TWD :: Carrot Cake and Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting…

If I didn’t need to write this post, that title alone would send me running back to the kitchen to delve into my freshly-made cake. Alas, I’m also fighting temptation trying to remind myself how cruel it would be to hubby, that while he is at work, I get to sit at home today and make cake—but, to eat it, too? Well, maybe just a bite…

I don’t remember ever making carrot cake before, but I do know that I love it! I’ve always had one gripe with it, though. I don’t like biting into a perfectly balanced piece of cake and frosting, only to end up with a string of carrot hanging out of my mouth. It seems like the carrots are always grated too large! So, I pulled out my handy KitchenAid attachment and grinded the pieces nice and tiny. Turned out lovely!

This cake is called Bill’s Carrot Cake and is part of the TWD Challenge, hosted by slow like honey. And I say, good choice! :D It was fairly easy. Though, as I said before, I’ve never made a carrot cake, I have a hunch that some things could be changed, to utilize alternate mixing methods. Of course, me and my OCD-self will work on that and be back later… In the meantime, I present you with Bill’s Big Carrot Cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

Tools Used

Small-Batch Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1.9 oz AP unbleached flour
  • > 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • > 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • > 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3.2 oz carrot(s)
  • 3 Tablespoons sweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon dried grapes or dried cranberries (uh, I skipped these, actually)
  • 2.8 oz. granulated sugar
  • 3.5 Tablespoons oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 large egg
Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1.75 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1.75 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • pinch salt
  • 4 ounces confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice or drop of lemon extract
Cake How-To:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325º F; prepare 5 x 3 baking pan with butter and flour
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon together. Whisk to make sure they are all well-distributed.
  3. Grate carrots finely; combine with coconut and dried fruits (optional, in my opinion)
  4. Beat oil and sugar in small mixing bowl until well-blended.
  5. Beat egg well in small bowl; add 1/5 of egg at a time, mixing one-full minute after each addition
  6. With mixer on low, add flour and mix until almost completely integrated.
  7. Add carrot/coconut/fruit mix and mix until just integrated.
  8. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake until done (top springs back), about 40 minutes, rotating pan half-way.
  9. Allow to cool five minutes in pan; remove and place on cooling rack.
  10. Split into three layers once completely cooled.
Frosting How-To:
  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until well-blended.
  2. Add sugar and beat on low until well-blended. Increase speed and beat until smooth and velvety.
  3. Add lemon juice (or oil) and beat until incorporated fully.
  4. Adjust texture as desired (more sugar for thicker, a little milk for thinner). Add one teaspoon at a time.

Assemble cake to look as you want. I am NOT a cake decorator. I have entirely too many things to be OC about, why add one more thing right now??

Enjoy! Sharing Optional.

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • ½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:

Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.


This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.


The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

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