Best Carrot Cake

Carrot cake 2

I would have to say that Easter is my all-time favorite holiday. I have such fond childhood memories of getting all dressed up for a full morning at church, followed by a big family dinner and Easter egg hunt. Easter is especially beautiful in my hometown of Fairhope Alabama, and I miss the warm weather and blooming dogwood and azaleas.

I also love all of the baking that goes along with the holiday and one of my favorite Easter desserts is carrot cake. Whenever I bake a carrot cake I can’t but think of my red-haired, fun-loving, sister, Margie Faye.

I’m the youngest of 7 children in our family of 6 girls and 1 boy. All of my sisters are talented cooks and have inspired me in many ways, but especially when it comes to cooking and baking. All have their specialties, and I’m sure they’d all agree, the carrot cake belongs to Faye. She’s baked many a carrot cake and they are scrumptious every time. I don’t have her recipe to share, but this one from Southern Living is unforgettably moist and delicious; chock full of carrots, coconut, pineapple and nuts, it’s sure to please, whatever the occasion.

This recipe will make a 3 layer 9 inch cake. Since I like to share, I split the recipe into one 9 inch layer cake, 12 cupcakes, and one baby cake.

Carrot cupcakes

Best Carrot Cake
Southern Living, October 1997

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

For a layer cake, line the bottom of your cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease and flour pans or use Pam for baking. Set pans aside. (For cupcakes, line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Recipe will make 2 dozen cupcakes.)
In a medium size mixing bowl, stir together flour baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. Slowly add flour on low speed until blended. Fold in carrot, drained pineapple, coconut and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (18-20 minutes for cupcakes). Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
Frost with cream cheese frosting; decorate as you desire.

Frosting Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese plus 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese at room temperature
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. If you want to pipe the frosting, add an additional cup of powdered sugar for a stiffer consistency.

Cut carrot cake

My sister Faye visiting me in Chicago in 2008
Chicago Bean