Classic Carrot Cake with Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

Baking Time: 45 to 55 minutes

This is one of my all-time favorite cakes, and I worked long and hard to strike the right balance of sugar and spice. The cake was inspired by my dear friend David Shamah after I ate it every time I visited his former restaurant Back to Nature in Brooklyn. It’s delicious either cold or at room temperature.



Volume Ounce Gram
unbleached all-purpose flour 2⅔ cups (sifted into the cup and leveled off) 10.5 300
baking powder teaspoons . .
baking soda 1 teaspoon . .
salt 1 teaspoon . .
unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder 1 tablespoon . .
cinnamon 2 teaspoons . .
granulated sugar cups 10.5 300
light brown sugar, preferably Muscovado ½ cup minus 2 teaspoons, firmly packed 3.5 100
canola or safflower oil, at room temperature cups (10 fluid ounces) 9.5 269
4 large eggs, at room temperature ¾ cup (6 fluid ounces) 7 200
pure vanilla extract 2 teaspoons . .
coarsely shredded carrots 3 cups, firmly packed 1 pound 454
raisins, tossed with 2 teaspoons flour (optional) 1 cup 5 142

Special Equipment

Two 9 by 2-inch round cake pans, encircled with cake strips, bottoms coated with shortening, topped with parchment rounds, then coated with baking spray with flour


Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and cinnamon. Sift the flour mixture onto a large piece of parchment.

Make the Batter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute, or until well blended. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed for about 20 seconds, just until incorporated. Add the carrots and half the raisins, if using, and beat for another 12 seconds. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces evenly with a small offset spatula. Each will be just under half full (28 ounces/800 grams). If using them, scatter the remaining raisins evenly on top of the batter in each pan. Use the back of a fork to push them gently into the batter.

Bake the Cakes

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean and the cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the centers. The cakes should just start to shrink from the sides of the pans.

Cool and Unmold the Cakes

Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pans and the cakes, pressing firmly against the pans, and invert the cakes onto wire racks that have been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cakes so that the tops are up. Cool completely.

Make the Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting

See recipe.

Compose the Cake

Spread a little frosting on a 9-inch cardboard round or a serving plate. Set one cake layer on top. If using the plate, slip a few strips of wax paper or parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean. Spread the top of the layer with about ¾ cup of the frosting, stopping almost to the edges. The weight of the upper layer will push the frosting out a little. Set the second layer on top. Frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. If using the paper strips, slowly slide them out from under the cake.

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