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THE Carrot Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
The naturally sweet carrots in this Healthier Carrot Cake, combined with honey and applesauce take it to a whole new, and quite nutritional, level.
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $13-$15
Servings: 10 -12

Ingredients

For the Cake Layers:

  • 3 cups carrots peeled and grated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or extra light olive oil for an even healthier cake!
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts toasted on a skillet (optional - I omitted since not everyone in my family eats nuts).

For the Frosting:

To Decorate:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts coarsley chopped and toasted on a skillet
  • 1/4 cup to drizzle over the top

Instructions

How to Make the Carrot Cake Layers:

  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 round cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl beat eggs on high speed until foamy (1 min), Add 1 cup honey and beat on high another 4 min. Blend in 1/2 cup canola oil, 2 tsp vanilla and applesauce.
  4. Add in the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time and mix until it is just incorporated into the batter.
  5. Use a spatula to fold in the grated carrots and walnuts (if using) just until combined.
  6. Divide the batter equally among the two cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes; a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean (mine was closer to 30 min).
  7. Tip: While cakes are in the oven make your frosting and refrigerate frosting until ready to use.
  8. Remove cakes form the oven and once they are cool enough to handle, remove from cake molds and let them cool completely to room temp before assembling and frosting your cake. Note: if the cakes are still warm, your frosting will melt.

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the 2 sticks of butter with 2 cups powdered sugar on low speed or until combined (1 min) Don’t start on high speed or you will be surrounded in a cloud of powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until the mixture is pale and fluffy (2 min).
  2. Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until combined. (I waited maybe 3 seconds in between each piece; it’s one after another really. Once all of the cream cheese is incorporated. continue to beat 1 more minute.
  3. Add 1 Tbsp vanilla and mix until combined (1 min). Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.

Assembling your Carrot cake:

  1. Place your first (fully cooled) cake layer down on a cake platter. Cover the top generously with frosting.Top with the second cake layer and frost the top and sides until smooth.
  2. I pulled the frosting up all around the cake (If you don't have an icing knife, you can use a spoon) to make the "column" effect on the sides. I then used my WILTON 1M large frosting tip and a pastry bag to pipe the pattern all around the top rim of the cake.
  3. Top the cake (staying inside the border) with toasted coarsely chopped walnuts and drizzle generously with honey. This cake is best eaten the same day, but refrigerate the cake if not serving right away and let it sit at least 1 hour at room temp before serving to give the frosting and cake a chance to soften up.