Whether you're celebrating a holiday, birthday or just have a sweet tooth, this carrot cake hits the spot. It feels celebratory with the two layers and frosting, and is perfect for spring. We tried it out with our Select Cluster Riesling and it makes for a nice pairing.
½ cup golden raisins (optional)
3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
¾ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup vegetable oil
FROSTING AND ASSEMBLY
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Generous pinch of kosher salt
4 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat two 9"-diameter cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; lightly coat rounds with nonstick spray. If using raisins and rum, heat together in a small saucepan over low just until warm, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until liquid is absorbed and raisins are plump, 15–20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Combine carrots and buttermilk in a medium bowl.
- Whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; mix until smooth. Fold in raisins, if using, and walnuts with a rubber spatula. Scrape batter into prepared pans.
- Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35–45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around sides of cakes and invert onto wire rack; remove parchment. Let cool completely.
FROSTING AND ASSEMBLY
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla extract and salt. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Place 1 cake, domed side down, on a platter. Spread ¾ cup frosting evenly over top. Place remaining cake, domed side down, on top. Spread top and sides with 1¼ cups frosting and chill 30 minutes to let frosting set. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides, swirling decoratively.
Recipe by Bon Appetit