This is the densest, richest, chunkiest, and perfectly wonderful Carrot Cake with the easiest, most luscious cream cheese frosting I’ve ever found. It’s easy to make but it’s not for wimps. It will make you forget all those airy, light, and boring carrot cakes you’ve ever had to suffer through. You don’t just eat this carrot cake…you chow down.
My recipe is based on one from The Silver Palate Cookbook and I’ve been baking it for about 25 years. It’s what I make for all of our family birthday celebrations. In fact, if you ask me to bring dessert, this is likely what I’m bringing! It’s my husband Mike’s #1 favorite and my daughter Francesca’s as well. Whenever I bake it, everyone raves and wants the recipe so I urge you to try it. It’s dense, it’s fabulous and it’s deeply flavorful.
I recently adapted this cake into a Gluten-Free version. It’s just as dense and yummy and you’ll never miss the gluten!
You can do it in 2 cake pans but I’ve found it’s much easier to serve from a regular 9 x 13 pyrex. Just bake it a little longer. And you can frost and serve right from the pyrex! Go ahead, chow down, I won’t tell! Or, make carrot cake cupcakes. (see baking times under Kate’s Tips below.) Rich and loaded with carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple. So good!
Dense and Luscious Carrot Cake
- 3 cups organic all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour or, Cassava Flour (see Kate's Tips below)
- 2¼ cups sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1½ cups coconut oil, organic olive oil, or grapeseed oil
- 4 large organic eggs lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1½ cups chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1½ cups shredded coconut
- 1⅓ cups shredded raw carrots ( or cooked and pureed carrots)
- ¾ cup crushed pineapple
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9 inch layer cake pans and line with waxed paper or grease a large 9 x 13 inch pyrex or sheet pan. No need to use waxed paper if you're using the large pyrex.
- Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in walnuts, coconut, carrots, and pineapple.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan or pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until edges have pulled away from the sides and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. If you use the sheet pan cook for 50-60 minutes.
- Cool on a rack for 3 hours. Fill and frost with cream cheese frosting or dust top with confectioners sugar.
Look at all those flecks of carrots, nuts, and pineapple!
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. organic cream cheese
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2-3 cups confectioners sugar (I use the 2 cups sugar and it’s not as stiff but I like it less sweet)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Cream together the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.
- Slowly sift in the confectioner’s sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. The mixture should be free of lumps.
- Stir in vanilla. Frost your cooled carrot cake.
- I usually use pecans but walnuts are fine.
- You can also add raisins if you like, golden raisins would be pretty. Or, any dried fruit. Ooh, chopped apricots!
- Here’s the Cassava Flour I like because it works just like regular flour: Ottos Cassava Flour
- Use clean, organic oil if possible. Try this grapeseed oil or my favorite olive oil from Kasandrinos.
- I use Coconut sugar in this cake because it’s low glycemic and works great!
- This cake freezes exceptionally well. Just cut into individual squares, wrap and freeze in a big gallon zip lock bag.
- Makes anywhere from 12-18 good-sized squares if you do it in the 9×13 pyrex.
- This recipe works great as cupcakes too. Makes 24 or, what I do is make 12 cupcakes in a paper-lined muffin tin and then put the rest in an 8×8 pyrex. Bake about 25-30 minutes for the cupcakes and 30-35 for the cake. Use a cake tester after 20 minutes and keep checking at 5-minute intervals till done. You don’t want to overbake. Enjoy!
There is not enough liquid to mix this cake. I had saved the juice from the pineapple which was about 4ozs to make it possible to add the fruits and nuts and carrots 🙁 Turned out really good though.
Hi Donna – I’m glad it worked for you! I’ve always found it moist enough but maybe I use more of the pineapple juice than I realize! Thanks for stopping by!
I agree there’s not enough liquid to mix this cake, so I had to add in some low fat milk myself. But it still turned out real good & dense & still moist. I got great reviews from all my friends who tried it that at last I got the recipe right! The frosting’s perfect too! Thanks so much for this great recipe!
You are so welcome Michele! I’m glad you and your friends love the cake, it’s our favorite! Blessings 🙂
This is the ultimate carrot cake. I am throwing away all other carrot cake recipes. Thank you so much for sharing. And to make it even better it is much easier to make than any of the dozens of recipes I have tried.
Thank you so much Jo! I’m thrilled you love it as much as I do. Thanks for letting me know. Blessings 🙂
Hey Kate! This looks simply gorgeous! I am planning on making this and stacking it. Do you think it is dense enough to forgo the dowels or would I be better fully supporting the cake? Thanks for sharing the recipe!
Hi Steven – This is totally dense enough to stack! No worries! Enjoy 🙂
OOPs, Just saw you posted another version that indeed uses gluten free flour blend, my apologies.
No worries at all Laura! Thanks for stopping by!
Hi, I will try to do this but can I omit the grated coconut? thanks 🙂
shredded i mean 🙂
Hi Mary–You can definitely leave it out. Enjoy!