Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
My family has been all about Easter this week. We’ve been very busy dyeing our eggs and decorating the table for Sunday. We’ve also been planning our annual Easter egg hunt and planting fresh flowers on the front porch. Easter has always been a happy time for me and is full of so many good memories. This year in particular I’ve been thinking of our old neighbors who recently moved away, the first year we held an Easter egg hunt for our daughter in our New York apartment, and my grandmother’s carrot cake.
Grandma Harriet was an accomplished cook and her carrot cake was, in my opinion, one of her true culinary triumphs. She knew exactly how I liked it: no nuts, no raisins, and extra-thick cream cheese frosting. I am sure the adults would’ve appreciated the added texture and flavor of the nuts and fruit but I had no interest, and she made it my way every single time I visited. It was heaven!
These days I still love to make it around Easter and tweak it a little if I am in the mood. This year I added a little extra orange to the frosting since this is the year of citrus. It was just a hint, however, because I didn’t want it to be overpowering in any way. I stuck with our no nuts, no raisins tradition since I knew my kids would appreciate it. We still prefer our cakes to be one single texture and that is totally fine by me.
Grandma always made this cake in a pan like I did here because it is much easier to serve. However, it would probably translate well to two 8-inch cake rounds. Don’t quote me though – I’ve never tried it like that! I stick with the tried and true since that is what I know and love. I hope you all have a terrific Easter holiday with your families. Don’t forget the cake!
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 cup golden raisins (optional)
- ½ cup currants (optional)
- 7 ounces shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple with juices
- 2 ½ cups peeled grated carrots
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 pound confectioners' sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 13x9 pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar together. Then whisk in the oil until completely combined. Stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, and coconut and fold into the oil mixture. Then, stir in the pineapple, carrots, cinnamon, and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting: Beat together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Then, beat in the confectioners' sugar, the orange zest, and a little of the orange juice. Add more orange juice as you beat the frosting to loosen it up and make it light and fluffy. Generously frost the cake and serve!