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Fluffy Carrot Cake

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  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Heavily adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.


Units Scale

Carrot Cake: 

  • 2 1/2 C (350 grams) cake flour
  • 1 lb whole carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 C unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp carrot powder, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger

Cream Cheese Frosting: 

  • 1 1/4 C powdered sugar
  • 1 (8oz) block cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tbsp salted buter, softened
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Candied Walnuts:

  • 1 C chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 C granulated sugar
  • 1/4 C light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Adjust your oven so that one rack is in the center, then preheat it to 350°F.
  2. Add your carrots to a baking dish, spreading them out into a single layer. Drizzle the honey over them, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and place them in the preheated oven and allow to roast until softened and pliable, about 35-45 minutes.
  3. Separate four of the eggs, adding the whites to a mixing bowl with high sides. Use an immersion blender or a lot of elbow grease to whip the whites until stiff peaks form. Sift together the cake flour, carrot powder, baking powder and baking soda, then use a balloon whisk to gently stir in the salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside.
  4. To make the candied walnuts, add the unsalted butter to an 10″ cast iron skillet. Place the skillet in the oven and allow it to melt. In the meantime, whisk together the egg whites, water, and vanilla extract until a light, frothy mixture has formed. Next, whisk in the brown sugar and granulated sugar until completely incorporated.
  5. Stir in the chopped walnuts, and fold gently, making sure to get them all coated, but without breaking them up further. Pull the skillet out of the oven and carefully pour in the walnuts. Stir the walnuts to coat them in the butter, then spread them out into a single layer. Return the skillet to the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes.
  6. While you’re waiting for your carrots and walnuts to roast, work on the other ingredients: sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and carrot powder. After these are sifted together, use a balloon whisk to gently incorporate the cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Set this aside.
  7. Add your egg whites to a tall vessel and whisk by hand or with an immersion blender or mixer until stiff peaks form. Set them aside.
  8. When 10 minutes have passed, pull the walnuts from the oven and give them a stir. Spread them back out again, then return to the oven for another 5–10 minutes, until the outsides seem dry and are becoming crisp. Transfer the walnuts to a baking sheet to cool.
  9. When the carrots are roasted, add them to your food processor and process on high speed until a thick purée has formed, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Line a 9X13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, or grease it liberally with baking spray or pan grease. Set everything aside.
  10. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand-held mixer), beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and egg and egg yolks on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.
  11. Reduce the speed to medium and, with the mixer running, add oil and melted butter in a slow, steady stream.
  12. Increase the speed to high and mix until the batter is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.
  13. Use a spatula to gently fold in the carrot purée. Next, fold in the whipped egg whites. Next, gently fold in half of the dry ingredients, just until no streaks of flour remain. Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients, being very careful not to overmix.
  14. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 37–40 minutes.
  15. Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
  16. For the frosting mix the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  17. Add the powdered sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 2–3 minutes.
  18. Frost the cake liberally and garnish the top with candied walnuts.



  • I cut my 9×13 cake in half and doubled the frosting to make a baby layer cake.
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
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