Posted by: Catherine | April 22, 2009

The Queen of All Carrot Cakes (RR*, The First Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner)


* Reader Recipe

My good friend Susan brought Louise to The First Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner, and it was a mini Glamour reunion—we’d all worked there together as writers/editors when we were just starting our careers (a long time ago!). Louise and I had been out of touch since I left Glamour for Harper’s Bazaar, and it was as if time had stopped when she walked in with her carrot cake, which was indeed The Queen. She looks the same (don’t we all?), and we got right into the catching-up part as if we’d just been separated by a long holiday weekend. Now, Louise is a freelance editor and writer for The New York Times, she’s just moved out to LA from the burbs outside of NYC, lives near the beach with her husband now that all her kids are off at college…and it’s good to have another NYC friend close by. Her carrot cake is just how I love it: really moist, filled with lots of goodies, topped with a rich cream cheese frosting…amazing!

2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
2 cups flour
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
3/4 cup corn oil
3/4 cup buttermilk (or use 1 T lemon juice in 1 cup milk; let stand for 5 minutes, then use the 3/4 cup you need)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 t. vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups peeled and grated carrots
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
4 oz. coconut flakes (plus…optional…another 4 oz. to toast for 5 minutes at 350 degrees for scattering on top of frosting)
Small can crushed pineapple
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together first five dry ingredients. Whisk together corn oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and sugars. Stir half the dry ingredients into the sugar mixture and blend. Add the eggs one at a time to the rest of the dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the carrots, pecans, raisins, coconut, and pineapple (reserve liquid).

Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan, or 2 greased and floured loaf pans, or two 9- or 10-inch cake pans. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes–cake is done when cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool. If using a tube pan, split cake into three layers. If using two layers, split each layer in half. If making in loaf pans, I don’t split them at all.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, more if you like it sweeter
Pineapple juice, just enough to make it spreadable

Mix cream cheese, butter and sugar. Add juice a tiny tit at a time. Spread between layers and on top. Spread on sides if desired (you might need to double the recipe, or at least halve it again). If making loaf cakes, I ice the entire cake.



  1. I’ve been craving carrot cake and carrot muffins lately but don’t have a reliable recipe. This cake looks wonderful. I like it moist and with lots of carrots too! (P.S. your lemon meringue bombe is making a splash on my site today!)

  2. I so so love carrot cake.. my favorite version is Ina Gartens.. This looks delectable also. I love the idea of the pineapple juice in the frosting..

  3. Carrot cake looks excellent! I would love to have a slice!

  4. I love the pineapple juice in there, it sounds delicious!

  5. Sounds so delicious, it’s been such a long time since I made this carrot cake. I shall remember to add Pineapple juice next time.

  6. Now that’s what I call a carrot cake. I promised husband-person ….months ago … that I would bake him a proper one – with carrots and pineapple and nuts and now – here it is! Scrumptious.

  7. My favorite cake. I should make one soon, it looks so good.

  8. humm, carrot cake can’t be beaten! :))))

  9. Wow, the texture of that cake looks out of this world. I love how chunky it looks (although I’m not a big fan of the word “chunky”). I also hope to one day be a NYC transplant in California!

  10. I love carrot cake, and have yet to ever make one. Thanks for sharing!

  11. i have SUCH a weakness for carrot cake, and i particularly like versions containing coconut and pineapple (and plenty of cinnamon). oh, and cream cheese frosting is essential. this recipe certainly looks like a winner to me!

  12. How nice to catch up with old friends!

    It’s great gossiping with people you used to work with!

    I love carrot cake, although I am the only one in my family who eats it, so I’ve hardly made it…so can I come over for a slice? Ha!

    Thanks for sharing, I’ll make this the next time I go to a family party!

  13. Carrot cake is one of my boyfriend’s favorites and I am always looking for new recipes. Thanks for sharing – it sounds like it was a great reunion!

  14. Love carrot cake…I’ll definitely try your recipe. The pictures are so pretty and very tempting. Yummie!

  15. there are few carrot cakes i don’t enjoy…and this one looks like a winner indeed. and i love the little addition of pineapple juice in the frosting…becasue well, what is there to really say about cream cheese frosting, it is just amazing.

  16. This looks so delicious – and like others have said, using the pineapple juice in the icing is inspired.

  17. Carrot cake is my husband’s favorite cake…and it just so happens that his birthday is in a few weeks!

  18. MMMMMMM…..Catherine!! This carrot cake looks fabulous!
    It isn’t well known in Belgium, but my husband loves the good eh excellent one’s!!
    This version is no exception! Yummie cake!

  19. I like the sound of adding raisins and pineapple to a carrot cake! It looks great!

  20. ok, i stumbled onto your blog when i was looking for some fabulous dessert recipes… well, when i saw this carrot cake i thought. “Oh my. I have to make this!” and i did… and i LOVED it! and so did my whole family. Hehe, it was so good, that i went back to your website to try some more goodies… and just made your brownies (with the marshmallows in the frosting)… Ok, that was sinfully DIVINE. Thanks for these awesome recipes! I will be making many more from you… 😀

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