This recipe produces a moist flavorful cake. If you can make the cake a couple days before serving, the flavors will develop even more. Make sure you grate your own carrots, do not buy pre-grated carrots from the store. Use the large holes on a cheese grater, it's worth the extra step. I take advantage of my kitchen scale with this recipe by placing the mixing bowl on the scale and weighing out the ingredients, this way you don't have to get as many kitchen utensils dirty.
If you're the person that likes pecans in their carrot cake, toast 2 cups (260g) of pecans, chop them up and add 1 cup (130g) to the cake when you add the carrots and the other cup on the top of the frosted cake for garnish. I know this picture has four layers, yours will have three!
(yield 3 layer cake)
1 1/2 cups (300g) brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
1 cup (198g) vegetable oil
3/4 cup (133g) smooth unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (312g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (8g) baking powder
1 tsp (6g) baking soda
1/2 (3g) tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp (4g) ground cinnamon
1 tsp (2g) ground ginger
1/4 tsp (0.6g) ground nutmeg
2 cups (260g) graded carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz (450g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (115g) butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups (575g) confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp heavy cream or milk
pinch of salt to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter or spray with baking spray, three (or four) 9-inch round cake pans. Cut parchment paper in circles the same size as bottom of cake pan and place in cake pans. Spray again with cooking or baking spray.
Whisk brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla together in a large bowl until combined and smooth.
In another large bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together. Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold ingredients together using spatula until just combined. Fold in carrots.
Pour batter evenly into the three prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-24 minutes or until toothpick placed in center of cake comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and allow them to cool completely in pans set on a wire rack. Make sure cakes are completely cooled before frosting. You can also remove cakes from pan, wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In bowl of mixer with paddle attachment cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla.
Gradually add powdered sugar on low speed, once incorporated scrape down sides of mixing bowl and increase speed to medium high until fully incorporated.
Add milk and mix in at medium speed, then increase speed to high and let mix for two minutes. This makes the frosting light and fluffy. The frosting should hold its shape so it doesn't fall off your cake. Add a pinch of salt to taste.
Add more milk if the frosting seems to stiff or more powdered sugar if frosting seems too soft.