If making carrot cake from scratch intimidates try this carrot sheet cake recipe. It’s a moist one bowl carrot cake adapted from Pioneer Woman’s carrot cake. And it’s baked in a 9×13 pan so no fussing around with layers and crumb coating. Super simple and all from scratch!
Ah, carrot cake. A cake made with vegetables. So healthy, right? Covered in cream cheese frosting. Ok, not healthy at all. Carrot cake from scratch is the only cake that can steer me away from chocolate desserts at a buffet table. Ok, I mean I’ll have the chocolate dessert in the end, but I’m starting with a big piece of carrot cake covered in cream cheese frosting.
Carrot cake from scratch might sound intimidating, but this one is so simple. No, really, I promise. I even made it one bowl and it it’s baked in a 9×13 sheet pan. So no stacking layers, or anything fancy cake stuff. When holidays and get togethers are hectic, it’s good to know you have a knock out dessert that won’t take long to throw together.
This carrot cake from scratch is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Carrot Cake. I made a few adjustments here and there to something I am so completely happy with. I think you will be too.
What Does Carrot Cake Taste Like?
This carrot cake is moist and flavorful. It contains carrots of course but doesn’t taste “carrot-y”
It has some warm spices added to it- cinnamon and nutmeg added to it as well! And the brown sugar in the cake gives it a caramel note as well.
You have to frost it of course with cream cheese frosting. It’s a must if you ask me.
How To Make This One Bowl Carrot Cake From Scratch
Start by preheating oven to 350F
Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In the same bowl add your flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Then add carrots and walnuts and mix to combine. Do not overmix.
Pour into a greased and floured pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex) and bake at 350F until done, 25 (sheet cake) to 50 (Bundt pan) minutes, depending on the pan you use.
Layered Carrot cakes are impressive don’t get me wrong. But, when did we steer away from the simplicity of the sheet cake? One bowl thrown into one pan.
Should Carrot Cake Have Raisins?
It can! Or you can also add nuts if you would like which is what I did. I personally like the crunch of the walnuts. It adds that textural note that is missing from most cakes. The original version, Pioneer Woman’s carrot cake, kept it simple and added no raisins, walnuts or anything.
So it’s up to you really.
To Toast Your Walnuts: Just place on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 5-7 minutes. Then allow to cool and chop.
Can I substitute applesauce for oil in carrot cake?
Yes! I used half applesauce and half oil in this easy carrot sheet cake recipe. It still keeps it moist but also lightens it up a bit.
If you use all applesauce it may affect the texture.
Should You Put Carrot Cake In The Fridge?
If it’s unfrosted, you can keep this cake on the counter for 2-3 days. Just make its covered. I like to wrap my layers in plastic wrap.
If it’s frosted, then you should store in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting. It should keep if it covered for 5-6 days as well, making this a great make ahead dessert for Easter!
Can I Make This Carrot Cake In Advance?
Absolutely! I love making a cake up to 2 days in advance. I simply keep it covered at room tempreature and then frost when ready to eat!
A Few Tips On Making This Carrot Cake From Scratch:
- Measure Your Flour Correctly Using The Spoon And Level Method– you can read this post on why and how to measure your flour accurately. Incorrect measuring of your flour can result in a tough dry cake.
- Shred Your Carrots By Hand– Yes, this is a bit more difficult. And might take a few more minutes than using your food processor. Using your food processor will result in mushy small pieces of carrots.
- Be Sure Your Eggs Are At Room Temperature. You can bring your eggs to room temperature quickly by placing in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes.
Why Do I Need To Use Room Temperature Eggs?
Although most recipe call for softened butter, they don’t specify that your eggs also need to be at room temperature as well. But bringing your eggs to room temperature is a crucial step in your baking process.
Using cold eggs can drastically change your cake recipe. First room temperature eggs will incorporate into the batter more easily. But besides that, using room temperature eggs will result in a cake with a more finer, tender crumb.
Also, using cold eggs will take longer to bake. In most cakes, you might be able to get away with it. But more finicky cakes (pound, chiffon, angel food) rely on the eggs being room temperature so air can be incorporated into your batter. In these cakes, the air that introduced helps to leaven the cakes. And cold eggs won’t whip up with as much volume as room temperature eggs, so your cakes won’t rise as high.
To Make This Carrot Cake From Scratch You Will Need:
- Cheese Grater – I prefer to grate my carrots by hand. I think the texture is much better if done by hand then if done by a food processor.
- Mixing Bowl
- Dry Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- Stand Mixer
So get out a bowl. And then get the family together. Of course, if they are anything like mine, their noses will lead them right to the table without you having to ask. Enjoy 🙂
FOR THE CAKE
- ◾2 cups Sugar
- ◾1 cup Vegetable Oil
- ◾4 whole Eggs
- ◾2 cups All-purpose Flour
- ◾1/2 teaspoon Salt
- ◾1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- ◾1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ◾2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- ◾2 cups Grated Carrots
- ◾ 1 cup walnuts chopped
- ◾ For Icing
- ◾1 stick Regular Butter Softened
- ◾8 ounces Cream Cheese
- ◾2 cups powdered sugar
- ◾2 teaspoons Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Mix together the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. In the same bowl add your flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Then add carrots and walnuts and mix to combine. Do not overmix.
- Pour into a greased and floured pan (bundt, sheet cake, 9 x 13 pyrex) and bake at 350F until done, 25 (sheet cake) to 50 (Bundt pan) minutes, depending on the pan you use.
- Cool completely.
- In larger bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and blend, then mix in the nuts. Spread on cooled carrot cake.