This recipe makes the best carrot cake I’ve ever had. I make it without nuts or raisins because my family prefer it that way. My son loves this cake so much he requests it as his birthday cake every year.

  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¼ cups (yes, that much) canola or grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained (optional)
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)

cream cheese icing

  • 1 cup (250ml) cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (125ml) butter, softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.

To make the cake, peel and grate the carrots. You should have about 3 cups. Set aside.

Over a sheet of parchment paper or a plate, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, and oil. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Stir in the carrots. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until almost completely incorporated. If using the raisins and nuts, add them and fold to mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Watch the time closely at the end so the cake does not overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Place a cake rack on top of the pan, invert them together and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely. Cover the cake with a slightly damp clean kitchen towel so the outside does not dry out as it cools.

To make the cream cheese frosting, in a medium bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together all ingredients until creamy and smooth.

Transfer the cooled cake to a serving platter. Using an icing spatula, frost the cake with a thick layer of the frosting. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes one 9-by-13-inch cake.

Serves 10 – 12

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking