For years I stayed away from Carrot Cake, thinking there was no way a cake made with a vegetable would be something I’d enjoy eating. Boy was I wrong!
It was on a bus ride home from high school one afternoon when a classmate got me to try a piece of a cake she had made in her home ec class. I really didn’t want to try it, but I also didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
After one bite, I was in love…sigh. Not with the cute girl on the bus ride home, but with the Carrot Cake she had gotten me to try.
It was love at first bite.
Later in life one of the desserts, I learned to make during my time with Mama Jeanette was this amazingly delicious carrot cake. It was even better than I remembered and has been my go-to recipe for this delicious dessert.
Ingredients for cake
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Mama Jeanette’s Restaurant Style Carrot Cake. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed the up cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Chef Dennis Tip*
Use fresh carrots and grate them at home. Don’t buy pre-shredded carrots, they’re dry and disgusting.
Do I have to use pecans in the cake?
No, you don’t. You can use walnuts or leave the nuts out altogether if you have nut allergies.
How to make a carrot cake
Start by getting the cake pans ready and preheating the oven. Once those two steps have been completed, you can start making the carrot cake.
- Add the applesauce, sugar and eggs to a mixing bowl.
- Mix well and set the applesauce mixture aside until needed.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to a mixing bowl.
- Combine all the ingredients thoroughly for the flour mixture.
- Add the carrots, coconut, pecans, pineapple (with juice) and vanilla to a bowl
- Mix well the ingredients together until well blended
- Add the flour mixture to the applesauce mixture.
- Mix the flour in just enough to combine the ingredients.
- Add the carrot mixture to the mixing bowl
- Combine the carrot mixture just enough to blend into the flour mixture.
- Get the prepared pan (greased, floured with a greased parchment circle )
- Divide the batter into the three prepared pans.
*Make sure to use parchment paper in the bottom of the cake pans!
Bake the cakes for 25-30 minutes on the center rack of the preheated oven or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
*Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
How to make cream cheese frosting
- Add the butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl.
- Beat until creamy and light.
- Add the vanilla and powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture.
- Whip until well blended and creamy.
How to assemble the Carrot Cake
- If necessary trim the top of each layer, so they are flat
- Add frosting to the first layer, spreading it evenly with the spatula
- Repeat this process with the remaining layers.
- frost the outside of the cake with an icing spatula, doing your best to keep it even. Some cake can show through.
- Frost the top of the cake
If you want to take the carrot cake to the next level add a ring of frosting along the outside edge of cake. Then garnish the top with pecans and coconut.
This is entirely optional.
If you’d rather not add more frosting to the top, you can simply add a ring of pecan halves on the outside of the cake. I added toasted coconut and pecans to the top of this cake.
KITCHEN TOOLS I USE FOR MY CAKES
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- offset spatula (essential for bakers)
- 9-inch USA Pan Bakeware cake pans
- 9-inch parchment cake circles
- silicone spatulas
- wire whisk
- mixing bowls