Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing / by Anthony Michael Contrino

If there’s one way to get me to eat my veggies, it’s in cake form.  My version of a carrot cake is moist and studded with plenty of carrots and shredded coconut.  Before anyone starts to complain - I am fully aware that this recipe yields a hell of a lot of frosting.  In my opinion, every bite of cake deserves a forkful of cream cheese icing to go along with it.  If you’re not into cream cheese icing, see a doctor, or use less.  If you'd like, you can halve each of the baked cakes to make a 4-layer cake, but who has the time?

You’ll notice there are no nuts in this cake.  Feel free to add up to a cup of chopped walnuts or pecans.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Feeds 12, easily


For the Cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups shredded carrots, lightly packed

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut


For the Cream Cheese Icing

3 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, room temperature

12-ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)

2-1/2 cups confectioners sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans.  

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Mix well.  Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, oil, sugars and vanilla.  Mix on medium-high for 5 minutes.  Add the carrots and coconut and mix to combine.  Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium, just until the batter comes together.  

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.

Cool for 15 minutes.  Flip the cakes onto cooling racks and let cool completely before icing.  You can also wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap for up to two days before icing.  Store at room temperature.  

To make the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, beat over medium-high speed until fully combined and light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Scape the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula often.  Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar.  Mix on the lowest speed until the sugar is fully incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

To assemble the cake, place one 8-inch round onto a cake platter.  Load the cake with half of the cream cheese icing.  With a small offset spatula, level the icing.  Be sure to spread it to the edge of the cake.  Top with the other cake round.  Gently press on the cake to level it out.  Use the offset to scrape off excess icing in between the layers.  Top with the remaining icing and spread it out.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but not more than 24 hours before serving.  Serve cold or at room temperature.