Carrot Cake is a family treasure. It’s like Chicken & Dumplins’, Seafood Gumbo or Momma’s Red Beans & Rice. Thinking back to when I was a kid, when a cake was made for you, it was a special admission of love and care. And when it was a red velvet OR a carrot cake, you knew somebody had a whole lotta love for ya!!
My momma gave me my nannie’s collection of recipes and cookbooks a couple of years ago and as I said before on this site, it was a gift I will always cherish. Handwritten recipes and her little homemade cookbook. Just reading the recipes of dishes that I loved and enjoyed in my childhood and knowing that she wrote them gives me a peace that’s hard to describe. I can see her sitting at her long wooden kitchen table with those colorful rattan doilies propping up the salt and pepper and the toothpick holder writing out this recipe. This carrot cake recipe was on a piece of stenographer paper–yellow and stained–her picture-perfect cursive handwriting noting every ingredient and step. When I found it, I found a treasure. I immediately made it. The smell of it baking and the long-awaited taste once it’s iced is what love is all about. I made it exactly as Nannie had written it, though some add raisins or currants. I wanted to leave it exactly as I remember it. My friend Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town expressed this sentiment perfectly in her cookbook about some of her family recipes….some of them you make your own or change up a bit and then there are some that you just don’t change at all. (By the way, Kimberly’s cookbook is just beautiful! If you haven’t gotten it yet, grab a copy-I love it and love her.)
Carrot cake is a perfect Easter dessert for your Sunday lunch or brunch. It’s beautiful on the table, you can make it the day before and get that out of the way, and the taste is just delicious and special. Hope you enjoy this family recipe and hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups shredded carrots (I used a food processor)
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 1 (8 ounce) block cream cheese, softened
- 1 (1 pound) box confectioner's sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3/4-1 cup chopped pecans
- In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the eggs. When well blended, drop in eggs one at a time and mix after each egg.
- Fold in the carrots until incorporated.
- Spray 8-inch cake pans with Baker's Joy and pour batter into pans. Bake in 4 layers at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes about clean. Center will be firm to the touch and edges will have pulled away from the pan.
- Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and cool completely before icing--about 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
- Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla and beat well until mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Layer the 4 cakes in a stack, spreading icing in between all layers. Spread remaining icing on the top of the cake and on the sides. Sprinkle pecans on top.
- Keep refrigerated.
- I love this cake for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee! Not exactly proper nutrition for bfast, but so delicious.