With spring coming up on us, Its time to break out this beast of a carrot cake recipe. Now, if you’re thinking you are not a fan, let me tell you that my husband and I weren’t either – until we tried the mother of all carrot cakes.
It was my birthday a few weeks ago and we went out to dinner at a restaurant downtown called Kona Grill. Our waiter was amazing and he raved and raved about their carrot cake and how he ate so much it made him sick. We decided to try the guy’s recommendation, and it was one of the best decisions we have ever made! The piece of cake he brought to our table was the size of my head, and was literally what dreams are made of. It was sweet, cinnamon-y, fluffy. Despite its size, the cake did not make it all the way home.
I have been craving this cake lately and decided to try to make my own version at home. I started with my mother’s old recipe and swapped a few ingredients (like pineapple??) for better ones (like applesauce). The cake itself is incredibly soft and moist – you won’t even notice there is a vegetable in it. The two cups of carrots and the cup of applesauce are what prevent it from becoming a dry, crumbly mess. I added more cinnamon and a hint of nutmeg to create a warm, almost spice cake-like taste to the batter. And the cream cheese frosting, oh the cream cheese frosting…it is like dream you won’t want to wake up from.
I set out to make a recipe that could just come close to the cake at the restaurant. I am happy to say I think I got it pretty darn close- if not maybe a little better! I don’t want to toot my own horn *toot, toot* buuut you need this cake in your life. I am so excited to share this with you! If you try it, leave me a comment below and tell me what you think.
- For The Cake:
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cup light olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup applesauce
- 2 cups grated carrots
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- For The Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temp.
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 2½ cups powdered sugar
- Carrot Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour three 9 inch round cake pans. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the sugars, vanilla, olive oil, eggs, and applesauce. Whisk until just incorporated.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Add the carrots and chopped walnuts and stir.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and place on the center rack of the oven. You may have to bake them separately depending on how many pans will fit in your oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- A toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan should come out clean and the edges of the cake should start separating from the pan.
- Cream Cheese Frosting:
- While the cakes bake you can make the frosting, it comes together very quickly.
- Using a mixer on high, beat cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth and no clumps remain.
- Slowly add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time until all combined.
- This will frost a three layer cake, and I even had a little left over.