Last year, I wrote a blog post about becoming more adventurous in the kitchen, and I feel like my kitchen skills have really flourished since! I’ve learned how to properly mince garlic (LOL) as well as understand which flavor profiles meld with one another. There is still so much more to learn and grow in terms of cooking, but I have to pat myself on the back for the progress I’ve made.
While I have yet to conquer the science behind baking, I worked on perfecting the absolute best carrot cake. It’s moist, flavorful, decadent, and well, just everything you dream about when it comes to a carrot cake. Plus, it’s slightly nutty without nuts (I’m not the biggest fan of nuts in my desserts). And it has the most delicious cream cheese frosting there ever was.
Don’t just take it from me — but my mom, who’s a carrot cake fanatic on the DL. I made this cake for her two Novembers ago in honor of her birthday knowing that her absolute favorite cake in the entire world is carrot cake. I knocked her socks off with it and just so happened to impress my coworkers and friends, which is a feat of its own.
If you’re looking for a healthy carrot cake, you came to the wrong place. However, I had to add Soom Tahini (sesame paste) and Soom Silan (date syrup) to really achieve the perfection I was going for, which also adds nutrients to the cake! I’m not a registered dietician, but during my time at Soom, I’ve learned a lot from the various RDs we work with. Tahini is l o a d e d with nutrients. With every two tablespoons of tahini, you’ll receive plant-based protein, iron, calcium, magnesium and a vast array of other micronutrients. Because I’ve picked up a thing or two regarding skincare over the last few years, I have to also point this out – tahini boasts numerous vitamins from the B complex, making it a stellar ingredient to take if you’re looking to boost the health of your hair, skin, and nails!
I feel bad for not sharing any pictures, but I didn’t take any! I’ll let you in on a little secret: everything related to food photography (plating, styling, photographing, etc) is just not my thing… yet. I’ve tried, but failed many many times.
Now, let’s get to the recipe.
I based it significantly off of this recipe, which truly is AMAZING without any edits. However, I had to spruce things up, so here’s my remix to the best carrot cake.
The Best Carrot Cake Recipe, Ever.
For the carrot cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled (my favorite is King Arthur’s)
- 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup tahini (my favorite is Soom Foods)
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup date syrup (my favorite is Soom Foods)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups peeled and grated carrots, lightly packed
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (my favorite is Kraft Philadelphia), softened to room temperature
- ½ cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons date syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To make the carrot cake:
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans well with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, tahini, applesauce, date syrup and vanilla extract until fully combined. Add the grated carrots into the wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk or rubber spatula until just combined, making sure not to over mix the batter.
- Pour the cake batter evenly between both prepared cake pans. Bake at 350°F for 22-25 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each one comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool in the pans for about 20-25 minutes. Once the cakes have cooled, remove from the pans and return the cakes to the wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the cream cheese frosting:
In a large mixing bowl using a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and mix for about 30 seconds-1 minute until well combined and smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
To assemble the cake:
Level the tops of each cake with a knife or cake leveler. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand, top with a little over 1/2 cup of the frosting, and smooth it out into one even layer. Place the other cake on top and use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with pecans or other toppings of choice if desired.