You can stop looking for your “go to” Carrot Cake recipe. I’ve found it. She instructed me to make this with a whisk and wooden spoon – no schmancy appliances. She told me it was moist and dense, as Carrot Cake should be. She promised me it was easy and foolproof. And she delivered. Who is “she”? Dorothy, of course!
My very favourite recipes that I’ve shared here on RecipeTin Eats are those that have a story, a personal connection. Family recipes. Recipes I hunted down after experiencing exotic dishes on my travels. Recipes I concocted with fierce determination to make healthier, tastier homemade versions of my favourite restaurant and takeout foods.
So how cool is it that today, instead of posting just any Carrot Cake recipe, I’m sharing a Carrot Cake recipe from a reader?? (I realise how teen it sounds to use the word cool, but honestly, I can’t think of a better word to describe this!)
This fabulous Carrot Cake – and believe me, it is fabulous – is a recipe from the lovely Dorothy of Tennessee, a long-time reader of RecipeTin Eats. Anyone who has scrolled through Comments on any of my recipes has probably seen the enthusiastic – often CHEEKY – commentary from Dorothy! Honestly, it’s gotten to the stage where I actually worry that she is unwell if I don’t see a message from Dorothy within 6 hours of publishing a new recipe!!!
Dorothy is as food obsessed as I am, and she knows her stuff! It’s clear that she’s a fantastic cook and we have very similar standards and palettes. So when she offered me her carrot cake recipe, I didn’t hesitate for a minute. I knew it would be a ripper.
She hit it out of the park. This is The Best Carrot Cake I Have Ever Had.
When I say that Dorothy and I have “similar standards and palettes”, this Carrot Cake is a classic example:
- The cake itself is not too sweet. Because there’s plenty of sweetness from the frosting, you don’t need the cake to be crazy sweet – it’s too much! (PS 1 1/2 cups of sugar might sound like a lot, but this is a BIG cake that serves 16 which is only 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar per piece);
- The cake is moist and dense, but not doughy or “mud-cake” like;
- A bit of crunch from pecans and coconut in the cake. For such a dense cake, having a bit of soft crunch in the cake makes a real difference; and
- There is plenty of frosting!!! Because it’s everyone’s favourite part, right?? So I was so glad to see that her recipe made a generous amount of frosting! (PS I beat frosting until it’s nice and fluffy which creates even more volume).
See how perfect the cake to frosting ratio is? Bang on! (i.e. high frosting ratio!!!)
And so I present to you, Dorothy’s Carrot Cake. The recipe is exactly as she sent it to me, I didn’t change a thing.
Thank you Dorothy, for sharing your wonderful recipe with us!!! I’m so honoured! – Nagi x
PS This recipe is made using a rectangle baking dish but it can also be made as a cake with a filling and frosting on the sides. I’ve made it both ways, but prefer it in rectangle single layer form like this because the cake is moist, it doesn’t need a filling. Plus, it is easy to cut into 16 generous pieces – harder to cut a round cake into 16 pieces!
PPS If you want to try another sensational Dorothy recipe, check out her 5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars I shared last year. I’ve made this so many times, I’ve memorised it!
- ¾ cup milk, at room temperature (full or low fat) (Note 2)
- 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar (or other clear vinegar)
- 20oz/440g can crushed pineapple, drained (Note 3)
- ¼ cup reserved pineapple juice (from canned pineapple)
- 3 large eggs
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- ½ cup vegetable oil (or canola)
- 2 cups plain all purpose flour (Note 4)
- 2 tsp baking soda (NOT BAKING POWDER)
- ½ tsp salt (I use table salt)
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 cups grated carrot (Note 5)
- ¼ cup shredded coconut (plain or sweetened) (Note 6)
- ½ cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
- 6oz/180g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 sticks / 225g / 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectionary / icing sugar (sifted if clumpy)
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan forced). Spray and line a 9 x 13" / 22 x 33cm pan with baking paper. (Note 7)
- Combine milk and lemon juice, set aside for 5 minutes to curdle.
- Drain pineapple, reserving the juice. Measure out ¼ cup of pineapple juice.
- Whisk together Dry ingredients in a bowl.
- In a separate LARGE bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, ¼ cup pineapple juice and milk.
- Stir in carrot, crushed pineapple, coconut and pecans. Stir in Dry Ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the cake is golden on top.
- Rest for 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack (Note 8).
- Frost when cool. Optional: Decorate with 1 cup toasted coconut (half sweetened shredded and half unsweetened flakes)
- Beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Then beat in the icing sugar in 2 batches until it is well incorporated and the frosting is fluffy (I like mine really fluffy - increases volume!).
2. You can just microwave the milk for 30 seconds if you forget to bring the milk to room temperature (that'd be me!)
3. 20oz = 565g, not 440g. However, in Australia, crushed pineapple comes in 440g so I just use 1 x 440g can. The first time I made it, I measured 565g out accurately, but the 2nd time I just used 1 x 440g can and did not notice a difference.
4. Dorothy uses half plain and half wholewheat flour. I used all plain flour.
5. Avoid long strands of carrot by holding the carrot perpendicular i.e. 90 degrees against the grater. If you grate on an angle, you'll end up with long strands.
6. I use plain shredded coconut because we don't have sweetened coconut in Australia. I really didn't miss any sweetness in this cake!
7. You don't need to fully line the baking pan, just most of the base. The sides will be fine.
This can also be made in a 20cm/8" springform pan which will make a cake suitable for cutting in half to fill with frosting. This recipe makes plenty of frosting for the inside, sides and top of a round cake!
I prefer making this in rectangle form (I made it in cake form too) because it's easier to eat and serve. And it's so moist, this cake is perfect as a single layer cake without a filling!
8. To turn the cake out, check the sides and if they are a bit stuck, run a knife around the edge (this cake is oily enough so it doesn't stick much, if at all). Place the pan on the counter, and place the rack on top. Then flip. It should slip right out. This cake isn't one of those types that can get stuck to the pan because it has enough oil in it.
No nutrition information today. No counting calories when it comes to cake!!
Oh, and no surprises here. Look who was lurking during the shoot. I’m not going to lie to you. Dozer scored a big hunk of carrot cake today. His bottom can afford it. Mine can’t.