Carrot cake with silky cream cheese icing is one of my favourite cakes for any occasion. This cake is very moist and flavourful, combining spices, carrots, pineapple, and applesauce.
This recipe can be baked as a layer cake by baking in two separate pans and icing with layers – or baked as a simple sheet cake in a single 9 x 13 cake pan. Sheet cakes are always great because they come together quickly and are an easy cake to share at any occasion.
To prepare the carrots, I use a hand grater with a fine setting to keep the carrot pieces small. If using canned pineapple, drain thoroughly before adding to the batter. The applesauce and pineapple moisten this cake and add a nice natural sweetness. You can also add chopped walnuts, pecans or raisins, which is up to your preference.
The cream cheese icing has a slight hint of lemon juice and zest to add a little extra pop of flavour. This carrot cake is easy to make and perfect for birthdays, showers or special holidays.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Dry ingredients for carrot cake
- 2 cups sifted flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
Wet ingredients for carrot cake
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs well beaten
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 cup grated carrots
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple drained
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Icing
- 3 ounces cream cheese
- 3 ounces butter
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Lightly grease two round cake pans or line with parchment paper.
- Sift flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger into a bowl.
- Using a separate bowl, combine oil and sugar and stir until well blended.
- Add eggs, carrots, apple sauce, crushed pineapple and vanilla. Stir with a spatula until evenly combined.
- Gradually add dry ingredients in three portions into the wet mixture and stir until well blended.
- Pour in chopped nuts and stir to blend.
- Pour batter evenly into the two pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the toothpick test is clean. Gently remove each cake from its pan and place them on a rack to cool for about 20 minutes to prepare for icing.
Preparing the icing
- Add softened butter and cream cheese to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Blend on medium speed with an electric hand mixer until smooth and evenly combined. Add lemon zest and blend.
- Add lemon juice. Gradually add icing sugar and blend with a hand mixer until creamy and smooth.
Putting the carrot cake together
- Place one layer of cake onto a cake dish or stand. Ice the top of the cake with an even layer of icing. Place the second layer on top of the first layer, and then continue to ice the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts for garnish.