Cakes The Book

202. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting p.726

The recipe courtesy of The Ulterior Epicure

Sometimes the stars just don’t align, and the baking Gods abandon you for a day. I’ve learned a lot about cooking and baking through this project, and I’ve gotten to a point where I rarely make the boneheaded mistakes that plagued my early experiments, but there’s always room to regress. Today’s flub up was ignoring the instruction to “butter and flour cake pans, knocking out excess flour”. Every single baked good in the book calls for this step, and it’s become such a familiar phrase that I think I literally didn’t see it when reading the recipe. Sure something felt wrong while I poured the cake batter into the pans, but I was working on three other things at the time and didn’t give it much thought. The finished product suffered as a result, but I’m going to rate it anyway.

This is a pretty straightforward cake, but it does have quite a few ingredients. Beyond the basic cake stuff (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, vegetable oil, eggs, sugar) the cake mixes in a healthy dose of grated carrot, cinnamon, crushed pineapple, sweetened flaked coconut, walnuts, and raisins. The raisins were optional, and I opted against. The cakes are split into two 9 inch round cake pans and banked for ~40 minutes. Once cooled they’re stacked and frosted with whipped cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and icing sugar.

The Good: The cake tasted great. It had excellent carrot flavour and the cream cheese frosting wasn’t too sweet or too heavy, and set the cake off nicely. I like walnuts in a carrot cake, and this one was no exception. The frosting had a great texture, going on easily, and holding its shape quite well, as you’ll read below the underlying cake had some serious structural issues, but if I had to try to ice something with the texture of a jello salad again, this would be a pretty good frosting option.

The Bad: My main issues with the cake were with the enormous almost goupy crumb of the cake, and its total lack of structural integrity. The recipe describes it as an unusually moist cake, but I think my mishaps turned a moist cake into a barely solid cake. Without the butter and flour in the pans, the cakes stuck. The first cake I tried to unmould fell to pieces, with the baked-on bits staying firmly in the pan, and most of the extremely moist and soft innards flying through the cooling rack I was trying to unmould onto. I tried to free up the bottoms, but the cake was just tearing while it was still warm. Instead of cooling the cakes on racks, I left them in their pans, and was able to get an offset spatula in to free them up once they’d cooled. This probably means that the cakes steamed as they cooled, instead of crisping up on the outside. I can’t know how the cooling in the pan affected the texture of the cake, or how the rough extraction from their pans affected the overall integrity of the cake. As it was, the cake was nearly impossible to cut, it was as malleable as an angel food cake, and the slices crumbled as I tried to serve them. Even chilled the next day getting a piece out as a whole was a challenge. The soft and goopy frosting added more to the structural integrity than the cake itself. The pineapple was added to this dish to make it extra moist, and it did its job. At least with my mixed up cooking instructions that extra moisture probably made a bad situation worse. More importantly, it didn’t taste all that good. I don’t think carrot and pineapple are a natural pairing, and I just found it out of place.

The Verdict: A lot of what went wrong with this cake was totally my fault, but things like the over-large crumb, and not so nice addition of pineapple were certainly problems with the recipe. Looking beyond the serious textural issues, the cake did taste very good. It wasn’t my absolute favorite carrot cake, but it did a good job of delivering carrot flavour in a cream cheese icing package. I suspect that baking this in a 13×9 pan instead of trying to make it a layered cake would make the textural issues much less important, and it would be just as delicious. The cake that I produced was not fit to serve to guests, and the cake I made is the cake I have to rate, but I think I’m going to give this recipe another chance in the next couple of months, and I might decide to revise the rating upwards then.


I'm a graduate student in Montreal. I spend most of my time studying drug addiction using brain imaging techniques. I'm also a foodie, exploring the culinary world both in and out of my kitchen.

27 replies on “202. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting p.726”

Great write up. I’m sorry to hear it didn’t turn as well as it should have. I do want to encourage you to try it again. I know it’s a lot of work, but I have always had success with this cake. It is a very moist cake, and perhaps might enjoy a bit more time in your oven than mine. Happy baking.

I think this cake deserved a higher rating. Indeed, the structure was lacking, but I think the moistness and flavour made up for a lot (four days later and the cake is still super-moist and equally as delicious).

UE: I’m all carrot caked out for the next couple of months, but I’ll definitely be making it again soon. For reference, my cakes were completely set, and I did bake them an extra 10 minutes because they weren’t solid after the allotted time was up. Thanks for the recipe.

MVB: We’ll try again and see. I’ll admit that a part of my low rating is disappointment. It tasted good, but it was embarrassing to serve.

I made this last night. It was quite good. Though I didn’t sandwich the two cakes together as instructed, so I was left with two smaller cakes.
The cake itself is very moist. I omitted the coconut flakes, as I didn’t have any, nor do I want to have any.

The icing is nice, and not overly sweet. I’m not too keen on a strong cream cheese flavour, so I cut the cream cheese content in half.

Overall this cake was very successful. We now have a large amount of cake to last us a while, and I always favour deserts that utilize some type of root vegetable.

An added comment, it’s been a few days since I made this cake and it’s even better! I really think they should include a three day refrigeration step into the recipe. I recommend altering you mushroom rating lest you give carrot cakes a bad name.

It’s been awhile since your last post, hope you’re okay. This is a good recipe. Followed some of the tips above and it turned out great!Hope you wont mind but I’d love to direct Foodista readers to your site, just add this little widget here and it’s all set to go, Thanks!

Do you have an oven thermometer? Sounds like your oven may be a bit cooler than the setting says.

One thing I always do with cakes now is use a parchment paper circle in the bottom of the pan before I do the grease & flour thing. Makes removal a LOT smoother. Just trace the bottom of the pan, and cut a couple mm inside the line when you cut out the circle.

Just made this carrot cake last night not tried it yet just disappointed with cream cheese filling and covering as it is very soft even after being kept in the refrigerator over night but I’m sure the cake will be good smells delicious

Obviously the no butter & flour in the pan was the beginning of the structure problems, but I like to flash freeze my cake layers for about 30 minutes after they cool… It really helps hold their structure for icing!

Coconut oil is just about 50% lauric acid and one report suggests the many benefits of coconut oil are resulting from its vitamin E content and safflower oil has more vitamin E. The same report talks about recent conclusions showing coconut oil may down-regulate the expression of adiponectin which may promote an inflammatory cascade and lead to endothelial and mitochondrial dysfunction. Google “Weight Loss Cover-Up Exposed” by Astrid Lasco, to find the truth about what really makes us sick. Read it people!

This is awesome Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. You see, we have this food site ( that is a food and cooking encyclopedia that everyone and anyone can edit. Maybe you are interested in sharing some of recipes to us or share your knowledge about food stuffs and techniques, or maybe you just like to write reviews about food, restaurant and recipes…why don’t you visit us sometimes. And by the way, If you won’t mind I’d love to guide Foodista readers to this post. Just add the Foodista Widget
to the end of this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

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Carrot Cake is my ultimate fav! Too bad it didn’t work out in the end review wise. Its awesome that you’re attempting all kinds of recipes though!

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