Layered Carrot Cake

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Mom’s viral carrot cake is now in a 3-layer form, and it might just be our new favorite version. We love this carrot cake in any form, whether it’s a sheet cake or cupcakes. This cake is moist, lightly spiced, and simply the best carrot cake we’ve ever had. This recipe makes enough batter for 3 thick layers, each topped with a generous amount of vanilla bean cream cheese icing.

Tips for the Perfect Carrot Cake

  • Carrots: Don’t use pre-grated carrots. They are too thick and dry. Freshly grated carrots will melt into the cake layers, making the cake perfectly moist.
  • Crushed Pineapple: This might sound strange, but it makes the cake. Use a small can, drain it slightly, and mix the whole can into the batter. The pineapple adds juice and acidity, making the cake balanced and moist.
  • Cream Cheese Icing: You can use other icings, but cream cheese pairs perfectly with carrot cake. You can also try our brown butter version.

Layered Carrot Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Servings 12


**Carrot Cake:**

  • – 2 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • – 3 cups sugar
  • – 6 eggs
  • – 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • – 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • – 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • – 1 teaspoon salt
  • – 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • – 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • – 4 1/2 cups grated carrots about 1 32-oz bag before peeling
  • – 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts or unsweetened coconut optional
  • – 1 1/2 small cans 12 oz total crushed pineapple, lightly drained

**Cream Cheese Icing:**

  • – 2 sticks 1 cup butter, softened
  • – 2 sticks 2 cups cream cheese, softened
  • – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • – 1 teaspoon almond extract optional
  • – 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • – 6-8 cups powdered sugar depending on desired stiffness


**Carrot Cake:**

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom to the wet ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  • Fold in the grated carrots and pineapple until just combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
  • Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely before icing.

**Cream Cheese Icing:**

  • In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Add the salt, almond extract, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  • On low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Spread the icing generously over each layer of the cooled cake, stacking them as you go. Cover the top and sides with icing as well.

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