Layered Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Layered Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – A tender and moist classic two-layer carrot cake with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting! For anyone who loves carrot cake, this cake looks and tastes so impressive but is EASY to make! Perfect for Easter, springtime, or any carrot cake cravings you have!
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot cake is one of my absolute favorite cakes in the world! This two-layer carrot cake is layered and frosted with tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting resulting in a classic-tasting carrot cake.
I love that the batter for this carrot cake can be whisked together by hand, or use a mixer if you’d like. Since the cake uses melted butter rather than softened butter, I easily can whisk the batter together.
I also incorporate crushed pineapple in the batter to add extra flavor, texture, and juiciness. There’s nothing worse than dry cake and this layered carrot cake is anything but. It’s definitely so moist without being heavy!
Feel free to add nuts or raisins if you’d like but they’re optional.
It’s the perfect Easter, springtime, Mother’s Day, or anytime-you’re-craving-carrot-cake kind of cake!
Ingredients In Frosted Layered Carrot Cake
For the easy, no-mixer carrot cake batter, you’ll need to use:
- All-purpose flour
- Ground cinnamon
- Baking soda
- Ground nutmeg
- Ground cloves
- Unsalted butter
- Light brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Grated carrots
- Crushed pineapple, optional but highly recommended
- Walnuts, optional
- Raisins, optional
For the cream cheese frosting, you will need:
- Cream cheese
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Ground cinnamon
What Kind Of Carrots To Use in Carrot Cake
When making any kind of carrot bread or carrot cake, I always recommend using hand-grated carrots on the coarse side of a box grater.
I do not recommend buying pre-shredded carrots in bags from your grocery store. They tend to have a much firmer, harder, and drier texture and are not at all advised in my opinion when making carrot-based desserts.
How To Make A Layered Carrot Cake
Begin by spraying two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray, making sure to either spray or brush it up the sides. Add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of each cake pan and set them aside.
To a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cloves, and set that aside.
To a separate, large, microwave-safe bowl add the butter and heat to melt it before whisking in the sugars. I like to keep recipes no-mixer whenever possible and use a whisk, although you could certainly break out a hand mixer for this task.
Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each adding, before adding the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, stir, and then add in the grated carrots.
Optionally, add the pineapple, walnuts, and raisins before dividing the batter equally between your cake pans and baking your cakes.
Cool the cakes and then invert them. Make sure to cool the cakes completely before frosting them so that the frosting doesn’t melt.
How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting
To the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl and electric hand mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter before slowing incorporating the confectioners’ sugar.
Beat the frosting until it’s nice and fluffy!
How To Frost A Carrot Cake
Once the cakes are cool, take the parchment paper off the bottoms and place one of the cakes bottom side down onto your serving platter.
There should be very little doming but if there is you can trim off a bit to make it more even.
Add 1½ cups of the frosting on top of the cake and smooth it out to the edge.
Invert the second cake and place it bottom side up on top of the frosting.
Add a crumb coat to the entire cake – meaning adding a thin layer of frosting around all exposed surfaces of the cake to seal in the crumbs.
Then place the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
After the cake has set, frost it with the remaining cream cheese frosting, optionally add the remaining walnuts along the bottom edge of the cake, slice, and serve your masterpiece!
Do I Have To Add Pineapple, Walnuts, or Raisins?
No, you do not. They are all optional.
The pineapple really helps to keep this cake extra moist as well as incorporating extra flavor and natural sweetness and while I don’t recommend omitting it, you theoretically could.
As for nuts, I tend not to love nuts in desserts but in carrot cake I do think they are somewhat classic so for this classic layered carrot cake I used them. However, I have plenty of carrot cake recipes where I do not. Whether it’s simply a matter of preference or it’s a nut allergy, if nuts are not your thing, these are very easy to omit.
Or you could use them only in the batter, OR only on the frosting; you don’t need to use them in both places if you want to go light on the nuts.
I also think chopped pecans could work although chopped walnuts are the classic choice.
I know there is lots of controversy in this world about raisins. Two camps – love ’em or hate ’em. I personally love them and would never skip them. They plump up so nicely in the cake while baking and give a great texture but omit them if you are not a raisin person.
How To Store Extra Layered Carrot Cake
Store extra carrot cake airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
It needs to be stored in the fridge and not at room temp due to the cream cheese frosting.
Tips For The Best Layered Carrot Cake
This is a recipe where you can easily add and subtract ingredients such as the pineapple, walnuts, and raisins as discussed.
Additionally, you can mix and match the spices and their quantities. I actually use 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of cinnamon rather than the 2 teaspoons as written because I love cinnamon and detest mild-flavored carrot cake, aka bland. However, not everyone loves it as much so add the cinnamon based on personal preference. Notable though, anything less than the 2 teaspoons, as the recipe is written, just isn’t enough to give a classic carrot cake flavor.
The addition of the nutmeg and cloves, coupled with the ginger that’s found in most allspice blends, all serve to give a nice warmth to the cake. However, you can leave these out and/or add more cinnamon in its place. Or, if you love cloves like I do, you can add a bit more. Same goes for the nutmeg.
Make sure your cream cheese when making the cream cheese frosting is really well-softened to room temperature. If not, your frosting will have a tendency to be lumpy.
If you want to ensure less lumps, go ahead and sift the confectioners’ sugar as well before adding it. Although it’s not truly essential.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon* (I use 3 teaspoons for bolder flavor)
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups grated carrots, by hand on the coarse blade of a box grater
- 8 ounces canned crushed pineapple, drained well; optional but highly recommended
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, optional and divided
- ½ cup raisins, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 ounces brick-style cream cheese (not lite), very well softened to room temp**
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Cake - Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray. Using your fingers or a pasty brush, make sure the spray covers all inside surfaces of the pans and that they are evenly coated. Add a circle of parchment paper to the bottom of the pans; do not extend it up the sides of the pans. Spray with baking spray, set aside.
- To a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cloves* (see Notes below); set aside.
- To a large microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and heat to melt, about 1 minute.
- Add the sugars and whisk well to combine, or beat with a handheld electric mixer.
- Add the eggs one at a time, whisking or beating after each addition
- Add the vanilla and whisk or beat to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined, scraping down the sides as necessary to incorporate everything well; don't overmix.
- Add the carrots, optional but recommended drained pineapple, half of the walnuts (optional), and the raisins (optional) and stir until everything is incorporated.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans, lightly smoothing the top with a spatula and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, or a few moist crumbs hanging on is okay but no wet batter.
- Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Invert the pans and let cool completely on a wire rack. While the cakes cool, make the frosting.
- Frosting - To the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or large mixing bowl and handheld electric mixer, add the cream cheese**, butter, and beat on medium until smooth.
- Add the vanilla, confectioners' sugar, cinnamon, and beat to combine staring on low speed at first, and scraping down the sides as necessary. Turn the mixer to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Once the cakes are cool, take the parchment paper off the bottoms. Place one of the cakes bottom side down onto your serving platter. There should be very little doming but if there is you can trim off a bit to make it more even.
- Add 1½ cups of the frosting on top of the cake and smooth it out to the edge.
- Invert the second cake and place it bottom side up on top of the frosting.
- Add a crumb coat to the entire cake- meaning add a thin layer of frosting around all the exposed surfaces of the cake to seal in the crumbs.
- Place the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
- After chilling, frost with the remaining cream cheese frosting.
- Optionally add the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts along the bottom edge of the cake before slicing and serving. Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days (although you could stretch it to 7 days since this is a large cake and you may not consume if all quickly unless you're making it for a larger group or event). Due to the cream cheese frosting, you'll need to refrigerate this cake.
*You can mix and match the spices and their quantities. I actually use 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon) of cinnamon rather than the 2 teaspoons as written because I love cinnamon and detest mild-flavored carrot cake, aka bland. However, not everyone loves it as much so add the cinnamon based on personal preference. Notable though, anything less than the 2 teaspoons, as the recipe is written, just isn’t enough to give a classic carrot cake flavor.
**Make sure your cream cheese when making the cream cheese frosting is really well-softened to room temperature. If not, your frosting will have a tendency to be lumpy.
If you want to ensure less lumps, go ahead and sift the confectioners' sugar as well before adding it. Although it's not truly essential.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 881Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 166mgSodium: 359mgCarbohydrates: 101gFiber: 3gSugar: 78gProtein: 8g
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