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carrot layer cake cook's illustrated
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5 from 2 votes

Carrot Layer Cake

Course Dessert
Servings 12



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar (8 3/4 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3 cups shredded carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2/3 cups dried currants (I used 1/3 cup)


  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (12 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into 12 equal pieces
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped


  • For the cake: Place oven rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 18×13-inch rimmed baking sheet, line bottom with parchment paper, and grease parchment. (I used butter.)
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and ground cloves.
  • In another large bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in carrots and currants. Add flour mixture and mix together using a rubber spatula until mixture is just combined.
  • Pour batter onto baking sheet and spread out evenly with spatula. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until center is firm to touch. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto a wire rack (do not remove parchment) and then reinvert onto a second wire rack and let cake cool completely.
  • For the Frosting: Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, buttermilk powder, vanilla, and salt on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  • Increase speed to medium-low and add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time. Mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer cake to a good cutting surface, parchment paper side down. Using a long knife, cut cake into 4 equal rectangles. Place one cake piece on a cake stand or plate. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting on top. Repeat with remaining layers.
  • Spread frosting on top and sides of cake. Using hands, gently press pecans onto sides of cake. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.