The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Make!

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After 50+ years of hoarding it, I’ve decided to share with the world the best carrot walnut cake recipe you’ll ever make!

You see, my Mom used to make this carrot walnut cake for my siblings and me almost every year for our birthdays!

One would think that a kid’s birthday cake of choice would not have carrots in it.

However, this was not the case with us!

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Make

Honestly, I don’t even know where my Mom got this recipe.

I’m not sure if her mom gave it to her or if she found it in a magazine back in the 60’s and 70’s.

All I know is, I’ve had my share of carrot cake in restaurants, from bakeries, and from others who have made it.

But, God bless them all, they just weren’t my Momma’s recipe!

Carrot Walnut Cake Ingredients

Ingredients

The ingredients for making this Carrot Walnut Cake recipe are:

  • Granulated Sugar – I use Domino Sugar (Amazon)
  • Eggs
  • Canola Oil – My Momma’s recipe says Mazola Oil (Amazon). Vegetable oil works as a substitute for canola oil in this recipe.
  • Flour – The original recipe specifies self-rising flour (Amazon). However, if you have all-purpose flour (Amazon) be sure to add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt to every 1 cup of all purpose flour.
  • Baking Soda – you can find a 2.2 lb airtight container of baking soda on Amazon.
  • Ground Cinnamon – I like McCormick ground cinnamon (Amazon).
  • Carrots – You can buy pre-shredded carrots or use a box grater (Amazon) to shred the carrots yourself. Personally, I prefer coarsely shredding the carrots myself because they are thinner than the shredded carrots you buy in the store.
  • Walnuts – I prefer chopped walnuts (Amazon) vs. finely diced

And here are the ingredients for the cream cheese icing:

One of the things I love about this recipe is that there are no fancy schmancy ingredients.

My Mom was a simple girl who enjoyed simple things which is what I loved about her the most.

She was the most unassuming, down-to-earth, loving person you’d ever meet.

So it’s not a surprise that she’d make this recipe and hold onto it through the years.

She probably had no idea that all 4 of us kids still talk about her ‘famous’ carrot cake even to this day.

Isn’t it funny how traditions start?

Now this cake recipe is and always will be Carmen’s Carrot Cake recipe for our family.

My Brother’s Birthday

Recently my brother celebrated his birthday by hosting the family at his house.

He asked me if I would make Mom’s carrot walnut cake recipe.

I happened to have it in my recipe binder on the original paper that she had typed it on years ago.

Needless to say, I was actually a little bit intimidated to make it.

I mean, this cake is legendary in our family now.

What if I messed it up?

But my brother requested it, so I needed to make it.

Steps for Making Carrot Walnut Cake

So I decided it’s about time I share this recipe with our readers.

My Mom wouldn’t have cared that I’m sharing a generations old family recipe.

As a matter of fact, she’d be really proud that I’m sharing it in this way!

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

Step 1: Mix Eggs, Sugar & Oil

You can hand mix the eggs, sugar, and oil but it will save your arm strength if you use an electric mixer.

I have the KitchenAid 5 Quart Artisan Series Stand Mixer and absolutely love this thing!!

It makes my life so much easier and is so easy to clean.

You can find a range of KitchenAid stand mixers on Amazon with different colors and features.

Step 2: Add Flour, Cinnamon, and Baking Soda

Once the eggs, sugar, and oil are well blended, slowly add in the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda.

On my Mom’s typed recipe it specifies “self rising flour only”.

As I mentioned above, there is a difference between all-purpose flour and self-rising flour.

Self-rising flour has baking powder and salt mixed in with it.

Whereas all-purpose flour does not have these added ingredients.

As for sifting the flour, (as the original recipe states) it is not necessary to do this anymore.

This article in Bon Appetit explains this in detail, The Baking Step You Can Skip.

Although I fondly remember her metal sifter with the crank (like this one on Amazon).

Whenever she got it out of the cupboard it meant she was making something really good!

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

Step 3: Add Carrots & Walnuts

By the way, some have asked, what are the best nuts for carrot cake?

We’ve always used walnuts whenever we make carrot cake.

Same goes for our chocolate chip cookies. Always walnuts.

Therefore, in my opinion, walnuts are the best type of nuts for carrot cake.

Back to step 2: Fold in the shredded carrots and nuts by mixing with a good strong, large spoon.

Of course, I have a few of my Mom’s old trusty mixing spoons. Thanks Mom!

This is where you don’t want to use the stand mixer because you don’t want the carrots or nuts to get too crushed up and ‘lost’ in the cake batter.

Pour batter into baking dish

Step 4: Pour Batter Into Greased Dish & Bake

I used a 9″x13″ baking dish because my Mom always made her carrot cake this way.

But you can also use 9″ round pans.

The recipe says it will fill three 9″ round pans.

Either way, spray your baking dish or cake pans with cooking spray.

Then, pour the cake batter into the baking dish or round cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes if you’re using round cake pans and about 40 to 50 minutes if you’re using a baking dish.

For my oven, it took 50 minutes for the cake to be fully baked through.

Be sure to stick a toothpick in the center.

If the toothpick comes out clean and the top of the cake is a nice golden color, it’s ready to come out of the oven.

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

For some reason my cake cracked a little bit on the top, but it didn’t matter because it was about to get hidden by some homemade cream cheese icing.

Homemade cream cheese icing

Step 5: How Do You Make Cream Cheese Icing From Scratch?

It’s super easy!

Just mix the cream cheese with the vanilla extract until it’s blended well and creamy.

Then, add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time while the mixer is on until it’s blended well with the cream cheese.

Once your cake is baked and cooled, spread the icing onto the top of your cake.

Not gonna lie, I doubled the cream cheese icing recipe.

For some reason it didn’t look like there would be enough for the cake.

However, I had more than enough and now there’s a plastic container of leftover cream cheese icing in my refrigerator.

If your family likes a lot of cream cheese icing, maybe 1 1/2 the recipe.

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

Carrot Cake Recipe Was A Success!

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

Although my son threw his heavy baseball bag over the back seat into the trunk of my car without realizing the cake was sitting back there, and it landed right on top of the cake (thank goodness it had a lid and a carrier), it survived the ride to my brother’s house.

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

And as we sang Happy Birthday to my brother, all was well with the world again.

Now, my son, niece, and nephews will have fond memories of Carmen’s Carrot Cake too and will pass the tradition on to their kids some day.

Happy Birthday

Thanks Momma!

We all miss you SO much!

Here is her typewritten recipe:

Carmen's Carrot Cake Recipe

Pro Tips:

  • If you have a bag of powdered sugar vs. a box for the cream cheese icing, measure out 2 cups.
  • You don’t need to sift the flour.
  • You can buy the carrots already shredded (Thank you Wegmans), BUT I prefer them a tad bit of a finer shred which a box grater will do the job perfectly (like my Momma used to do).

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe

Housewives of Frederick County
My Mom made this carrot walnut cake throughout my childhood. It has stood the test of time over the years. Moist and full of flavor on the inside with a delectable homemade cream cheese icing on the outside! You won't find a recipe better than this!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course birthday, cake, Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 people

Ingredients
  

CAKE

  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
  • 3 cups Self Rising Flour, If you use All-Purpose Flour, add 4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon fine salt.
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 cups Carrots, grated/shredded
  • 1 cup Walnuts, chopped

CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 8 ounces Cream Cheese
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Using a mixer, beat the eggs, sugar, & oil until well blended.
  • Then add the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda to the egg mixture and mix well.
  • Using a large, sturdy spoon, fold in the carrots and nuts and mix well.
  • Poor batter into a greased (I used Pam Cooking Spray) 9"x13" baking dish OR (3) 9" round cake pans.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes if using round cake pans and approximately 40 to 50 minutes if using a baking dish.
  • While your cake is baking, make your icing: Use a mixer to blend cream cheese and vanilla extract.
  • Then add powdered sugar to the mixer, a little bit at a time, until creamy. Set icing aside.
  • Put a toothpick in the center of the cake. If you pull it out clean and the top of the cake is a nice golden color, it is ready to take out of the oven.
  • Allow cake to cool completely and then add cream cheese icing.

Notes

Pro Tips:

  • If you have a bag of powdered sugar vs. a box for the cream cheese icing, measure out 2 cups.
  • You don't need to sift the flour.
  • You can buy the carrots already shredded, BUT I prefer them a tad bit of a finer shred which a box grater will do the job perfectly (like my Momma used to do).
Keyword best carrot cake, carrot cake, carrot cake recipe, carrot cake with cream cheese icing, carrot walnut cake, cream cheese icing, the best carrot cake

The Best Carrot Walnut Cake Recipe You'll Ever Make!

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