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A slice of carrot cake on a server being lifted off a cake stand.
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5 from 4 votes

Carrot Cake

This is the BEST Carrot Cake Recipe if you love this classic dessert! Made with tart currants, aromatic spices, toasted pecans, and a rich cream cheese frosting, you’ll get rave reviews every time you make this confection. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time55 mins
Cooling Time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 665kcal

Ingredients

Cake

Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • To toast the pecans, spread them on a small baking sheet and bake them for about 5 minutes, stir, then toast for another 5 minutes.
  • While they're toasting, spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Once the pecans are toasted, add about ¾ cup to the flour mixture along with the currants and stir to coat.7
  • In a large bowl, beat together the oil, sugars, and eggs.
  • Use a rubber spatula to fold the carrots and dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until fully incorporated.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes at 350°F until a cake tester or toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center.
  • Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. The flip onto a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before frosting.8

Frosting

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and salt.
  • Add in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat on medium-high speed until smooth.
  • Frost cooled cake and top with the remaining toasted pecans.

Video

Notes

  1. Speculaas Spice is an incredible spice blend that takes this cake from basic to AMAZING! You can order it online here. If you don't have it and don't have time to order it, you can use a substitute of 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, and 1/8 teaspoon of each: white ground pepper, ground ginger, and cardamom. You'll also want to increase the ground cinnamon to 1 1/4 teaspoons.
  2. If you don't have Vietnamese cinnamon, regular ground cinnamon may be used.
  3. Toasting the pecans will darken the color, amplifies the flavor, and strengthens the texture so they don't get soft once baked into the cake.
  4. Dried zante currants should be available in the same aisle as the raisins at your local grocery store. They are smaller than raisins and that's why I like to use them in this recipe as I find they give a better texture to the cake. However, raisins or golden raisins can be used instead. You can always chop the raisins for a better texture.
  5. Light brown sugar may be used if you don't have dark on hand.
  6. Do not use matchstick carrots. Make sure that you use freshly grated carrots. 
  7. Make sure you toss the pecans and currants with the dry ingredients before adding to the wet ingredients. This prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the cake.
  8. Cake can be placed in the fridge after baking to cool quicker.
  9. This recipe calls for a 9-inch cake pan. You can use a 10-inch cake pan but DO NOT use a smaller one unless you're dividing the batter to make two small layers like a 6-inch cake.
  10.  

Nutrition

Calories: 665kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 292mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 70g | Vitamin A: 5010IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 2mg