A Heaping TBSP of Life

~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

Carrot Layer Cake

As I write this, it’s snowing outside.  Yup, it’s the third of April and we’re supposed to get 6 inches of snow, with a windchill possibly below zero.  And that’s not just for today – the weather man was kind enough to extend this snowfall through tomorrow as well. *sigh*  Sometimes I really have a hard time reminding myself why I live in this state!

But, rant aside, spring HAS to be coming.  I mean, I’m supposed to start planting my garden in two weeks here – the snow BETTER be gone by then!!!  For now though, if it can’t be spring-y outside, I’m at least going to do my best to get that new life and Easter eggs and tulips and daffodils feeling going on inside.  And what better way to hail the coming of spring than with a moist, carrot and currant filled four layer cake!!

I have had this recipe for ages, and have always made it with the pecans cooked into the cake, and in a 9×13 pan.  You can easily do that still with this recipe!  Just make half the frosting, and use half the currents and add in 1/2 cup of chopped pecans at the same time as the currants.  You’ll have to cook it a bit longer, so keep an eye on it and use the toothpick test to tell for done-ness.  The sheet cake is especially pretty if you put little dots of food coloring on a toothpick and draw green and orange intersecting lines through the frosting for a spring-y carrot-y look! (Drawing green and orange lines is as creative as I get – I’m sure there are much prettier ways to decorate it – I just haven’t come up with any yet!)

Another thing on the frosting – if you don’t have buttermilk powder, it’s not a deal breaker.  I really like the ‘tang’ it gives the frosting, but honestly, its still super yummy without!  So don’t let the lack of it deter you from giving this guy a try!

When you put the batter into the jelly roll pan it will be fairly thick.  Make sure that you use a spatula and spread it out all the way into all the corners of the pan so that the cake bakes up uniform.  Also, after the cake has completely cooled and you are cutting it into four pieces – it’s probably best to use a ruler.  I know it may seem super nerdy to use a ruler while baking, but trust me, if one of your layers is even a 1/2″ wider than the other, you’re cake is going to look pretty funny after it’s assembled!!! 😛

I have made this cake with both currants and raisins.  I like the currents better because they’re smaller, and not so overpowering.  Raisins do work as well though, just do a 1/2 cup of them instead of the currants and stir in as usual.  Whatever you do, don’t omit them entirely though, unless you’re prepared to adjust the liquids in the dough.  The dehydrated fruit sucks up moisture as the cake bakes, so taking it out will change the consistency of your finished product.

One last thing.  I like to shred my carrots on the fine edge of the grater.  I think this helps distribute them more evenly, and also ensures that you don’t get ‘strings’ of carrot in your bite of cake, as the small shreds cook down to almost nothing in the oven – all the flavor and pretty-ness – none of the funky texture.  That’s just me though!  If you like bigger shreds go right ahead! 🙂

Let me know if you make this gorgeous cake, and how it turned out for you!  I’m going to go back to staring out the window and groaning inwardly as this darn snow keeps on accumulating!


5 from 1 vote
Carrot Layer Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 People
Carrot Cake
  • 1 2/3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/14 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • 3/4 Cups Canola Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups Finely Shredded Carrots
  • 2/3 Cup Dried Black Currants
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, 1 1/2 sticks
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Buttermilk Powder
  • 12 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
  • 1 Cup Crushed pecan pieces, optional
Make the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a jelly roll (18"x13") pan with cooking spray.  Line with parchment, and then spray the parchment with cooking spray as well.

  2. Mix the flour, spices and salt together in a large bowl.  In a 4 cup measuring cup measure and mix the eggs, oil, and vanilla.

  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the liquids.  Stir until just combined.  Add the carrots and currants and stir a few times to incorporate.

  4. Spread onto the prepared jelly roll pan and push out to edges with a spatula.  Put in the preheated oven and cook until cake springs back when pressed gently.  15 - 20mn.

  5. Allow cake to cool in pan 10 minutes.  Invert onto wire rack (leave the parchment on the back of the cake) and allow it to cool completely.

Make the Frosting
  1. While the cake is cooling beat the butter and salt until light and creamy in a large glass bowl.

  2. Add the powdered sugar and buttermilk powder, and beat on the lowest setting to combine.

  3. Add the softened cream cheese.  Beat until fully incorporated.  Store in fridge until ready to use.  If it is in the fridge for over an hour, leave on the counter for 20 minutes or so to make it more workable.

Frosting and Presentation
  1. When the cake is completely cool peel back the parchment, remove from rack and place on a cutting board.

  2. Using a ruler, cut the cake into 4 equal pieces, but cutting it in half horizontally, and then vertically.

  3. Place the first layer of cake on a cake tray or pedestal, place 1/2 cup frosting on layer and spread around to even it out.  Repeat with the remaining three layers.  Once the last layer is on, spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cakes and smooth it out.

  4. If desired, take crushed pecan pieces and press them into the frosting on the sides before refrigerating.  (This is an easy way to hide a so-so frosting job haha!)

2 thoughts on “Carrot Layer Cake”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *