Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This carrot cake recipe from the Canadian Living Test Kitchen is one of their many recipes which I often turn to knowing that it will never fail to impress. They aren't kidding when they refer to it as " Canada's Best Carrot Cake".  If you're a carrot cake fan, you're going to love this multi-layered cake filled with cream cheese icing. The cake with crunchy pieces of pecans, and little orange flecks poking through the carrot - pineapple batter is as near to perfection as you can get.
The only changes I made in the past to the original cake recipe is that  from time to time, I might add shredded coconut for that extra tropical flavour to compliment the pineapple. In order to have enough filling for the four layers, I stretched the already decadent cream cheese icing by adding extra icing sugar and some 35% cream .  My version of the cream cheese icing is provided below the original recipe from the CL Test Kitchens.  The cake is finished off with Belgium white chocolate disks and homemade candied carrot slices for garnish. 
One little word of advice should you decide to undertake the recipe; make sure the crushed pineapple is well drained. I even go so far as to wring it out in a paper or cloth towel. 

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup well drained crushed pineapple
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans ( toasted for better flavour)

Sift and blend the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon,nutmeg and salt into a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla. Stir in the carrots  pineapple and pecans. Transfer to two prepared 8" square cake pans. Bake in a pre-heated 350º F oven for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 Canadian Living icing: #1
1 package cream cheese (8 ounces/250 g) 
1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup icing sugar

Add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl and beat until smooth. Pour in the vanilla and gradually  beat in the icing sugar, until a smooth consistency.

Anna's Version: #2 
( enough icing for two 8" inch cakes and  filling for 4 layers.) 
1 package cream cheese (8 ounces/250 g) 
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup 35% cream ( more if needed)  

In a large bowl add the cream cheese and butter beating until smooth. Add the icing sugar, 35% cream and vanilla.  Continue beating until a smooth consistency.


  1. Anna, this may be as gorgeous a cake as I've seen in years. I love your garnishes too !!!

  2. This carrot cake looks amazing! My work had a 'tenant appreciation mixer' yesterday with tons of sweets. I was totally looking forward to it because the flier mentioned carrot cake, but it turned out to be carrot BREAD. I do love carrot bread, but when you've been waiting for carrot cake with frosting for a week, it's a bit of a let down! It's like you read my mind in posting this.

  3. Thanks so much Wayne. Those Belgian white chocolate disks will be the death of me yet. Bad idea buying a large bag of the stuff. I think I've become addicted to them. I keep sneaking one or two whenever I crave something sweet. As for the candied carrots, I've got to thank Ricardo forthe idea. He decorated a cake with them on one of his FN episodes. So when is your next baking project? You did a great job the last time.

  4. Roxan,I know what you mean.I too like sweet loaves but they don't quite do the trick when your craving a piece of rich and moist cake with decadent frosting. I wish I could have sent you a piece. I do hope you get the chance to make the recipe. It's quite easy and almost foolproof.

  5. The carrot cake looks fabulous! I never knew that the carrot cake could have looked this pretty!

  6. Another stunning cake Anna! Super impressive. Man, wish my husband liked this kind of cake, it's one of my favs!

  7. Thanks so much Angie for your lovely comment.

  8. Susie,it's to bad that your husband isn't a fan but I bet we can convert him with my sister-in-law's carrot cake recipe. In her recipe the carrots are so finely grated that you forget you're eating an actual carrot cake.

  9. This is an amazing looking cake! I love carrot cake, but have never had one this beautiful... really gorgeous :)
    P.S. I do not have a contact for you, but I have an award for you when you have time :)

  10. Magic of Spice, what a lovely way to start my day! Thanks so much for the award. I will be checking out your site to see what it's all about. Have a wonderful week-end.

  11. Anna, you did a great job with this cake, it looks stunning. I love carrot cake and I'm drooling over your slice, those chopped pecans simply call my name.
    thanks for sharing.
    have a wonderful weekend

  12. Green Girl, thanks so much for visiting and leaving such a wonderful comment. You have a great week-end too.

  13. I keep staring and smiling at this cake.
    It's the same for all of your recipes and impeccable food styling.
    Is this what they call food porn?
    If it is, I'm hooked and proud of it.

  14. James, Your so sweet. You just brought the biggest smile to my face with your comment. Is that why you brought me the carrots....was it a gentle hint??? I promise to save you a piece of carrot cake the next time I make one.

  15. I absolutely love carrot cake and this looks amazing!! I am definitely saving this recipe for future use!

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  17. Housewife Diary, Thanks for the comment. I'm happy you enjoyed the carrot cake post. You really can't go wrong with Canadian Living recipes; they are truly reliable. I would also like to wish you and the family a very Happy Holiday!

  18. Hát ez annyira jól néz ki,és milyen finom lehet.megsütöm.Remélem jól forditom!!!:):):)

  19. Melliissina,
    Nagyon köszönöm a kedves megjegyzést. Örülök, hogy tetszett a sárgarépa receptet.

  20. Beautiful cake. I have baked many different recipes of carrot cakes over the years. I should try this one for a change.

  21. I'd like to make this into cupcakes for my one-year old's birthday - would it work?