my favorite carrot cake (and a giveaway!)

11 Mar

I have laryngitis.

For real. I cannot make a sound. All I can do is whisper. Brette thinks it’s hysterical. The dog is a bit wigged out. I’m annoyed. I’ve had to reschedule a number of meetings. That’s not really the annoying part though. The annoying part is that I love to talk and I can’t!

Along with the laryngitis is a super weird cold that can’t make up it’s mind. Congestion, headache, sneezing, and some general fatigue have all made an appearance.

Brette hasn’t been feeling well either so it’s pretty rockin’ at our house lately.

Oh, and I went vegan for lent. So no chicken noodle soup to cheer me up.

I do know what will cheer me up though….writing about cake and a giveaway!

I received an awesome gift in the mail from my friend (and my sister’s bff), Diane.  Diane is one of those people that you just love immediately. She has 6 kids (sainthood!), has about 38 different businesses, is one of the most creative people I’ve met, throws a mean Halloween party, and keeps my sister in line. Therefore,  I consider her family.  The fact that there was a package from her in my mailbox was all to exciting! I love getting mail and I love it more when it’s a package with something beautiful inside.

Diane’s daughter Beth is very talented and creative (the apple does not fall far) and has created these beautiful cake testers. I fell in love with it instantly. She even sent me one that matches my kitchen – sweet!

What’s even sweeter? Beth offered to give one of these testers away to a lucky reader. How awesome is that?

It seriously is adorable and I love the charm on the top that says ‘hand made with love’. Since cakes should be made with love, this seems to be a perfect match. They are simply beautiful.

She has a few different varieties on her site that you need to check out. I think these would make great mother’s day gifts, housewarming gifts, or certainly an anytime gift to a baker.

The best part of getting this in the mail was it meant that I HAD to bake a cake. I certainly had to test the product, right? It’s for research. I had to.

I put a call out on facebook for people’s favorite cake and it was pretty overwhelmingly red velvet.  I was set to go with that, but then two things happened.

1. A friend reminded me of the carrot cake Brette made on Easter last year to celebrate the end of no sugar. It was incredibly awesome. (thanks for the reminder Steff!)

2. We were invited to Willa’s for dinner, it happened to be within two days of her birthday, and her favorite cake is carrot cake.

So, carrot cake it was.

Between Brette and I, there have been several tweaks to this recipe. Here are a few things you should know about it.

  • There are no raisins or pineapple in this cake – I’m a purist. Only carrots and nuts allowed.
  • This cake is not a health food.
  • This cake is not vegan. It’s not gluten-free. It’s not lactose-free. It’s not really anything-free.
  • This cake is so good. It’s not to dense, it’s incredibly moist (I cringed typing that), and the flavor is perfect with the warm spices, sweet carrots, and the nuttiness of the pecans. Carrot cake is my absolute favorite and this version is the best I’ve had. And I’ve had a lot.

I put the cake tester to work and ya know what? It worked great and it was way more fun to use than a toothpick. I’ve never felt so stylin’ in my kitchen. It makes me want to bake even more. This could be dangerous.

Carrot Cake

serves 10-16 depending on how generous you are with the portions

Adapted from

Note: You can make this in either 2, 9-inch round pans or a 9×13 pan.

For the cake:

4 eggs

3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup coconut oil (or substitute more veg oil or you probably could go just 1 1/4 cup coconut oil if you were feeling crazy)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups grated carrots (a food processor or box grater work the best)

1 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter (or spray) and flour your pan(s) of choice.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white and brown sugar and the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add into the wet ingredients, but don’t over mix.

Stir in carrots and then fold in 1 cup of chopped pecans.

Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake for 25-30 minutes for round pans and 40-50 minutes for 9×13 pan, rotating the pan(s) halfway through.  Test with your cake tester and if it comes out clean, it’s done.

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the frosting, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer until mixture is smooth and creamy. It takes a little bit for it all to come together so be patient. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle with 1 cup chopped pecans. I frosted each layer and then around the the sides. I had just enough frosting. Okay, so I had a little bit left that I used as a filling for a graham cracker sandwich. I hate to see anything go to waste.

So, for the giveaway! Beth is giving away the design below. It’s gorgeous and sparkly and will make cake baking all that more exciting.

cake tester 1

To be eligible to win this beautiful cake tester, you can enter a number of ways (and each way if you’d like).

1. Leave a comment with your favorite cake.

2. Follow me on Twitter (and leave a comment that you did so).

3. Tweet about the giveaway and let me know you did: @jensaidso is having a sweet cake tester giveaway at!

The contest will remain open until Monday (3/14) at 5 p.m.  I will pick a winner at random.

In the meantime, check out Beth’s site to see all of the other beautiful designs.

Oh, and make the carrot cake while you’re at it.


29 Responses to “my favorite carrot cake (and a giveaway!)”

  1. Megan March 11, 2011 at 7:37 am #

    My favorite cake is (probably) zucchini chocolate chip. Delicious and a good way to use up some of those plentiful garden zucchinis.

  2. Kismet March 11, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    I love a fudgy chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

    • Jackson March 11, 2011 at 10:31 am #


  3. Liza March 11, 2011 at 8:40 am #

    My mom’s German chocolate cake – hands down. I am salivating just thinking about it now…

  4. Melissa Hjelle March 11, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    In the current, my favorite is red velvet with cream cheese frosting! YUMMO!!

  5. Colleen at Forty Something Bride March 11, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    My favourite cake is the gluten free carrot cake made at a local bakery. You’d never know it was gluten free – it tastes awesome! That is a beautiful cake tester – it would come in handy.

  6. Sista Joan's BFF Diane March 11, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    OK, so I am reading along intently, smiling wide, (Lord you know how to build a gal up Jen!) and then I get to the part that says “I’ve never felt so styl’in in my kitchen”. LAUGHING!!! Got a visual of you in a frilly apron over a designer dress, bright red lipstick, high heels, and just brandishing your cake tester around like a baton! Can you sing along to Abba…..”you are the Baking Queen, young and sweet, no more Lenten treats… do do do do do…..Baking Queen, feel the heat from the carrot caaaaakeeee….

    • jen March 11, 2011 at 9:39 am #

      Don’t forget the my pearls and tiara! I’m now going to sing Abba every time I bake. :)

      • Sista Joan's BFF Diane March 11, 2011 at 10:09 am #

        Sorry, in my vision you had a hat on like Lucille Ball so I figured I shouldn’t mention any headgear.

  7. Liz March 11, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    My favorite cake is boring- vanilla!

    • Fav Sista March 11, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      I love a good vanilla cake too ~ nothing boring there!

  8. Heather March 11, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    Any type of cake is wonderfully delicious! Those cake testers are AWESOME! How original and creative!

  9. Fav Sista March 11, 2011 at 10:18 am #

    My favorite cake is German Chocolate with the homemade coconut pecan chunky frosting. A few years back, my BFF Diane made me said cake and it was delish. I bet if she made it again and used the gorgeous cake testers that Beth makes, it would be that much better! I love my cake tester! Mine also matches my kitchen.
    Also, I request video of Jen being the Baking Queen in her kitchen with her new cake tester – I am also seeing Lucille Ball vs. tiara. Okay, I have a hilarious vision in my head. Thanks Diane, for painting such a fine vision and creating new lyrics for a fav Abba song of mine!

    • Jackson March 11, 2011 at 10:30 am #

      Wait a minute…am I the only sister who did not receive a cake tester from Diane?:(

      • Fav Sista March 11, 2011 at 10:33 am #

        You my dear, do not have a blog nor do you tweet!
        You may get one as a gifty some day from your fav sista!

      • Sista Joan's BFF Diane March 11, 2011 at 11:42 am #

        Wait, are you a Barrie sista or a Jackson sista? OR a Barrie-Jackson sista?

    • Sista Joan's BFF Diane March 11, 2011 at 11:44 am #

      Well your birthday IS on the horizon……

  10. Jackson March 11, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Love carrot cake but german chocolate with homemade frosting is my all-time favorite. I love coconut and nuts and chocolate. YUM! Carrot cake would be a close second and third would be a dark chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I could go on. I love cake!

  11. Monica March 11, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    My favorite cake is chocolate. Flourless chocolate is yum. I have to say, cake tasting for our wedding was heaven.

  12. Steff March 11, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Wow–nice work on that carrot cake, Jen. (And thanks for the shout-out!)
    Carrot cake is my favorite, though my friend made me a rad lemon cake (with homemade lemon curd between the layers, OMG) for my bday.

    Those cake testers are really, really, REALLY cute.

  13. Amanda March 12, 2011 at 10:14 am #

    I gotta be honest. I favorite is angel food cake with the simplest of frosting; just powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. I can pretty much eat an entire cake.

    • Amanda March 12, 2011 at 10:15 am #

      And by “I favorite” I mean “My Favorite.”

  14. Carin March 12, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    The really good chocolate cake I made in Feb or a lemon cake with lemon curd inbetween the layers via Martha. Both are so good and not at all good for you!

  15. Lee March 12, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Family favorite- chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting that my dad (a lover of peanute butter) developed, the secret ingrediant is a dash of cold coffee!

  16. Robyn March 13, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    My favorite cake? It’s hard to pick just one because I like to try new cake recipes for special occasions. I recently made root beer chocolate cupcakes and those turned out pretty good.

  17. Brittney March 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    I have to go with coconut cake as my current favorite. I pretty much love ALL cake though!

  18. Delaney March 14, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    Tres Leches Mocha – when I was living in rural Mexico this was the height of luxury from a nearby bakery.

  19. cheryl March 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Love carrot cake and can’t remember the last time I made it. Remember those nasty recipes made with carrot baby food? I didn’t get to your site in time, so went out and bought my own cake tester…what a unique idea.


  1. current inspirations « She said. She said. - March 14, 2011

    […] you entered the giveaway? Ends tonight at 5 […]

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