Ultimate Carrot Cake

Ultimate Carrot Cake


The first time I had carrot cake was at pottery class when I was 8. The instructor Emma, was a very tan Chinese lady with broad shoulders, and I remember the smell of coffee in her breath every time she comes over to show me how to work the wheel. My favourite thing about going to pottery class though, was a sliver of carrot cake she would share with me. You see, I come from a Chinese family that doesn’t eat dessert on a daily basis. Fruits are served after meals and a rare treat of ice cream is often accompanied by a sermon on how it could rot your teeth.


I came across this recipe on Zoe Francois’ website one day when I was craving for a taste of something delicious and healthy. The cake came out perfectly with a soft and moist crumb that complements the smooth tangy icing. In order to adjust the flavours to suit all the asian mouths around me, I reduced the level of sweetness and left out some of the dried fruits. The shredded coconut which is critical for both moist and flavour, is bound to stay though.


Ultimate Carrot Cake

adapted from Zoebake’s Ultimate Carrot Cake

For Cream Cheese Frosting:

24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut for pressing on the outside of the cake

For Carrot Cake:

1 pound finely grated carrots (around 2 medium carrots)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup mild vegetable oil
4 large eggs, at room temperature (zoe asks for extra large)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmegs
1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped dried fruit (optional)


1. Grease two 9″ cake pans and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Make the cake. Grate the carrots using the grater attachment on a Food Processor, or a Box Grater (if using the box grater, use the finer side).
3. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Then gently whisk in the dry ingredients. Add the carrots and fold in the shredded coconut.
5. Divide the batter into the two prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.
6. Make the icing. Blend the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, and confectioners’ sugar, until smooth.
7. Assemble. Put one of the layers of cake on a 9-inch cardboard round and then top it with 1 cup of the cream cheese icing.
8. Cover the cake with a thin crumb coat. Then finish with a smooth coating of the cream cheese icing.

*Use an extra sharp knife to cut the cake to get the beautiful layers!

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