General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Carrot cake: what do I need to know?

Asked by Jeruba (55494points) June 3rd, 2023

Help relieve my performance anxiety. My son wants carrot cake for his birthday. I’ve never made it. I don’t think I’ve ever even had any, whether homemade or from a bakery. I have no idea what it tastes like. (Carrots?)

Please fill me in. Should I buy a mix? Order from a supermarket bakery? Other? Anything tricky about it? Does it work best as a frosted layer cake, or a sheet cake, or something more like a loaf?

Do any fresh carrots go into it?

How about those little carroty orange decorations? Can I buy them?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

23 Answers

janbb's avatar

Here’s my recipe that I constructed from bits of two others (Spacing of ingredients didn’t align right but you can figure it out)::

Jan’s “Best Ever” Carrot Cake

2 c. sugar 1 tspn. Vanilla
2 tspn. Baking powder 4 eggs
1 tspn. Baking soda 1 ¼ c oil – can be more or less for moisture
2 tspn Cinnamon 1 small can crushed pineapple
1 tspn. nutmeg 3 c. grated carrots
½ tspn salt ½ c. chopped nuts – optional
2 c. sugar ½ c. raisins

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and sugar. In separate bowl combine and mix well vanilla, eggs, oil, pineapple. Add to dry mixture and mix by hand. When thoroughly mixed add remaining ingredients.

Bake in greased 9 by 13 pan at 325–350 for 1 hour. Test with toothpick for doneness.

Can be frosted with cream cheese frosting or orange frosting below.

Orange Buttercream Frosting

4 T. butter ½ or more tspns each lemon and orange rind
2 T. fresh lemon juice Dash of salt
2 T. fresh orange juice 2 cups confectioners sugar

Mix ingredients in the order given. Let stand 5 minutes before beating until creamy. If thin, you can put it in refrigerator for a short while before spreading on top of cake.

gorillapaws's avatar

The only thing I have to contribute to this is to insist you make the cream cheese frosting and get good raisins. The frosting should be tangy and creamy.

raum's avatar

I vote for buying carrot cake for the occasion this year. And practice making one from scratch from Jan’s recipe for next year.

Did a quick search and this place looks legit.

smudges's avatar

I’ve used a mix and canned cream cheese frosting…was quite good.

janbb's avatar

If you have a Costco in your area, they make a good carrot cake too.

JLeslie's avatar

I would buy it in your supermarket bakery or at a stand alone bakery. I would not bother to make it yourself, because I cannot tell much difference between carrot cake made from scratch and bakery made carrot cakes. Fresh Market might have it in their bakery and it shouldn’t be too huge from that store. Not sure what other grocery stores you have there. It does freeze well if you wind up buying a big cake.

Carrot cake does not taste like carrots, it tastes sweet like cake, and the cake is not spongy, but usually fairly dense and moist and I guess the closest description I can come up with is spice cake (also might be called a gingerbread cake or molasses cake) but not as gingery as a spice cake or it can have a more cinnamon flavor, but it is not very pronounced. Some carrot cakes have walnuts and raisins in the batter, some don’t. It is almost always made with cream cheese frosting. Some restaurants serve it warm, but usually it is served room temperature.

If you just need a big slice rather than a whole cake, you could try a restaurant, many restaurants have carrot cake on their menu. I know J. Alexanders usually has it.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks, all. I didn’t even know that cream cheese frosting was de rigueur. I really like the idea of buying a carrot cake this time and planning ahead for the next one. So I went and ordered one at Lucky’s this afternoon. Thanks, @raum. Thanks, everyone.

I sincerely hope it comes without raisins.

If it doesn’t taste like carrots, but just tastes sweet like cake, what’s the point of making it with carrots and giving it a special frosting?

@janbb, I’ll save your recipe.

raum's avatar

Happy early birthing day!

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I think the carrots help with the texture of the cake. Maybe some mom thought it was a good way to get her kids to eat a vitamin A vegetable. Or, someone had a big crop of carrots. Similar to avocado or prune brownies which are supposed to be healthier.

Please let us know if you like it.

Edit: This says George Washington served carrot cake. Who knew?

jca2's avatar

@Jeruba the cream cheese frosting is generally a little tangy, like cream cheese, and it’s just a nice addition to the cake. It gives it a different dimension, taste-wise.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Cream cheese frosting is very good with it but I’ve started making it with the orange buttercream and I think that is even better. And the carrots add moisture and I guess some carroty flavor. As someone above said, it is quite similar to a spice cake. I think a bakery carrot cake may have fewer carrots than my recipe.

My Ex and I first had carrot cake in the South decades ago so I’ve always assumed it was an old Southern cake.

jca2's avatar

@Jeruba I’m betting that hundreds of years ago, when ingredients were scarce, someone had a bunch of carrots and got the idea to make a cake with it, much in the way you can make pumpkin bread or banana bread or zuchini bread.

Some people don’t like carrot cake. I love it. Sometimes you’ll get a dry one, which is always disappointing. There’s a local supermarket (ShopRite) that makes a decent one and sell sit by the slice. Costco used to make a big one but they no longer do. They have seasonal carrot cupcakes which are good but don’t have the extra ingredients (raisins, nuts) like their cakes did. Sometimes I’ll try a carrot cake slice from a diner, but I’m disappointed if it doesn’t have icing made with cream c heese, and they will usually not put nuts since a lot of people can’t eat nuts or don’t like nuts, and they will often not put raisins since a lot of people don’t like raisins and it’s cheaper to eliminate them. The Shop Rite one doesn’t have nuts or raisins, but it’s not bad otherwise.

Now I’m going to be thjinking for and pursuing carrot cake.

Maybe I’ll try Jan’s recipe. Sometimes I will try to cut a recipe in half since it’s only the two of us and after about three days of eating something, it gets old, literally and figuratively.

janbb's avatar

@jca2 My recipe freezes really well.

jca2's avatar

@janbb I may gvie it a try. I just need to buy the pineapple. I have a lot of baby carrots but theyr’e not easy to grate so I will buy regular carrots soon. I’m definitely a carrot cake fan.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t like cream cheese, and so I don’t like cream cheese frosting very much, but most people love it.

The store Everything Bundt Cakes has cream cheese frosting on their chocolate cake. Their chocolate cake is delicious, I don’t even need the frosting.

My husband loves carrot cake, and it always freezes well for us.

smudges's avatar

^^ Their carrot cake is also very good! (Nothing Bundt Cake)

Maya_01's avatar

I would buy a mix. I find that it is easier and to some extent bulletproof.
Also, I don’t know anything about baking carrot cakes (never made it) but I do know that you need vanilla ice cream to eat with it.

raum's avatar

@JLeslie I also generally dislike cheese in a sweet dessert. But forgive the cream cheese frosting for carrot cake and red velvet. But still scrape most of it off for myself.

JLeslie's avatar

@raum I don’t like cream cheese at all.

raum's avatar

@JLeslie I like cream cheese for savory things. Maybe that’s why I’m more forgiving. :P

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba How was the cake? I was in the grocery store today and saw a slice of carrot cake for sale and immediately thought of you.

raum's avatar

@Jeruba I also had a carrot cake cupcake and thought of you. :)

smudges's avatar

Now we’ll prolly all think about @Jeruba whever we have carrot cake for the rest of our lives! Too funny.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther