Food On The Hill: Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with edible butterflies. Photo by Felicia Orth


Food On The Hill
Los Alamos

Carrot Cake

Having served fresh carrot cake at PEEC and the Mountaineers Club meeting recently, that’s the recipe I’ve been asked for in the last month. Like the fresh apple cake I serve a lot, it is laden with more fruit and vegetable matter than is typical of a cake. Unlike the apple cake, the carrot cake is frosted lightly with cream cheese frosting.

A double recipe fills a half-sheet pan nicely, and provides a large flat surface on which to add a message, decorations, candles or other items. To assure that the top of the cake is flat all the way across, I dampen a fabric strap and pin it around the edge of the pan before baking. This cools the edges of the pan to encourage even baking and prevents a mound in the middle of the cake. (The strap is available wherever cake baking supplies are sold; before I bought it I just used a wetted strip of a towel.)

This dense, moist cake is popular with crowds of all ages, and can be made a day ahead without issue. Over the years I’ve reduced the sugar and increased the spices in the cake. When frosting is not desired, a simple sprinkle of powdered sugar using a sieve makes a nice presentation. The batter makes good cupcakes as well.

Carrot Cake in half-sheet pan. Photo by Felicia Orth   

Fabric strap pinned around edge of pan. Photo by Felicia Orth

Ingredients for Cake

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 1⁄2 cups oil

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice (or 1 teaspoon ginger with a dash of cloves)

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

2 cups grated fresh carrots

8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained if from a can

Ingredients for Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla


  • Beat the eggs and sugar; stir in oil. Add all dry ingredients, including the nuts, and stir. Add the carrots and pineapple. Stir well.
  • Butter or grease and flour 2 9″ pans, or a long rectangular pan.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes, or until the middle of the cake bounces back after a fingertip is pressed there or a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool 10 minutes and turn onto a rack or platter to cool completely before frosting.
  • Beat frosting ingredients together and frost as desired.
  • Serves 10-12.

Editor’s note: Felicia Orth is a local home cook; she can be reached at

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