Discover how to create the most delicious and moist carrot cake bars with our step-by-step recipe, complete with a creamy cream cheese frosting. Perfect for any occasion, this recipe will guide you through making a carrot cake that’s sure to impress everyone!
What is the best way to grate the carrots?
Use a box grater or food processor to grate the carrots. Grating them by hand can be tedious. Be sure to grate them into small, thin shreds.
Can I use oil instead of butter in the frosting?
It’s best to use butter for the richness and flavor it provides. You can substitute oil but the frosting may turn out more greasy.
What kind of cream cheese works best?
Use block cream cheese, not a spreadable kind. Philadelphia brand works great. Make sure it is softened to room temperature before mixing.
How do I know when the cake is done baking?
Check for doneness at the minimum baking time by inserting a toothpick into the center. It should come out clean when the cake is fully baked. Avoid overbaking or the cake may be dry.
Can I make the cake ahead of time?
Yes, you can bake the cake layers ahead of time and store them wrapped at room temperature for 2-3 days. Frost just before serving.
What’s the best way to store the frosted cake?
Leftover frosted cake will keep covered at room temperature for 3-4 days. For longer storage, wrap tightly in plastic wrap then foil and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
Can I use pecans or walnuts instead of the nuts in the recipe?
Absolutely! Chopped pecans or walnuts would be delicious. Use whatever variety you prefer.
Is there a gluten-free option?
The cake can be made gluten-free by substituting an appropriate gluten-free flour blend for the all-purpose flour in the recipe.
For the Carrot Cake:
- All-Purpose Flour: 2 and ⅔ cups
- Baking Soda: 1 and ½ teaspoons
- Baking Powder: 1 and ½ teaspoons
- Salt: 1 teaspoon
- Ground Cinnamon: 1 and ½ teaspoons
- Ground Nutmeg: 1 teaspoon
- Allspice: ½ teaspoon (or ground cloves)
- Freshly Grated Carrots: 4 cups
- Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice: ¼ cup
- Granulated Sugar: 2 cups
- Flavorless Oil (vegetable or canola): 1 and ¼ cups
- Whole Eggs: 4
- Vanilla Extract: 1 and ½ teaspoons
- Chopped Walnuts: 1 cup (optional)
- Raisins or Chocolate Chips: Optional
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Soft Unsalted Butter: ¼ cup
- Cream Cheese: 4 ounces (115 grams)
- Vanilla Extract: 1 teaspoon
- Fresh Lime Juice: 1 tablespoon (from half a lime)
- Confectioner’s Sugar: 2 cups
Preparing the Cake Batter:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Mix Dry Ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Prepare Carrots: Combine grated carrots with lemon juice.
- Combine Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix together sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add Dry to Wet: Gradually add your flour mixture, blending until homogeneous.
- Fold in Carrots and Nuts: Stir in the grated carrots and walnuts. Optionally, add raisins or chocolate chips.
- Bake: Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Making Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Blend Ingredients: Mix butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and lime juice until creamy.
- Add Sugar: Gradually incorporate confectioner’s sugar.
- Adjust Texture: If necessary, sift the sugar to avoid lumps.
Finalizing the Cake:
- Cool the Cake: Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
- Apply Frosting: Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly over the cake.
- Garnish: For a refined touch, sprinkle the edges with crushed walnuts.
- Flavorful Oil: If you opt for olive oil, expect a distinctive flavor.
- Pan Variations: Alternatively, use three 9-inch round pans for a layered cake.
- Serving Suggestion: This cake pairs wonderfully with a hot cup of coffee or tea.