd assortment of pans you have, go with it, adjusting baking times accordingly.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

To make this cake, I combined elements from my Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and from my Pumpkin Bundt Cake. It’s a whisk-tougher batter and the first 11 ingredients are added to the bowl, all at once, and whisked. There is nothing fussy about it and it goes from cupboard to oven in less than five minutes with very few dirty dishes.

I was torn whether to use oil or butter, and if using butter; to cream it or melt it. My banana bread recipes all begin with melted butter because I love the flavor, but the pumpkin bundt uses oil and it’s the moistest cake I’ve ever had. So for the carrot cake, I used both oil and melted butter. Why not. I absolutely was not dragging out my mixer, so it’s melted butter rather than creamed. Melted butter usually produces denser cakes rather than light and airy, which is my preference anyway.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Simply melt the butter, add the oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugars, vanilla, all the spices, and whisk. That’s the first 11 ingredients.

The buttermilk tenderizes the batter and helps an otherwise dense batter rise nicely while baking. I used both granulated and brown sugar since a bit of brown sugar adds flavor and moisture.

The spices include a mix of cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg. If you don’t happen to keep them all on hand, I suggest using more cinnamon. Cinnamon cures everything. For a twist, if you love pumpkin like I do, pumpkin pie spice would be lovely, too. As written, the cake is nicely spiced and before you double the cinnamon or other spices like I usually do with most recipes, taste the batter and go from there.

Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, optional salt, fold in the carrots, raisins,  and optional nuts. If you’re using both raisins and nuts, reduce each to about 3/4-cup rather than one full cup each so you don’t overwhelm the batter with add-ins, tasty as it sounds.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Pour the batter into your pan(s), making sure not to fill any pan more than halfway full because the batter rises considerably. Bake at 350F until top is set in the middle, and it will likely have domed up a little. A toothpick will come out clean, and even when the cake is done, the pan will feel heavy for it’s size. This is one moist cake, I’m telling you.

Baking times will vary greatly by pan sizes used. For standard-sized loaf pans, 40 to 50 minutes, is recommended. I baked the 8-by-4-inch loaf for 42 minutes and the 9-by-5-inch for 50 minutes. If you’re making mini loaves or muffins, I’d start checking them by 20 minutes, and go from there. One big Bundt cake will probably take 55 to 65 minutes, but because of oven variances, various pans used, moisture content in the carrots, and personal preference, baking times will vary.

While the cake bakes, make the frosting. Carrot cake just isn’t carrot cake without cream cheese frosting. Beat together butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, a splash of vanilla, and whip until it’s soft and fluffy.

For the photos, I wanted you to see the moistness and texture on the surface of the slices and didn’t cover them frosting. But in reality, I eat a thick, ridiculous layer of frosting, smeared all over. I lay the slice flat and butter it. With frosting. That little skimpy one-inch stripe on top is just for photos. Cream cheese frosting is worth lacing up my running shoes for.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

This is my new favorite carrot cake recipe. I’ve been saying that a lot lately about things being the best. These Coconut Oil White Chocolate CookiesThe Best Lemon Bars, these Brown Sugar Cookies, these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies, but these things have all been on my Bucket List for 2013 and one by one, I’m checking them off. Classics and basics that I want a solid recipe for, for years to come.

This recipe is a keeper. The cake is tender, springy, dense but not heavy, falling-apart soft and moist without being greasy. The oil keeps it moist beyond all words, the butter adds flavor, and the buttermilk does both. It’s full of texture from the carrots and raisins. And it’s warmly spiced with cinnamon and the spices classic carrot cake is known for. The cream cheese frosting is the literal icing on the cake; tangy, creamy, luscious.

I have not been able to keep away from this cake. It’s a good thing the recipe makes two loaves.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting - Soft, moist carrot cake that's baked as a loaf. So much faster & easier than baking a cake!

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 2 loaves (one 9x5 & one 8x4)

This is my favorite recipe for carrot cake because it turns out ridiculously moist, soft, tender, and is full of cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, including an abundance of carrots and sweet, juicy raisins. The batter is extremely fast and easy to make by combining the first 11 ingredients together at once in a bowl and whisking. Carrot cake isn't carrot cake without cream cheese frosting and this one is tangy, thick, wonderful, and a must have. The recipe makes two loaves; but can be made as mini loaves, muffins, or a Bundt cake.

Ingredients:

For the Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch salt, optional (buttermilk is already a salted milk and I omitted adding salt)

2 1/4 cups coarsely grated carrots, packed loosely

1 cup raisins, optional but recommended

1 cup diced nuts (such as walnuts, pecans), optional

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe's Whipped Light)

1/4 cup unsalted butter (half of one stick)

1 1/2 cups+ confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Cake - Preheat oven to 350F; spray loaf pans with floured cooking spray; set aside. I used one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and one 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Choose any combination of loaf pan sizes, tube or Bundt cake pans, or muffin pans.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. Add the oil, eggs, buttermilk, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and whisk vigorously until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, optional salt, and stir to incorporate; don't overmix. Stir in the carrots. Stir in the raisins and optional nuts. If using both raisins and nuts, use about 3/4 cup of each rather than 1 cup each, or the batter may become overwhelmed with add-ins. Pour batter into prepared pans, making sure not to fill any pan more than halfway full because this batter rises considerably.

Bake the two loaves (9x5 and 8x4) for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is set in the center, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. Baking times will vary greatly by pan sizes used. I baked the 8-by-4-inch loaf for 42 minutes and the 9-by-5-inch loaf for 50 minutes. Muffins or mini loaves could bake in as short as 20 minutes, a big Bundt cake may need 55 to 65 minutes. Allow cake to cool in pans for about 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. While cakes cool, make the frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, butter, and beat to soften and combine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Add additional sugar as desired for thicker frosting. Spread frosting over the tops of the cooled loaves. Slice into 3/4-inch wide slices and serve. I yield 9 to 10 slices from a 9x5 loaf.

Some people prefer to refrigerate cream cheese frosting and if you're one of them, I suggest frosting the slices individually immediately prior to serving, rather than frost the whole loaf and then refrigerating it, which will dry it out.

Store unfrosted loaf wrapped in plasticwrap and placed inside a large ziptop plastic bag for up to 1 week at room temperature, or freeze for up to 3 months. Freezing second loaf after it's cooled is recommended if you're not going to eat it within a week.

Adapted from Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake

http://www.averiecooks.com/2013/01/carrot-cake-loaf-with-cream-cheese-frosting.html

Related Recipes:

Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – One of my favorite quick-breads on my site. It has everything I could want in a bread; carrots, pineapple, banana, raisins, pudding mix, browned butter, and cream cheese. It’s rich, decadent, and it’s denser like banana bread, with the richness of cake. The photos don’t do this recipe the justice its due

Oatmeal Raisin Carrot Cake Bites (no-bake, vegan, GF) – Cookie dough bites are always popular and instead of cookie dough, these are carrot cake dough. They’re soft, chewy, and filled with texture

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Chocolate Ganache – I took elements of this cake when making the Carrot Cake Loaf because this is my favorite cake on my site. If you crossed the buttery-est yellow cake with pumpkin, added chocolate chips, and draped it all in a rich ganache, this is what you’d get. It’s a one-bowl, whisk-together cake that takes minutes to make, with amazing results. Moist, tender, flavorful, easy and everyone who’s made this cake writes to tell me they make it…again. Always a hit

Pumpkin Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting – This quickbread pairs two of my favorites, pumpkin bread and banana bread, into one and it’s topped with a frosting that I could eat by the spoonful

Coconut Spice Cheesecake Bars – Part cheese cake, part spice cake,with the flavors of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. Chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and coconut are baked in between the cake and cream cheese layers for richly spiced bars that are very fast and easy to make since there’s a shortcut involved

Do you like carrot cake?

If you have a favorite recipe for any carrot cake, bread, or loaves, I’d love to hear about it.

   

129 Responses to “Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting”

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    Ellen — January 30, 2013 at 12:32 am

    Whoaaaa, you are a mindreader. I have leftover cream cheese and was just thinking of making carrot cake!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 1:11 am

      Mindreader. Actually…I could tell you some stories. But I hope you try this cake. Seriously, best I’ve ever had!

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    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance — January 30, 2013 at 2:27 am

    Carrot cake is my favorite!!! We actually had it for our wedding cake! I’ve never made one myself, but one of my friends makes a gluten-free carrot cake every year around her birthday–it’s to die for! Yum.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:34 am

      You’re like the 6th person in these comments alone who said they had it as their wedding cake or want to. I think that would be awesome. I had no idea it was such a popular choice as wedding cake!

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      Michelle @ Eat Move Balance — January 30, 2013 at 9:37 am

      Yes, my husband even joked with me, “of course . . . only you would find a way to get vegetables into your wedding cake”. :)

      Also, I made the coconut/lemon/rosemary roasted veggies and posted about them yesterday. Delicious!!

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    Liz @ iheartvegetables — January 30, 2013 at 4:28 am

    This looks divine!!! Seriously, I NEED a slice now haha. And your photos are fantastic!

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    sam — January 30, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Ugh – yet another post on sweet treats. Use to love your blog, but where is the real food?

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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — January 30, 2013 at 5:20 am

    Again – amazing. Even if I didn’t like it I’d want that. Your photos are just stellar. And I had to go back and pin those carrot cake balls!

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    marti — January 30, 2013 at 5:22 am

    i cannot describe how excited i am about this recipe!! carrot cake WITH cream cheese frosting is my FAVORITE cake. seriously YUM. might have to make this today! i’m thinking one loaf and a few cup cakes will do…with a generous layer of frosting might i add. :)

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    Erin|The Law Students Wife — January 30, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Averie, how did you know I’ve been craving carrot cake?! Also, I totally agree with some many of your points here: the importance of mega moisture, adding plenty of spice, and yes yes yes to raisins! Winner!

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    Regina @ SpecialtyCakeCreations — January 30, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Yes! Carrot cake + cream cheese frosting is another one of those magical dessert/baking combos.
    We also had it for 2 tiers of our wedding cake ;)

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:23 am

      I just told this to another person – you’re like the 5th person in the comments alone who’s mentioned this!

      “So many people have said they want carrot cake at their wedding or had carrot cake as their wedding cake. I never knew it was even an option? I mean anything goes at one’s wedding; it’s the person’s call of course but I am surprised to hear the popularity of it as wedding cake. And I think that would be great! I’d love to be at a wedding where carrot cake was served!”

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    Carol | a cup of mascarpone — January 30, 2013 at 6:14 am

    I adore carrot cake…and this carrot cake loaf looks seriously incredible!!!

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    jackie @ marin mama cooks — January 30, 2013 at 6:25 am

    Oh girl! You’re just like me. I love my raisins as well (I actually just threw a few on my cereal) and dislike nuts in my baked goods. There’s just something about taking a bite into something sweet and then tasting the bitterness of a nut. I like my nuts as an afternoon snack or in certain pastas or oatmeal, but not a baked good. I love the fact that this carrot cake can be made in various sized pans. I actually think bundt cakes are super simple to throw together, the only problem I have with them is frosting them. Whenever I try and dribble the frosting on, it looks LAME! They should offer a course in cake dribbling. I have to tell you that one of John’s favorite desserts is coconut cake and carrot cake. I think I will have to treat him to this cake soon! Have a great day girl and I hope you’re having some warmer and sunnier weather. We’re having spring fever up here and I LOVE it. xoxo, Jackie

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:22 am

      It’s such an easy, easy batter Jackie. In some many ways it reminds me of the pumpkin bundt that we both love, but with carrots. And I do agree than Bundts are super easy; they’re my fave kind of cake to make and if I was making this just for us, I would have made it like that. But for my blog, people love their loaf pans :) Drizzling – just take your time and the beauty is that it doesn’t have to be perfect :)

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    Ellie @ Ginger Bear Kitchen — January 30, 2013 at 6:26 am

    I love love love carrot cake! And the fact that you get to put cream cheese frosting on it is what really does it for me. I would NEVER think of making a carrot cake (or eating one for that matter) that didn’t have cream cheese frosting…until about a year and a half ago. I was introduced to a carrot cake bundt without frosting. I know! Instead of frosting is has a Grand Marnier glaze. Yes! It doesn’t even need the frosting, it is the most moist, delicious carrot cake I have ever had. Now, it doesn’t have raisins but they can easily be added. I just posted my recipe for this carrot cake last week, check it out! And don’t be afraid of the lack of frosting.
    http://gingerbearkitchen.com/2013/01/carrot-cake

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    Eva @ Eva Bakes — January 30, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Thank you for making this nut-free. Desserts with nuts are also deal-breakers for me (I don’t eat nuts). I love the idea of a carrot cake loaf – it’s so much easier to store and slice than a full-blown cake.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:16 am

      So much easier to store, so much easier to tackle, and many people don’t own 2 or 3 cake pans but a loaf pan is more common. And glad my nut-less cake works for you :)

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    Carly @ Snack Therapy — January 30, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Okay, why does everything you make look totally beautiful and perfect?!

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    Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and Veggies — January 30, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Yum! I love carrot cake season! Putting vegetables into my desserts makes me feel okay eating way more of them than I should :)

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    Paula — January 30, 2013 at 6:55 am

    The top tier of our wedding cake was carrot…with lots of cream cheese frosting! I have had some dry pieces with paltry amounts of carrot and figured it could have been a boxed mix. Yours is a beauty–I can see all of the good stuff in there and it definitely looks moist! I’ve never been a fan of angel food cakes or cakes with that type of texture…I like a little density in baked goods.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:15 am

      So many people have said they want carrot cake at their wedding or had carrot cake as their wedding cake. I never knew it was even an option? I mean anything goes at one’s wedding; it’s the person’s call of course but I am surprised to hear the popularity of it as wedding cake. And I think that would be great! I’d love to be at a wedding where carrot cake was served!

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    Ashley — January 30, 2013 at 6:59 am

    I agree with you – I love carrot cake but sometimes it can just be so bad and a total waste of calories : ) This looks delicious. I just got a new loaf pan …. this may be a good way to break it in!

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    Herbivore Triathlete — January 30, 2013 at 7:19 am

    I am not a cake fan and not really a fan of frosting either. With that said, I do love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! I would leave out the raisins though, I like raisins, but not in baked goods/breads. I would add nuts!!

    I would love to have a slice of this, but eat only plant-based foods, seems that the recipe has too many ingredients to attempt to make this vegan.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Hmmm to make vegan, you’d have to swap out eggs, butter, buttermilk and then for the frosting, cream cheese, butter…I am sure there are killer vegan carrot cake recipes that exist and although you could swap out here; the results you get would not be like what my cake tastes like. It would still probably be good but yes, lots of changes so the finished products would be different.

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    vanillasugarblog — January 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Oh averie how badly do I want a slice of this?
    I have almost all the ingredients–no buttermilk.
    I need to make this and soon!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Regular milk with a squeeze of lemon juice in it to let it sour for 10 mins…or 1/2 cup yogurt with 1/4 cup milk….or a dollop of sour cream + milk …. just anything that’s cultured will do the trick!

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    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — January 30, 2013 at 7:41 am

    Love this! I think if I ever get married I’m partial to having carrot cake at my wedding. It really is the best ever. Also, I love how the difference between melted vs creamed butter in cakes — great tip!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:10 am

      I find that to be true when I make cakes (and also cookies) with the melted/creamed. Like not whipping all that air into the butter will cause more density. Sometimes good, sometimes not – depending on the goal. And so many people have said they want carrot cake at their wedding. I think that would be great!

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      Donna — January 31, 2013 at 3:01 am

      One of the “tiers” in my wedding cake was carrot cake (almost 27 years ago!)…I worked with fabulous Portland Oregon bakery to concoct a cake that everyone would love…and broke “tradition” by having it decorated with a stabilized whipped cream/cream cheese mélange) and fresh fruit (fraises/kiwi..etc)..it was really gorgeous and unique..at the time!..By the way…the carrot cake was the first “to go”…everyone at the reception loved it!…Sorry for the ramble!

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      Donna — January 31, 2013 at 3:07 am

      OOPS…Despite previous “ramble”…I wanted to mention that, keeping with an old tradition, we “saved” two pieces of the wedding cake (froze of course!)to have on our first anniversary…GUESS which of the five tiers we chose?…The Carrot Cake ‘natch!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 31, 2013 at 3:07 am

      You’re like the 10th person in this post alone who’s said she had carrot cake at her wedding – or wants to! I had no idea it was a wedding cake ‘option’ per se; of course anything goes at one’s wedding, it’s your wedding! But I thought the choices were white..and…white:) And your other comment about Bundts vs. loaves and perception of healthy or not. I think that’s what happens with my readers, too. They see a ‘cake’ and dismiss it as unhealthy; whereas a loaf pan means bread so it’s safer, healthier; and also people are scared of cake-making, even quickcakes, which is what I call a cake that’s like a quickbread that doesn’t need a mixer, etc. It’s really all the same batter, just how it’s baked. And the fridge/frosting situation – to each her own but my grandmother left her cream cheese frosting at room temp for days and days and everyone was just fine :)

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    Caroline @ Pass the Cocoa — January 30, 2013 at 7:46 am

    This looks amazing, Averie! Agreed, most carrot cakes don’t have enough spices and flavor in them. And I love the idea of baking it in a loaf pan – I can tell myself it’s okay to have it for breakfast (:

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    Little Kitchie — January 30, 2013 at 7:46 am

    I’m also SUPER picky about carrot cake, but when I find one I love, I am obsessed with it. Growing up, my friend’s mom used to make hers for me for my birthday every year because I pretty much ONLY liked hers. I love the way you describe it: “tender, springy, dense but not heavy, falling-apart soft and moist without being greasy.” Ummm, pretty much sounds perfect. Going to have to try this out.

    Oh, and I would eat that frosting off pretty much anything. Or on it’s own. Either way. :)

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

      I love this recipe and like I said, I am SUPER picky and wouldn’t say that unless it met all my criteria :)

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    Laureen King — January 30, 2013 at 7:52 am

    You pictures are amazing, and the recipes look so delicious, I almost took a bite out of my computer screen!

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    Rachel @ the Avid Appetite — January 30, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Oh how I LOVE carrot cake and cream cheese frosting!! Yum! I have some carrots in my fridge needing to be used…I think I’ll be making this soon!

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    Diane @ Vintage Zest — January 30, 2013 at 8:36 am

    This is my kind of carrot cake! Raisins, cream cheese frosting, and no nuts! It’s like you read my mind!

    The only thing I do sometimes is to switch up the raisins for golden raisins. I have a recipe that I like already, but you convinced me to try yours next time, it looks and sounds so delicious!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Thanks, Diane! I had golden raisins but sometimes they are so big that I didn’t want them to fall to the bottom of the pans and didn’t feel like chopping them so I went with darker ones but I do love the goldens, too. LMK if you try this!

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      Diane @ Vintage Zest — February 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Here’s how it turned out when I made this recipe! So, so amazing and I’ve easily found a new recipe to bring to serve guests. It was a huge hit at the Superbowl party this year! Thanks so much. :)

      http://vintagezest.blogspot.com/2013/02/cream-cheese-frosting-with-carrot.html

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — February 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Diane, I’m thrilled you made it and enjoyed it. Loved your post about it and commented there too. Oh forgot to mention to you when you swapped out buttermilk/yogurt…yes, I rarely keep buttermilk on hand and actually had like 4 recipes that all used it, and that was my 1 jug for awhile. And other times, I use yogurt but I’m tempted to get back on the buttermilk train b/c for 1.69 from TJs, you can’t beat the stuff. Anyway thanks so much for making them and blogging about it!

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    Joanne — January 30, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I.LOVE.CARROT.CAKE I want it as my wedding cake…or at least one tier. Mainly because I love cream cheese frosting, but only when it’s actually tart and not overly sweet. This cake looks perfect!

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    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — January 30, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Eek, so normally I’m not a carrot cake kinda girl. Maybe it’s because I’ve been tortured with the awful grocery store versions that make me run screaming. But you have a way with making the most decadent and ultra-beautiful desserts, Averie, so I know this will be good! I just may have to take a leap of faith and try it out for my carrot-cake-wary family and I!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Grocery store versions and this are like homemade PB and commercial – light years apart. I hope you try this one b/c knowing you, I can see you actually loving it!

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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — January 30, 2013 at 10:13 am

    I love carrot cake, this looks incredible!

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    Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — January 30, 2013 at 10:39 am

    I LOVE carrot cake. I think it’s the contrast of the spiced cake and the creamy, tangy frosting. Looks delicious Averie!

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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — January 30, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Yeah, I really like carrot cake! I prefer cakes with a little “spice” to them, instead of overly sweet.

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    Katie — January 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    There is NOTHING worse than bland carrot cake. Carrots are hearty and they can (and should!) be paired with a heavy dose of cinnamon and ginger! I think a carrot cake/spice cake hybrid would be fantastic!

    I’m sure I’ve told you this, but carrot cake is my favorite cake of all time. That’s what I’d request for my birthday cake. That, or ice cream cake from DQ. Sigh, those were the days. :D

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    Joy @ Baking-Joy — January 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    This looks so delicious :-) Carrot cake was made for cream cheese frosting!

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    Christina @ The Beautiful Balance — January 30, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    We share the same pet peeve. I hate when carrot cake does not have enough “real” ingredients! These look exactly what I look and hope for in an amazing carrot cake!

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    Jaclyn — January 30, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Averie – this looks amazing! I love your photos! I love carrot cake so I really need to try this.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      These photos weren’t my faves…the white was so bright and the orange was so orange and I didn’t realize that til…the set was taken apart and the cake was…mostly eaten :) So thank you!

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    Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama — January 30, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Oh yum! You must have known I was dreaming about carrot cake today! I Think it is become spring is in the air and I always make it for Easter!

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    Nancy @ gottagetbaked — January 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Carrot cake is so under-appreciated. I don’t know why because I adore it. I’m always looking for bigger ‘n better carrot cake recipes and this one looks like a winner – it’s so moist and dense, exactly how I like my carrot cake to be. And I completely agree – the spicier the better. If I’m going to be ingesting a crapload of calories, every mouthful better be damn delicious! ;)

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      My thoughts exactly! :) And I would not say this is the Best if I didn’t think so. I mean, sure there are probably layer cakes that take 8 hrs to make and frost and are super complicated that could possibly top this but in terms of everything I’ve ever tried, this one gets the top nod. And as a bonus, it’s EASY! And I am SO picky, too! :)

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    sally @ sallys baking addiction — January 30, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Averie do you know how much I freaking LOVE carrot cake? It’s my favorite cake. Truthfully, i like it much more than sprinkle anything or peanut butter anything. I don’t know why it’s not more popular. Carrot cake was always my dad’s #1 and we always had it for special occassions. There is NOTHING else like it. And exactly what you said… “when it’s done right.” So true. MUST be dense, MUST be moist, MUST be spiced. Just like my very favorite oatmeal raisin cookies or apple pie, I like my carrot cake heavily spiced. :) I am obsessed with this. Loving the oil AND melted butter. It really is a huge question for me at times for my muffins or quick loaves or cupcakes. which fat do I use? LOVE that you used both here. You really hit home with this recipe girl and I can’t wait to make it for my dad!! PS: love the pics. love love love.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Just like oatmeal raisin cookies, pumpkin anything, or apple anything, it HAS to be well spiced or why bother! And you know what’s crazy is in this post alone have had like 10 people say they had carrot cake at their wedding – or want to one day. I never knew that was even really ‘popular’ and of course the bride gets to do whatever she wants whether it’s ‘popular’ or not, but I thought of you :)

      Butter vs. oil. Said what the heck and used both :) And I hate creaming things unless it’s cookies so whisking was the ticket. And I almost never use buttermilk but had it for another recipe so was like oh, this will be perfect. I actually made the cake…to use the buttermilk up :) And then it turned out beyond all expectations. That said, I have been researching them for about…12 months.

      Pics – what a nightmare. Shocking white plate against bright orange background. It was over-expose city and I had to clamp wayyyyyy down on that in editing and lost alot of clarity. I had no idea til i got the pics on my screen just how blown out they were. I hate my camera screen b/c I can never fully tell! So thank you!

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    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — January 30, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Okay, I need this! I love, love, love the idea of baking a cake in loaf pans instead of in cake pans! OMG the possibilities. My husband would LOVE this loaf!

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    Abbe@This is How I Cook — January 30, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Carrot cake was the first cake I ever made. And it was the first time I ever had it. And it was in a Home Economics class. I believe I received an A. I still love carrot cake!

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    Laura Dembowski — January 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    I love carrot cake too! This looks incredible with all those raisins. I’m so glad you didn’t put pineapple in it. Classic carrot cake is awesome enough to stand on its own.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      I have that other recipe I linked to which is a combo of banana-pineapple-carrot and it’s an amazing!! bread. Tropical tasting almost but it’s not classic carrot cake; and for this one left pineapple out for that classic vibe.

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    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — January 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you for adding raisins to carrot cake! I am such a fan of raisins ( and white chocolate, like you ) and a lot of people don’t like them in carrot cake. Besides, you used buttermilk – love baking with buttermilk! This cake sounds amazing!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      I almost never use buttermilk but had it for another recipe and was like oh, this will be perfect. I actually made the cake…to use the buttermilk up :) After tons of cake research, of course! I love raisins (and white choc!)…great minds think alike :)

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    Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking — January 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Oh I love carrot cake and this one looks so delicious!!

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    luv what you do — January 30, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Mmm! I love carrot cake but I’m not a huge fan of cream cheese icing. This looks incredible and your photos are beautiful!

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    Ari @ Ari's Menu — January 30, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    That picture with the raisin on the fork!!!! Absolute perfection. And now I just want to live off this carrot cake for the rest of my life, and pretend it’s “balanced” because there is a vegetable in the title.

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    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl — January 30, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Carrot cake is my FAVORITE kind of cake. I have got to try this loaf. Thanks for sharing :).

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    Denise @ Sweet Peas and Saffron — January 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    I LOVE carrot cake, and my favorite part is the cream cheese frosting. It is always gone before the cake :) This cake looks amazing!

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 30, 2013 at 9:18 pm

      thanks, Denise! And just saw your bourbon blondies on your site…now that looks like something I could get into :)

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    angela @ anotherbiteplease — January 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    oh averie…i love carrot cake…i didn’t even know that i wanted to make carrot cake but now i do … especially YOUR recipe.

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    Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings — January 30, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    I LOVE carrot cake, but don’t hate me for this…I don’t like raisins in mine. Not that I’m a raisin-hater…I just like to eat raisins on their own. And cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake? Yes, please!

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    The Ninja Baker — January 31, 2013 at 1:11 am

    How clever to mix-and-match elements from your pumpkin Bundt cake and carrot pineapple bread recipes.

    I’m intrigued by your comments about buttermilk providing flavor and moistness.
    Your photos are tantalizing, Averie… Maybe I should stray from my standard carrot cake and try yours =)

    P.s. Appreciate the tips about baking times and not filling the baking pans too full.

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    Donna — January 31, 2013 at 2:41 am

    Just behind “Strawberries with Whipped Cream and Meringues” in my personal response to the question “What would you eat in Heaven?”…CARROT CAKE with the, yes OBLIGATORY cream cheese frosting!..Yours is so exquisitely presented…photographed…researched and explained with deft…that I actually bookmarked this offering before getting to the end of your text…true story.

    As for the choosing loaf pans over the layered or Bundt ones…I tend to use them not for aesthetics ( I love the grandiose quality of carrot cakes baked in those)..but because I have noticed, at least in my family, that they are MUCH more likely to “embrace the cake” as they see it as a “healthy” choice (think banana bread, zucchini bread, pumpkin bread) or as “potential breakfast fare” over the glamorous cake form.

    Thanks for the detail…particularly about frosting individual slices last minute to avoid refrigerator frosting “dry-out”…

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    Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — January 31, 2013 at 7:18 am

    I absolutely love carrot cake and I am so happy you like raisins in yours. I know some people hate them in baked goods, but I just love them too!!! And what a great idea to bake the cake in loaf pans!

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