carrot graham layer cake Recipes

carrot graham layer cake

It has been 1 year, 6 months and 6 days since I last shared a recipe for a stacked, filled, and unconscionably indulgent layer cake on this site, an unforgivable oversight on my part. I certainly haven’t gone that long without sharing any cake recipes — I’m not a monster — but sometimes you need more than an Everyday Cake. Sometimes you need a great big celebratory ta-da in the center of your table. Sometime like now.

some sad carrots to start
flour, grahams, spices

Because the pastel-ed idea, if not the outdoor temperatures, of spring seems to have infected my existence and I’m not even fighting it — my nails are a shade of pink that can only describe as “bunny nose,” I, someone who mostly lives in variations of black and gray, just bought a patterned and brightly colored dress, we’ve had asparagus twice this month, unable to wait any longer for it to emerge from local soil, and my hands are stained orange from all of the carrots I’ve grated into cake week. Around here, these are the harbingers of spring.

one CUP of carrots per layer

three thin layers

This idea of this cake, like a lot of ideas rattling around in my “attic,” stems from a bunch of places that all collided this week on a discount cake stand. The first is the S’More Cake from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. As my son approached his 2nd birthday, I became obsessed with making a graham cracker cake for him because he, like most 2 year-olds with tastebuds, had grown fond of them. But why just make a graham cake when you can make the cake embodiment of the greastest things you can pile on graham crackers: a puddle of melted chocolate and tufts of toasted marshmallow? It took me forever to get cake layers that tasted like graham crackers; I tried everything and the only thing that really nailed it was replacing half the flour with graham cracker crumbs itself, which, like most circular definitions, may not have adequately illuminated the concept of graham crackers, but everyone was too busy enjoying cake to take scientific issue with the concept.

cream cheese frosting is always the answer
moderate heaps of filling
graham crumb decoration

I hadn’t thought about graham cake layers again until a year ago, when my family and I went to Blue Hill at Stone Barns for a very long and very fancy lunch to celebrate my mom’s very big birthday. For dessert, they brought her a parsnip, carrot and graham cake with thin layers and open sides and it was all very April-ish yet somehow — maybe the parsnip flavor was too strong for my tastes? — got translated on my cooking wishlist to a carrot-graham layer cake.

carrot graham layer cake

Finally, I think this site — and by this site, I mean my belly — has been long overdue for a really great carrot layer cake. Sure, there are carrot cake cupcakes, though I’ve always wished they were more carroty and less cake-y. There’s also this carrot-cider-olive oil hearty breakfast loaf from last fall. But there wasn’t this: an intensely orange, sticky, moist, finely layered quintessential carrot cake with trace flavors of graham crackers stacked with all the cream cheese frosting your heart desires. Needless to say, mine desires a lot.

carrot graham layer cake

One year ago: Whole Grain Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Two years ago: Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroon Torte
Three years ago: Raspberry Coconut Macaroons
Four years ago: Spaetzle
Five years ago: Romesco Potatoes
Six years ago: Beef Empanadas
Seven years ago: Chicken with Almonds and Green Olives
Eight years ago: Arugula Ravioli

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Latke Waffles
1.5 Years Ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
2.5 Years Ago: Crackly Banana Bread
3.5 Years Ago: Apple and Honey Challah

Carrot Graham Layer Cake
Adapted from Taste of Home and TSKC’s S’More Cake

My favorite part about this cake is that after you’re done with the pesky grating of carrots (I used a food processor, which makes quick work of it), you mix everything by hand so it really comes together in no time and the layers, each a mere 1/2-inch thick, bake in all of 15 minutes and come out flat, requiring no leveling or fancy decorating to make a pretty stacked cake. My next favorite part is the sheer, colossal amount of carrots in it. I thought it would be impossible to bake a full cup of grated carrots into a thin cake layer, but it turned out wonderfully, soft, tender and likely more vegetables than my 5 year-old had ingested in that day, to be honest. My go-to oils for neutral cooking oils these days are sunflower or safflower oil; grape seed would work too (or, of course, any oil you like to cook with).

The frosting amount is generous. You’ll have just shy of a cup more than you’ll need to frost it as I’ve shown it (which can be saved for tinting and decorating, if you wish). That said, I had intended to put a little more between each layer (closer to what you see on the top) but just didn’t plan well. Had I, I think I’d have used it up. Or, if you’d like to cover the sides of the cake, you should have enough.

Finally, do you live somewhere where you can’t get graham crackers? Try digestive biscuits or speculoos, just grind them as finely as you can.

Yield: 1 9-inch 3-layer cake

Cake layers
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (95 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs, plus extra for decoration if you wish
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or a bunch of gratings of fresh
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (145 grams) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (210 grams) neutral oil or melted butter (i.e. 1 tablespoon short of 1 cup)
3 large eggs
3 cups (about 12 3/4 ounces or 360 grams) peeled and grated carrots (2 cups = 8.5 ounces, peeled/grated)

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened (455 grams total)
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces or 230 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (240 grams) powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line three 9-inch cake pans with a fitted round of parchment paper and coat with a nonstick cooking spray. Don’t have three matching cake pans? Me neither. As soon as you finish baking and unmolding the first cake layer, wipe out the baking pan, put down a new round of parchment and coat the pan with spray before using it again.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham crumbs, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk (yes, you can use the same one) together the sugars, oil and eggs until smooth. Stir in grated carrots. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until flour just disappears.

Pour batter evenly between three prepared baking pans. Bake each layer for 15 to 18 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cake will seem soft and likely still sticky on top. Let rest in cake pans for 5 minutes on a cooling rack, then run a knife around the edges of the first cake layer to ensure no parts are sticking to the sides, flip cake out onto cooling rack, remove parchment paper and flip back right-side-up on another cooling rack. Repeat with remaining layers and let the cake layers cool completely before filling. To hurry the cooling process along, and to make this very soft cake easier to handle, you can place cake layers in your freezer until cool and slightly firm.

Fill the cake With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar, a little at a time. Beat in vanilla until combined.

Arrange first cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread top with frosting; repeat twice with remaining layers. If desired, sprinkle top decoratively with extra graham crumbs — I used a cookie cutter to make a loose outline of a flower shape on mine. Let cake chill until serving.

Do ahead: Cake is wonderful on the first day, and even more moist on the second and third and I’ve never met a person who had one last four days. Keep in fridge. To prepare further in advance, you can make the cake layers, wrap them well and freeze them until you’re ready to fill the cake.

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245 comments on carrot graham layer cake

  1. Anna

    I love your graham cake recipe. I’ve made the s’mores cake, but I’ve also used the graham batter to make cupcakes filled with lime curd and topped with whipped cream – a key lime pie cupcake!

    This carrot graham cake sounds delicious, I think I may have to make it for Easter!

  2. MadeleineC

    Grating question – my Cuisinart’s grating blade makes tough little carrot rods, half-round in cross-section, rather than soft flakes like a hand grater. Will they be too big and tough for the cake? They are not right for carottes rapees salad, and I have discovered that simply chopping the carrots with the steel blade and stopping before they turn to puree – at a sort of tabbouli-like texture – works nicely for that. Might it work for the cake?

    I’m too lazy to hand grate, I’m afraid, even for that lovely-looking cake.

  3. Deanna

    I love the “yes you can use the same one” about the whisk. Its something I always do (I’m also tremendously lazy), but I’m sure you’ve been asked more than once if the same whisk can be used.

  4. deb

    Ariel — You wouldn’t even need deeper ones to make this into a two-layer cake. I just wanted the layers thin here. So, yes, you can use deeper pans or standard ones to make this into a 2-layer cake. The layers won’t be terribly tall. The Taste of Home recipe I riffed on uses 133% of this batter to make a 2 taller/more standard layer cake.

    Madeleine — Wait, are you sure you’re not using the slicing blade? That’s what my slicing blade does. (I have a Cuisinart too.)

  5. Carolyn

    Holy cow, I am going to make this! Thanks for the amazing recipe! I suppose I could bake all of the batter in a sheet pan and use my cake ring to cut the layers out a la Christina Tosi style. What size sheet do you think I would need?

  6. Kendall

    I love this! I’m allergic to walnuts and it seems all carrot cakes come with heaps of the things everywhere. I love carrot cake (sans walnuts) but haven’t been bothered to make it myself as it is a bit of work. This looks like just the right amount of work for the right cake.

  7. Nonnie

    I have been CRAVING carrot cake for a while and this sounds delish! The only problem is that I don’t need a full cake in the house and my monsters will not eat this, no matter the amount of cream cheese frosting. For ease of transportation, do you think this would work in a 9×13, which I could cut horizontally, fill with the frosting and put back in the pan, in order to share with my office mates?

  8. Carrot cake makes me so happy. My wedding cake — which I shamelessly stole from my cousin’s bar mitzvah cake — was a carrot cake with raspberry layers and marzipan fondant. It was glorious.

    You know, we have Elephant and Piggie books, but Lilli doesn’t seem very interested in them right now. Maybe a little too mature? Someone gave her Knuffle Bunny for her 2nd birthday two months ago and they are now in the bedtime rotation.

  9. Joanna

    I found my birthday cake! For the last few years I’ve been using my birthday (coming up in a few weeks) to indulge my desire to make whatever kind of cake *I* want as opposed to what my family or coworkers like. I was casting about for something to make for this year and now you posted this! I love the idea of graham crackers with carrot cake.

  10. Susan

    I have this seemingly never-ending box of graham cracker crumbs that I am very slowly whittling down by using them in streusels and fruit crisp recipes to replace the oats that are usually called for. And a 5lb bag of carrots that I don’t know what I was thinking about when I bought that many. (they are all fat carrots, which enticed me..I like the fatties!) So, graham carrot cake is the answer!

    Did you use some sort of collar around the layers to spread the frosting against so it is so flat and neat? I just make a mess on the sides of cake layers that I hope to expose then end up frosting the whole thing because of it. Ugh!

  11. Sally

    LOVE IT!!!! What would you think about using the maple syrup-cream cheese frosting from your cupcake recipe? I’m a little obsessed with it.

  12. deb

    Sally — It would be delicious. The biggest complaint about that in the comments is the softness — all cream cheese frostings are fairly soft, and that one, with the liquid sweetener is more so — but it shouldn’t matter here at all.

    Susan — No, no collar, just careful frosting and a little swiping with a straight edge when I was done. Always push frosting to where you want it, is my tip. It gives the most control and little mess.

    Molly — I think Jacob’s obsession with them took over after 3. And then, forget it. We have every. single. book. They really are funny, which makes them more fun to read, a good, not over- or underwhelming length. And, given that so many artistically created kids books are so expensive, refreshingly budget-priced. Which is why we have so many. Our favorites are I Broke My Trunk! Let’s Go For a Drive, Listen to My Trumpet and Should I Share My Ice Cream? I could recite any of them right now. :)

  13. Gabrielle

    Madeleine– I chop carrots for carrot cake in my cuisinart by making exactly the tabbouli texture you described. Works wonderfully– they impart carrot flavor but the crumb is nice and tender and there are no long throat-dangly pieces to choke overeager little eaters. (One difference is that I use over a pound of carrots in a 4 layer cake baked as 2 rounds, with a longer baking time.)

  14. Karina

    Gabrielle, Madeline, I concur about the food processor grating blade – I have a Black & Decker brand and I think I threw out the grating blade because it just made “rods” not thin shavings. I usually hand grate for salads or cakes but I might use the chopping blade for cakes now! Thanks for the tip!

  15. Kate

    This looks delicious! Though I just made your carrot cake cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting a couple weekends ago for my son’s first birthday and it was a huge hit. I made it as a layer cake and it turned out really well. I’m not sure how you could improve on it, but this graham cracker flavored variation looks delicious!

  16. Uh, delicious – I haven’t had a carrot cake in eons. Same impatience here: I’ve cooked Meyer lemon risotto with asparagus, fresh peas, broad bean bruschetta, artichokes again, I have enough of cold, dark & dank days. Love this cake and the brightly coloured orange fingers… N.

  17. I tried a graham cracker cake at Thanksgiving this past year for the first time, and it was fantastic. This combination of carrot cake and graham crackers looks phenomenal – indeed, sometimes life just calls for an indulgent layer cake!

  18. Nikki

    I think the Easter bunny’s love for carrot cake will be the perfect reason to make this next week. Love that it has no nuts or raisins. I might try using coconut oil to see how it goes.

  19. Bonita Pietila

    awesome! I wanna try this already this weekend and I have one silly question (but important in terms of not ruining the cake): if I want to speed up the cooling process and put the first layer in the freezer, can I do it straight away from the oven or do I have to wait until it cools down a bit? I am always confused in this step!
    thank you! can’t wait to try!

  20. deb

    Bonita — Yes, but you’re going to unmold it onto a cooling rack first, so it wouldn’t be straight from the oven. Plus, on a rack, it’s better at cooling because cool air will be underneath it too.

    Kate — It’s very hard, maybe harder than cinnamon. You can grate it on the zesting blade of a Microplane, the one you’d use for citrus.

    Mary — You could probably add about 3/4 cup chopped nuts.

    Kate — The biggest difference between the two is that this uses a lot more carrot in proportion to the other ingredients.

    Cuisinart grating blade — I wish I was following. I have had a Cuisinart FP forever; I always use the grating blade. It’s definitely more of a coarse grate but not discs. (Only the slicing blade does that.) Anyway, I used it here, for the gratings you see above, and it works just fine for the purposes of this recipe.

  21. Lizzie Aylett

    Hi, I’m always up for trying out a new cake recipe, but is there a suitable UK substitute for graham crackers? I have no idea even what kind of biscuit they are.

  22. Fleur

    As someone who LOVES carrot cake and is dying to make this but lives in a country where graham crackers aren’t a thing (New Zealand), what would you recommend as a replacement? TBH I’m not even entirely sure what a graham cracker is, I usually use digestive biscuits as a replacement in cheesecake bases etc… but would they work flavourwise for this?

  23. Kalisa

    I “share” my birthday with my favorite local comic shop, so I typically bake a cake to celebrate both birthdays and this looks perfect!

  24. Deb! This is everyyyything I want in a carrot cake: no raisins or pineapples to distract from the carrots, a cream cheese frosting and graham crackers? Brilliant. I’m getting on this!

  25. Danica

    This looks so delicious! And off the topic of food, but on the topic of your fingernail polish and dress choices…someone told me that when you are pregnant, you dress to the sex of your child. Not intentionally, and often before you know it, but there are definite leanings–more dark colors for boys, more girly colors for girls! It’ll be interesting to see how that works for you. Totally not scientific, but fun to think about!

  26. rfnc

    The recipe says you can use oil or butter. Do you have a preference? How will the cake be different depending on what you use?

  27. deb

    Danica — Uh-oh! And I am pretty sure I wore nothing but black, brown, gray and maaaybe one dusty blue dress the whole time with Jacob (when I didn’t know either).

    rfnc — I used oil. In general, with butter, you get flavor, and with oil, you get moisture, as cakes with oil tend to seem more moist from the get go. However, this cake is so insanely moist, there’s no reason to use oil in it just for that reason; you should hopefully not find it remotely dry either way.

  28. Panya

    I think MadeleineC means that her grating blade makes cylinders of carrot, but cut in half [like a tin can cut from top to bottom]. I had a box grater that did the same thing.

    I’d love to make this in a 9×13 pan — any idea on baking time?

  29. KZ.

    Mmm, carrots & graham… do you think this would work as a single-layer 13×9 cake? I love the visuals of layer cake but never want to fuss in my own daily life.

  30. I just have to say that I absolutely love your writing. I’m also obsessed with the sound and look of this extra carrot-y cake too, of course, but your words are so lovely, understated and elegant and just wonderful. Thank you so much for all that you do!

  31. JP

    Why not just one cup of oil or butter in the batter, Deb? Does one tablespoon really make a difference? Sounds like a luscious cake…thanks for the yummy recipe! Always a treat to come home from work and enjoy your writing!

  32. deb

    JP — I know! I’m being spectacularly annoying here. I couldn’t bring myself to round it up — carrot cake usually uses more oil than other cakes to begin with, but it works — or down — i.e. it works. I don’t think anyone will be able to tell if you just use a cup. I’m probably just too tightly wound to do it. :)

    cynthia — Hey, thank you, and right back at you!

    9×13-inch — Yes, this would totally work in a bigger pan. I think you could use 3/4 cup the frosting. I’d expect the layer to be maaaybe 1.5 inches thick, so not terribly tall.

    Christina — It also has such awesome sound effects as BLUUUUUUUURRRK! and VR-IP! Total giggle bait.

  33. kathy

    In your next to last photo, the middle stem of the cake stand seems straight but why does it appear that the plate part of the stand and the cake seem to be slanting downhill to the right?

    The first photo looks fine, even.

  34. MaryM

    Gorgeous cake, that I’m sure I’ll bake soon. Tiny grammar note: if you have three pans you divide the batter among them; you can divide it between only if there are only two. I know, I inherited this annoying grammar OCD from my mom, but it really makes my teeth itch.
    BTW, this morning I baked your black-bottom oatmeal pie for my bridge group tomorrow. It looks absolutely perfect and it is killing me not to try a piece in advance. The recipe for the chocolate and oatmeal layers would have made two pies; I do wish I had known that in advance. I even had two crusts, but didn’t figure this out until I already had gone too far to divide them.

  35. Diane

    Hold the phone for a moment – what exactly IS graham? I’m yet to encounter someone from outside the US who has heard of ‘graham’, and to describe the taste is quite difficult. Try to find graham crackers outside the US? Impossible, or impossible expensive. What is graham? Is there a way to replicate it?

  36. This sounds mouthwateringly delicious! So clever to add graham crackers… Also, I adore your cookbook, your Banana Tarte Tatin is a frequent visitor to my kitchen. Thank you for such outstanding recipes!

  37. Stacey

    I cannot believe it. The carrot cake of my dreams and just one day too late. Last night I literally baked your carrot cupcake recipe into two 8-inch layers for a friend’s birthday cake for Saturday (they are currently in the freezer awaiting a trim and final frost.) All day I’ve been hemming and hawing over the fact that I wanted to make a taller cake and should begrudgingly bake two more layers. As I entered my kitchen tonight, the new recipe pops up. I will bake these and I will alternate layers and they will be none the wiser. Who can say no to a 5-layer carrot cake? Certainly not me.

    Thank you so much for such tried and true recipes. You are always my go-to. Looking forward to the second book :)

  38. This is amazing! I love the addition of graham crackers! I’m so sad Australia doesn’t have graham crackers, I’d be on this cake straight away! Carrot cake is my absolute favourite cake. I’ve been loving all the different variations bloggers have been creating these past few weeks. Yours is certainly one of the more creative versions I’ve read! Love that you’ve kept the cream cheese frosting though. Can’t have a carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting – it just isn’t proper! Beauty recipe as usual!

  39. Mitch

    Oh my does this cake sounds fantastic! I’m getting a big box of graham crackers. As a kid, we ate them spread with leftover icing. I still love them. As an adult, I discovered graham cracker ice cream! And now in carrot cake! Life becomes a little more complete as each day passes!

  40. Priscila

    Carrot cake is one of my favorite. I can’t wait to make this for my sister IL birthday. I live in Chile, so we don’t have graham crakers either, do you think making your graham crakers recepie from scratch only to grate them would be too much work? I have TSKC and I’ve always wanted to make the smoor cake from Jacob’s birthday but beeing stopped for the same reason. I love love the way you cook, and all the effort you put on making the best flavors possible. I love to eat, and the peanut chocolate cake it’s one of my familys favorite. By the way, are you sure that the grams of butter in the frosting are 125? For 8oz or two sticks I think it’s 250. Good food!

  41. Beth Graham

    Cupcakes? Recipe looks amazing and want to make it for a large Easter gathering that’s buffet with mostly pick up food. Thanks!

  42. Clbtx

    For those in Europe, you might try Speculoos cookies to replace the graham crackers. You’d have to adjust the spice levels a bit since Speculoos already have a lot of spice themselves, but I think those have the right flavor and texture for this cake.

  43. For someone who loves carrot cake, I am so excited to try this! Any chance you could experiment with a strawberry cake that has real strawberries in it? :-)?

  44. Em

    Surprised and curious that graham crackers are a US invention, I checked a few spots for shipping them. Walmart and Amazon sell them online and is around $5/standard box with a $15 shipping fee to Chile. But you need to check any restrictions at your end, as there is no refund if stopped at the border. The good news is that Sylvester Graham invented them as part of his diet to stop carnal urges. Now that sounds like our Puritan genes at work!
    Lovely recipe. You are definitely the best in this game. Thanks for all your talent and your desire to share it!

  45. A semi-self sufficient and mostly responsible adult, I still harbor a deep love of graham crackers and have a box on hand at all times for impromptu sprinkling and snacking. I love the idea of combining them with carrot cake. What a happy idea for spring!

  46. MadeleineC

    Thanks, Gabrielle, for the confirmation of my grating experience with my particular Cuisinart FP. I will try the cake with finely chopped carrot. Deb, I think your confusion about my question may come from Cuisinart’s penchant for constantly tweaking models and parts, as evidenced by anyone trying to replace a part for their particular model. I think some of us have grating blades with bigger holes. The stiff little carrot rods I get are not much bigger than what you show in your photo, but they are thicker, longer and too stiff to curve softly the way yours do.

  47. Nancy

    Just to be clear – what should be the actual weight of the prepared, grated carrots? (I always have a hard time measuring them – lightly or firmly pressed into the cup?)

  48. mardi

    i live abroad and have no access to graham crackers…can you recommend a suitable substitute? i want to make this cake for my son’s 1st birthday.

  49. Lizzie

    Regarding your recent “stacked, filled, and unconscionably indulgent layer cakes”, I just thought I’d remind you of Valerie’s cake filled with the chocolate whipped cream. It is one of my absolute favorites from this site.

  50. I love this idea of carrot AND graham crackers! What could be better? few years ago I played with wheat germ & whole wheat flour for a s’mores cake. Why I didn’t just use graham crackers is beyond me!!

  51. Priscila

    Em, thank you so much for cheking that out. Deb, you have the nicest fans, if I do say so myself! Sadly I’ve never seen that food is possible to be shipped here, not from amazon at least. I wish I could explain to chilean customs how puritan they are so they could let them through. And maybe some sinful valrhona chocolate too.

  52. deb

    If you can’t get graham crackers — Try digestive biscuits or, as suggested here (thank you) speculoos. Note now added in headnotes.

    Nancy — The weight of the carrots listed is the weight of the peeled grated cups. To buy carrots, round up, i.e. buy a pound to be safe to accommodate for trimming, peeling and variances in the weight of the cups.

    Madeleine — Ah, now I see. Well, mine is definitely 10 to 11 years old so things might have been different. Too bad they changed something that worked well; that said, I’m glad I know now as I often suggest people use the grating blade in recipes, and have always assumed they’re getting the same results as me. Plus, hand-grating is the worst. (I did about half a carrot before I decided that a carrot cake that needed finely grated carrots would never be worth my time. And voila, it works fine with coarsely grated.) One more tip: A commenter on FB mentioned that she bought this additional fine grating disc from Cuisinart, which who knows, might earn its keep quickly with a recipe like this. :)

    Lydia — Well, there is this one but I’m dying to make an even more lush one, with chunks. I also dream of a roasted peaches and cream layer cake. I keep trying to convince my son to let me do one of these for his birthday, but all he wants is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and I’ve apparently reached that age where I no longer have the energy to make clever cakes for my own birthday, as I once did. Maybe our next kid will only like cakes with fruit! :)

    Priscilla — Thank you, and yes, totally correct on the butter. Sticks here are 4 ounces, 8 tablespoons, 1/4 pound or 113 grams.

    MaryM — Thanks, now fixed. Re, the oatmeal pie, someone else commented the same and I was surprised because I used a pretty standard and not large generic pie tin and it was the right amount for it. May I ask what pie pan you used? Clearly standard means different things to different manufacturers.

    kathy — Probably because I’m not a professional photographer and never use rigs to hold my camera straight. :)

    Notes on Tea — Yes, as long as it is not self-rising, but it is not necessary here at all to make a tender cake. It’s quite soft and tender without it.

  53. I always use butter and cream it with the sugars–but I also use pumpkin in my carrot cakes (or butternut squash, or acorn squash; whatever’s in the freezer) to replace some of the butter. The other thing I do is roast the carrots after grating. Basically, spread them out on sheet pans and stick in the oven for an hour or so, moving the carrot around two or three times. You can go even longer, but the hour is enough to remove a lot of the moisture, thereby concentrating the flavor and removing some of the sogginess that can result when you use a LOT of carrots, the way I like to do. I can send you my last iteration of the recipe if you really need to try yet another carrot cake. :-)

  54. Jocelyn

    Holy HECK this looks good! Carrot cake is my favourite thing. Question for you – if I wanted to make a smaller version of this is it as simple as reducing the recipe by 25%, 50%, whatever I choose, and getting a smaller cake pan to accommodate, or will I have issues? What would you recommend? Thanks!

  55. deb

    Heather — I think they’d make good cupcakes. Might not have much of a dome, but that shouldn’t be an issue once iced.

    Jocelyn — Depends on what size you want it to end up. If you’d like a 3-layer cake, just smaller, you can halve this recipe in 6-inch round pans for a very cute cake. If you’d like to just make it 2 layers at the same size instead of 3, you can reduce everything by 1/3 (and the frosting moreso as there’s already extra).

    Carol — I’m not sure how it would work with matzo cake meal without trying it but a what looks favorable for translation is that the amount of flour is pretty small here; most of the structure comes from the carrots and eggs. I’d estimate a 1/2 cup matzo cake meal replacement on each layer — that is, for the 1/4 cup graham AND the 1/3 cup flour for each layer.

  56. MaryM

    Deb, the pie pan I used was actually a 9-inch regular frozen crust from Pet-Ritz. Probably holds less than a homemade of the same size. I know, I know, homemade and all that. I made a pie crust once, it was pretty good, but not enough better than the frozen kind to justify the mess. I figure now that I have proved I can do it, I don’t have to. I have a friend who makes truly glorious pie crusts, so no point in trying to outdo her anyway!

    1. deb

      MaryM — No need to apologize for store-bought crusts! If there was ever a pie where the lack of homemade crust would be the least noticeable in the final pie, it would be this one (i.e. there’s no lid or lattice and so much otherwise going on flavor-wise). It’s helpful to know; I’ll try to see if anyone else using a storebought crust had extra. Thanks.

  57. Monica Rae

    My family has a recipe for carrot cake that uses carrot baby food in place of grated carrots. It is ridiculously moist and delicious and is the only carrot cake I’ll eat. I may have to make an exception for this one. I’m totally intrigued by the graham cracker addition!

  58. Andrea

    Had anyone noticed that the recipe for graham cracker crumbs has changed, and now taste sweeter and more artificial? I now buy the “original” Graham Cracker cookies, in the red box, and put them in a food processor to make crumbs that taste normal.

  59. Robyn

    Wonderful! And I’m so glad you decided against the parsnips :-) Going to make this for my lovely mother-in-law, she loves carrot cake.

  60. Jennifer

    RE: the Cuisinart FP carrot grating dilemma: I have the same problem with too-thick grated carrots, and sometimes I cannot be bothered to hand-grate carrots for an entire carrot cake. My solution is to grate them in my food processor, then steam them briefly on the stove (5 minutes, maybe?), until they are just starting to get tender. Obviously, you don’t want them to get mushy, so you have to pay attention, but after they are slightly tender, you can toss them into your cake batter and they will bake up just fine. They haven’t ever seemed too bulky in the cake, as long as they are pre-cooked. I know this solution isn’t optimal, but it could net you a cake this weekend! :)

  61. Elizabeth

    I need this to be in my face. Alas, Husband hates carrot cake (I know, I married a monster!) and I have no excuses to bake a cake anytime soon. I haz a sad.

  62. Meghan

    I made this cake tonight and it was incredible! Everyone proclaimed it to be “the best carrot cake” they’d ever tasted and I have to agree. I baked it in 2 layers and used the extra frosting for the sides (I made the maple cream cheese frosting discussed in the comments). I grated the carrots with my grating blade on my Cuisinart food processor and it worked perfectly.

  63. I have been contemplating on Passover Seder dessert, whether to go with german chocolate cake or a strawberry vanilla cream cake and then saw your carrot cake that pushed the two cakes off the table! We are gluten free and dairy free and don’t see substituting flour, butter, etc a problem; my question is: can I triple the recipe without affecting the results? We are having a large seder and this looks like it could be a hit and easier than most cakes.

  64. Kris

    Deb, this looks great! How many cups of batter does this cake end up making? I am trying to convert this recipe for larger pans and would like to know how much I need to scale it by.

  65. Hannah B

    Congratulations on expecting another baby! My #3 is due at the end of August. :) I love carrot cake and wish I could come help you eat this one. It looks fantastic!

  66. Lisa T

    Hi Deb. I was wondering if this cake could be made without the eggs. My daughter is about to turn one and we just found out that she has an egg allergy. I wanted to make her a cake for her birthday that she can eat without eggs. Do you think this recipe can be adapted? Thank you

  67. Grace

    Can’t wait to try this out, I adore the simplicity of the frosting. I’m not particularly fond of cakes with over the top frosting with roses and swirls and what have you. Thank you for sharing recipe! (and all your other ones too)

  68. Hi Deb: Graham Crackers — my favourite for dipping in tea ever since I was old enough to hold a cup — has changed their recipe! I don’t think it affects the packages of crumbs, but the new crackers are sweeter and contain some weird unpronounceable ingredient meant to “counteract carcinogens in commercially baked goods.” Yikes. They taste entirely different, sweeter, and, well, they fall off in your tea right away, and usually all over your clothes and the comfy chair you are sitting in in order to savour dipping the crackers in your tea. I complained on their Facebook page along with many others — why change something that works, an institution!? But the company took our comments down. Very bad form. (I still buy the odd package hoping they may have crumbled, themselves, under the pressure from Original Graham Cracker fans.

  69. JP

    To Jessica @104- I just finished listening to a podcast from Christopher Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated magazine and he claims that it is a bad idea to try to triple cake batter, but that if you are brave enough to try, to at least cut down on the amount of leavener ( baking powder and/or baking soda) because tripling it will make the cake be over leavened and it will end up falling and become squat and dense. Nonetheless, good luck on your Seder cake and happy Passover!

  70. Sue

    No Chocolate?? How can I make a cake without chocolate? I’ll try to find the chocolate graham crackers that I used for your pumpkin cheesecake. I can’t decide what else to use — chocolate sauce on the side? Chocolate gratings on top?

  71. sylvia :)

    hi deb!
    the cake looks great! what would u recommend to do with the amounts for a non layered cake? do u think itll b still good? and what would b a good substitute instead of graham crackers? i live in israel so we dont have them here :/ maybe lotus cookies?

  72. Kara

    This sounds amazing! I’ve been jumping from recipe to recipe trying to decide on a cake for my daughter’s first birthday next week (yeah I’m a little behind) and this one just sounds perfect. I love carrot cake, and she adores carrots so I feel good about this. My only worry is decorating the cake. I love cream cheese icing but I have little(no) experience decorating cakes and I was wondering if this will hold up well if I use it for writing/flower designs. Should I layer and cover with cream cheese icing and then use a small batch of buttercream to decorate? Thank you so much for your enthusiasm in these cake posts, it has been so inspiring and fun trying to decide on a birthday cake, even if all your recipes are just making it a harder decision ;)

  73. Kara

    Also, if I wanted to make this a sheet layer cake (like your airplane cake, the recipe you provided not the giant one) so it is big enough for a modest party, would you recommend simply doubling the recipe?

  74. Kristina

    Just referring back to Priscilla’s comment and your reply on the butter in the frosting. Not sure who was absolutely correct in the end, but I always use 1cup = 8 oz = 225g butter. In the various countries I have lived in, there are no sticks or tablespoon markings on butter. So I quickly learned that 225g was my 1 cup of butter.

  75. BlondieBlythe

    Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipe. I was dubious as to the amount of sugar in this recipe, with the biscuits too, but it really works. Delicious. I used Bastogne biscuits in the absence of Graham’s as I live in Amsterdam. I also added pecans for some crunch and did a frosting with 250gr of full fat Philadelphia, 50gr butter and 30gr of icing sugar which worked perfectly and not at all runny. Wondering how much will be left to take to work tomorrow….

  76. Mimsie

    I haven’t read other comments, so this may be a repeat. Just wanted to say I had to make this in a 9×13 pan because, well, reasons. It turned out beautifully and I got lots of raves. I cut the frosting recipe in half, and the amount was perfect. Thanks!!!

  77. Mimsie

    Oh, I meant to add that when I make any carrot cake, I grate the carrots by hand using a fine grater. That way, the carrots are almost invisible. Believe me, I like shortcuts, but in this case, I think it’s worth it.

  78. Chad McKenna

    My wife makes a killer Carrot Cake, I may make this when she is gone to sample it first. Left overs work well too though, I can explain missing my favorite cake.

  79. Rochelle Eissenstat

    Sylvia, I also live in Israel and it is possible to find graham crackers here. In Jerusalem I buy them in CheaperKol, SuperDeal, and the Arztot HaBira supermarkets. They are also available in the Moshava German Colony market. Any store that caters to Americans is likely to carry Amercian bakery graham crackers.

  80. Rochelle Eissenstat

    But hurry to buy them if you want to make this cake before Pesach! It is almost Pesach (Passover) when almost all stores will stop selling nonKosherfor Pesach baked goods like Graham crackers

  81. deb

    Kara — Depends on what size sheet… are you thinking 9×13, or quarter-sheet? (That’s what I usually use.) If so, if you doubled everything, you could make a 3-layer cake like this, but at the larger size. Re, decorating: I haven’t used cream cheese frosting to make flowers (whoops, yes I have, along with other bloops and bops) but I always always decorate with what I have, in this case, you should definitely have enough extra to decorate with. I think you’ll be just fine. It’s not a pure white, especially with vanilla extract, but nobody will care.

    Lisa — I haven’t tried this, but I know a lot of people use a flax/water substitution for eggs in baking. It’s worth seeing if it would work here. You could also bake a test layer, with 1/3 of the ingredients in a single 9-inch pan, to see if it would work. If it does, you’ll just have two more layers to go.

    Kris — I’m sorry, I didn’t check. But the layers are THIN. It’s not a lot of batter in each pan… maybe 1.5 to 2 cups, tops per layer.

    Jessica, JP — I of course haven’t tried tripling this, but I have tripled other cakes without a lot of trouble. It becomes more of a roulette if you’re tripling, making a large amount of substitutions and, perhaps, changing the cake pan size, so given all of these adjustments, it might not hurt to test it out on a smaller scale (a few muffins or a single cake layer) just to make sure it’s likely to work before possibly risking a lot of lost ingredients.

  82. Tara

    Made it! Tested it for Easter. Awesome. I couldn’t get the perfect between the layers and sides you got…mine looks a little less perfect But I’m ok with it.

  83. Jennifer

    I made this cake tonight and it was a huge hit. No substitutions. I ended up frosting the entire cake since there was so much frosting. The weighted measurements really helped. Another awesome recipe! Thank you!!

  84. T

    Okay, before I read the rest of this recipe, I had to check out the dress, which I assumed would be maternity, since I will also be moving in that direction over the summer. Wow, LOVE the dress! I may have to get it :) Nice find.

  85. DB

    Carrot is my Dad’s favorite cake. Will be making this for Father’s Day. Did I miss the size of the cake pan you used? I don’t have three of any one size but will indulge in another to make up a set of three of whichever size you recommend for this recipe. TY, DB

  86. Monica

    I made this fabulous cake this weekend, and because my daughter can’t have gluten I had to make it GF. Baking is the most challenging part of GF cooking, but this recipe worked very well! Substituted America’s Test Kitchen GF flour recipe for the flour and used Schar Honeygraham crackers. Thankfully butter and cream cheese are totally gluten free (or honestly, would life be worth living?!?). Really fabulous recipe, not too sweet and you were right – even better the next day!

  87. Beverly Whitton

    I love carrot cake–it is my request at birthday time. When I read that you would have more frosting than cake, it made me think of another of my mother’s mothers’ “inventions”–graham cracker squares topped with buttercream. They are so yummy and all the children–60 some things on down to babies–adore them.

  88. christi in ma

    I’m excited to try this. I made your S’mores cake from the cookbook as a cake and as cupcakes. Big hits both times!

  89. Matt

    Why does everybody hate my precious raisins and pineapple??? Deb, any chance you have a modification for this recipe involving either one of those ingredients? I’m hesitant to add pineapple due to adding liquid to a baking recipe. I can’t see adding raisins harming much, though.

  90. Christina B

    Hi! I made this cake this weekend and it was fantastic. It gots lots of praise and was impossibly moist. My only recommendation would be to really cool down- like, stick in the freezer- before fully removing from the springform. The layers are very delicate while warm. For people with only one 9 inch pan, it extends the baking time a lot, but after I jumped the gun on the 1st layer, I learned my lesson.

  91. Shirley

    Deb, you are a genius! I love your blog and look forward to many more posts.
    Is there a way a reader/follower can create an account to ‘SAVE’ some of the recipes as I don’t always remember the tags and sometimes I don’t have the time to scroll through the indexes?

  92. Yay! I’m so glad I found this recipe! I’ve been looking for a unique carrot cake recipe to make this weekend, and now I’ve got it. Thanks for sharing!

  93. Kim D

    I made this yummy cake this past weekend. My teenagers both commented to me that it’s the best carrot cake they’ve ever eaten. Thank you for another fantastic recipe!

  94. Amanda

    This made the perfect birthday cake, even if I did have to make it for myself ;)
    We aren’t super into frosting around here, so I halved the recipe and it was perfect! Thanks :)

  95. deb

    DB — I use 9-inch round cake pans here. I also have directions for if you don’t have three (I certainly don’t). That said, I have two and it helps. I consider 9-inch round a layer cake standard size. I certainly don’t have 2 10-inches or 8-inches.

    Suze — How thick were they? Mine are only 1/2-inch thick. Did you use the same size pan (9-inch)?

    Shirley — I’d love to get it; I agree it would be great.

    1. deb

      It’s from Quitokeeto, the shop from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks. However! It needs to be hand-washed and dried right after or it will rust. I left mine in the sink overnight after making this cake, and learned the hard way. :(

  96. Julie

    I’m hoping to make this for Easter dessert on Sunday but would like to bake the cakes the day before. I know you said to make ahead to wrap well and freeze, but is it worth it to freeze it for just 24 hours? Thanks!

    1. deb

      Julie — No, not needed for 24 hours. However, I might do it anyway because these layers will be so thin and soft, they’re just much easier to handle/lift/stack if frozen or half-frozen. No need to obsessively wrap it for just 24 hours, though, just a single even loose layer of foil or plastic would be fine.

  97. Hana

    So good! I whipped up the frosting in a food processor, which took about a minute at high speed. I did soften the butter but kept the cheese cold for structure, and substituted goat cheese for half the cream cheese. Got a fluffy, tangy, creamy cloud of birthday awesomeness. Thanks!

  98. Hannah

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you Deb! This cake is SO tasty! And making it successfully was, for me, a big step forward in my quest to make friends with the oven in our new house, so thank you for that too. xxxx

  99. Heather

    We have people coming over tonight and I’m definitely making this! I made the carrot cupcake recipe as a sheet cake recently and it was awesome, so I was planning to do that one, but then I came here and…this one has graham crackers. Nom nom nom. I’m kind of ridiculously excited.

    One tip for people who like the maple-cream cheese frosting but find it too soft — you can reduce maple syrup so it’s thicker and has more structure. Actually, if you cook it to soft-ball stage and then whip it, you can make maple cream (some people call it maple butter) which works really, really well in frosting recipes but is usually more work than I care to do. Anyway, just use medium-low heat and simmer the syrup in a small pan until it starts to thicken and is reduced by 1/3 to 1/2, stirring often, then cool and go ahead with the recipe. If you’re like me and can’t get enough maple flavor (my family makes maple syrup so I grew up on the stuff and am a total maple junkie) you can even throw in some extra syrup for good measure, as long as the total volume of concentrated syrup doesn’t exceed the amount called for in the recipe. Double-strength maple, woohoo!

  100. Angela

    I also will be bringing this for Easter dinner on Sunday. Can’t wait to share with family and while cakes are cooling on rack, James asks is any of this for us… So… good sign already by the looks and sweet aroma filling kitchen. Deb, have you ever experienced your carrot cake/ cupcakes, baked things using carrots turning green a day or two later? This has happened to me in the past and wondering what caused this. It has been such a long winter, I can appreciate the pink. Came home with a pair of flats from Target; color, blush. Thank you for sharing your writing and cooking gifts with all of us lucky readers. Happy Easter!

  101. Indirect Libre

    So excited to serve this at easter brunch tomorrow! I actually made two layers and then cut them in half for a total of four layers. Because, obviously, that’s the best way to have as much cream cheese filling as possible!

    I’m making an exclusively smitten kitchen meal tomorrow :) With your wonderful spinach strata and some side salads.

  102. ali

    Hi Deb,
    Just whipping up the frosting, and noticed that you said 125grams – but the other references for quantity were for 1 cup/8oz, which would be 250grams, would it not? Thanks for clarifying!

  103. Laura

    Is there any reason you can’t bake all three layers at once? I’m doing them one at a time like you said but the conservationist in me is dying. Also, a “search comments” field would be awesome because you get so darn many, I can’t read them all to find out if my question has already been asked. Thanks for the delicious great recipe. Looking forward to Easter dinner/dessert!

  104. Celeste

    Made this into two bite cupcakes with a bourbon vanilla orange cream cheese frosting for our Easter celebration. Unreal. Thanks for the recipe!

  105. Patty

    I baked this cake Thursday night and as advertised, on Saturday it is better than yesterday. I had a lot more frosting/filling than your pictures would indicate. I frosted the sides and still had more than a cup leftover. I’m not complaining because we love fully frosted cakes, but wondered if my using 1/3 less fat cream cheese caused this or if the filling recipe may have been for more than pictured.

  106. Anna

    Just made this cake at altitude and it is fabulous. I cut the amount of sugar in the frosting in half–still tastes sweet; I actually think 2 cups of sugar would have been overwhelming. Thank you for the great recipe!

  107. sylvia :)

    hi deb! i dont like the taste of cream cheese that much, is there anything else i can use instead? and what can i use instead of graham crackers? what about lotus crackers? thanks :)

  108. Shannon from Decatur GA

    Deb-made the cake yesterday. Came out perfectly –you have again brought such joy to me w/ another delicious and well written recipe. Thank you–happy Easter, Passover, Spring! Enjoy eating for two today remember growing babies ‘need’ the special vitamins only contained in your favorite Easter candy…

  109. Andrea

    I made this yesterday and was going to frost it today. However – 2 cups of icing sugar ended up making a glaze, not a frosting! For something spreadable, I needed about 4x the amount of powdered sugar. Thankfully a friend was home and had some extra I could use. Everything here is closed today for Easter.

  110. I’ve just found some graham flour in our cabin cupboard which needs using up. I made some bread today and I think I’ll have to try your beautiful carrot cake. xx

  111. Meghan

    Thanks for the yummy recipe. I made it today for Easter/ my mom’s birthday. It was great. I did have a few issues with making it in one pan, but it a was a user error not your recipe. It still turned out really great.

  112. Jamie

    So glad I found you!! I have made so many of your recipes but this one takes the cake! (Sorry it was too perfect!) I love to cook but I am not a baker but felt I just had to make a carrot cake as it was Easter after all. It was a real hit the kids who cringed at the thought of a cake of carrots devoured it. Super easy, hardest part was washing the cake pan to make the third layer. Everything was fantastic. Moist cake and perfect cream cheese frosting. Thanks for doing it yet again!

  113. Holly

    I do not like carrot cake as a rule…BUT I made this for Easter dinner and it was amazing! Nice and moist but not dense, very tasty. I will make this one again.

  114. LLD

    Made this for Easter dinner and it was terrific! I divided the batter in half instead of thirds because I’m lazy and added some walnuts. I did my best to get allllllll the frosting on it because really I eat carrot cake for the icing not the carrots. Yum!

  115. This was my Saturday evening project and wow…what a success! Thank you! I subbed coconut oil for half of the butter but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. Delicious! (I had a piece with tea for breakfast this morning. Yum.)

  116. Aimee

    I made this for Easter and it was phenomenal. I used all coconut oil in the cake, and baked it as a 9×13 rather than layers. It took about 30 minutes or so–and I was never that it wasn’t cooked all the way through–but it came out perfectly moist. Fabulous all around.

  117. Kora

    I made this for Easter and put a few jelly beans on the icing to decorate. It was great! I was a little nervous about the amount of batter in each pan, but it turned out perfectly and it was so nice to not have to bake it forever. I used 9 inch cheesecake pans since that is the only 9 inch pan I have. I love your recipes and check your site daily.

  118. Brian

    Another chiming in after making it for Easter. A huge hit with everyone, even my sister that prefers chocolate to everything else.

  119. deb

    sylvia — A popular alternative to cream cheese frosting is a flour-butter cooked one like this. Yes, other cookies would work, but I don’t think you’ll find the graham taste strong here.

    Laura — You mean and divide the layers with a knife? No and yes. These layers are very thin (1/2-inch) and the cake is very soft; personally I would do anything to avoid it because it will be hard to pull off neatly. (vs. a taller firmer cake that’s 2 inches tall and needs to be divided into two layers — this kind of cake I’d do in a heartbeat). Re, a search comments field: I have been dreaming of one for years. Thus far, nobody I’ve worked with has been able to find a way to do this, but I’ve got a new developer helping me with some stuff, I will ask. It’s got to be possible somehow!

    ali — Whoops, can’t believe I missed that. 1 cup of butter is 230 grams. Now fixed and thanks.

  120. Sarah

    Reiterating Kora & Brian above – I made this for Easter and it was a HUGE hit. This was, believe it or not, my very first attempt at a layered cake. Thanks to your helpful instructions, I was encouraged to give it a shot. And good thing I did because it made for some very happy family members :)

    Here is a picture of the cake I instagrammed!

    Sliced into ☺️

    A photo posted by Sarah Morris (@smorris228) on

    Thank you!

  121. We made this cake this weekend and it turned out amazing! Thanks for the recipe. Worked fine with olive oil (it was all we had) in case anyone else is considering it.

  122. Jessica

    Hi Deb, I have been reading for years and this is my first comment! I made this cake for Easter and my family absolutely raved about it! I snuck a piece after dinner tonight and honestly it tastes even better than it did 2 days ago.

    I love reading your blog and am inspired by your bravery in the kitchen! Can’t you come cook with me in Upstate New York? My students hear about you all the time and would be tickled pink! : ) thanks again…

  123. sylvia :)

    thank u! about the graham crackers, i don’t mind the taste just they don’t exist in the city that i live in Israel :/

  124. It has been a while since I had carrot cake and I happened to come across your recipe for one with graham crackers! Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to try this!

  125. Debbie

    I loved the cake the instant I saw it but I have had a love-hate carrot cake baking relationship in the past so I was a bit skittish despite it looking incredibly luscious. Having overcome the skittishness, I made the cake for Easter and I can say that it beats out 2 other versions by well known chefs hands down! (I did make a change on the frosting with an equal mix of cream cheese and mascarpone instead of all cream cheese.) Thanks!

  126. Stacy

    I made this cake for Easter and it’s awesome! I had three people tell me it’s the best carrot cake they’ve ever had and I agree. I was a little concerned with dividing the batter into three pans because the layers were really thin, like 1/2 inch each, and they looked a lot thicker in the photos but once I added the frosting between each layer the height increased a bit. I frosted the entire cake and had about a cup of frosting leftover. Next time I’m using all of the frosting because really, you can never have too much cream cheese frosting! Thanks for the great recipe, Deb!

  127. Maria

    WOW! This was incredible. You get some credit here for sure, but I kinda knocked my own socks off with this cake! And the frosting!!! My friends said “Well, Maria, you really made a mess of this one!” Thank you for this. It’s a keeper!!:))

  128. Lynda

    I made this for a family gathering. We tasted it beforehand (just to verify quality) and my husband asked me to keep some for us. Everyone loved it. We enjoyed our secret stash of carrot cake. Thank you!

    1. deb

      Sally — If the cream cheese has been fully softened, it should whip smoothly, with of course regularly scraping down the bowl. I find cream cheese can take some time to warm up, longer than the butter you’ll also use here (it’s bigger and wrapped in foil, is why I assume this happens).

  129. Sally

    Deb, thanks – I ended up microwaving the cream cheese for 20 seconds for insurance, even though I left it out for 20 hours :)

    The cake was AMAZING. My husband, who loves carrot cakes, said that this was the carrot cake to top all carrot cakes, and that anyone who says that they don’t love carrot cake should try it. The graham was subtle but perfect.

    (recipe notes for next time – my veggie oil weighed 200 grams, my layers baked perfectly in 15 minutes, and I’d do 8″ layers because I like a little more thickness in cake layers)

  130. Wow. My dad and I are avid cake addicts and hold the carrot cake as the pinnacle of this addition. Made this for Easter and my mom and my sister each got one slice and my father and I polished off the rest in 2 days.No regrets. Yum!

  131. Lynn

    Thank you! Thank you! I made this for my bf’s birthday and it was SO delicious. This is replacing my old “go to” carrot cake recipe & he agreed this was the best one he’s had… ever. I even did what you suggested… baking 2 in the 2 pans I have & then finishing the 3rd after cleaning out one of the pans. The batter sat just fine & all layers turned out great. My kids loved it too-i don’t remember hearing the word “favorite” but they devoured it.

  132. MorganM

    Deb. This cake is amazing! I made for my husbands birthday and we polished it off within a few days. I keep thinking about it. Now it is my babes first birthday and I am trying to riff on this cake by using meyer lemons. I had a ton lying around so I made a pint of meyer lemon curd. I have your cookbook with the smore’s cake and am wondering if the cake is similar to this one? Do you think I could mash thin lemon strips in sugar (like you do for marmalade) and let it sit overnight and then incorporate into the cake?

  133. Stacy

    So delicious. Made it for office birthday, and it was gone in 15 minutes. Like another commenter, this is replacing my go-to recipe for carrot cake.

  134. Alex C

    Just made this puppy for my boss’s baby shower, and it was delicious. I’ve made several of your carrot cake recipes, and I honestly cannot tell which one is the best. My cakes came out a little thinner than expected, even though I used brand new baking powder and baking soda. But I also used coconut oil, which may have weighed the cake down, so it turned out fairly dense. Still, did not regret that decision, because it was a fantastic addition.

  135. Mitya

    An amazing recipe – my daughter loves carrot cakes. Do you think, though, it can be done without an electric mixer? We move every other year and try to keep our appliances list light.

  136. Nora

    I just made this for an office baby shower and it was a HUGE hit. A few changes because I live in Ireland: I ground up M&S oat biscuits in place of graham crackers and I had to up the flour as I was using “plain” white flour, which I find to be less substantial than all-purpose. I did find that the recipe made a smaller amount of batter than I expected, so my layers came out pretty thin. But it was ultimately a great cake-to-frosting ratio. I think that the batter could even have been bulked up a bit more with additional flour or ground biscuits to create slightly thicker layers. I frosted the sides because there was no way I would be able to replicate this level of precision in my icing, but I did toast some walnuts and grind them up to sprinkle across the whole top of the cake. It looked lovely and added an extra, subtle nutty flavour. To split the cooking time across two days, I baked the layers (one at a time–I’ve just one pan!) one day and kept them wrapped in the fridge overnight, then made the frosting and built the cake the next day, wrapped it again, and served it on day three. It stayed amazingly, deliciously moist! My colleagues devoured it and I’ve gotten a ton of emails asking for the recipe. A great springtime office treat! Thanks, Deb!

  137. deb

    Mitya — The cake layers, absolutely. The frosting is definitely easier with an electric mixer to whip that butter and cream cheese together. It can be done by hand, but it’s more of a beast to get it fluffy. For space-saving, I definitely vote for a hand-mixer investment; they’re usually inexpensive and small, and do 90% of what a stand mixer will.

  138. Yulia

    I made this cake yesterday. It is FANTASTIC! Surely as close to Plato’s ideal form of carrot cake as you can get. A few notes: I used some very healthy, almost tasteless graham crackers from a brand called Mi-Del (it was all my co-op had) and I didn’t notice any lack in quality when I tasted the cake. So I think you could probably add any neutral but dense/crispy biscuit or cracker and still get good results. I divided the batter in two, baking two thicker layers in about 25 minutes, refrigerated them overnight, and cut them in half with my sharpest knife the next day, resulting in an elegant cake with layers that looked quite delicate. (The layers are best cut cold so your knife doesn’t bite into the soft cake when it is fresh and might tear.) This is an amazing recipe–close to perfect. Everyone who had a piece raved about it!!

  139. Hayley

    I made one crucial mistake when making this one: I used a muffin pan and filled the batter to the brim, and as a result got overflowing & flat tops. Still the (cup)cakes were delicious- the BF, his family and myself all LOVED them! The cake is moist with subtle notes of graham cracker and ginger, and the frosting is not too sweet and barely tart. The time spent grating carrots using a microplane was really worth it :)
    I will definitely make these again, but will do a better job filling the muffin molds by only 2/3 each! Thank you for another stellar, stellar recipe.

  140. Laura

    I have food allergies and made this without tasting it for a birthday gathering for my husband who requested carrot cake. Well, it was a hit. I appreciated the suggestion of making it the day before for better taste. I used half the sugar for the cream cheese frosting because I think a more tangy than sweet cream cheese is a better match for the cake. In doing so, I came up a slightly short on frosting and will start off with more cream cheese next time. And I’m sure there will be a next time!

  141. Meaghan

    Thank you so much for the recipe and I trust your opinion on carrot plus graham crackers…BUT, if I wanted to make just carrot cake and still use this recipe, how much flour is needed in place of the graham cracker? Thanks!

  142. Nancy

    Great cake! I made it for Mother’s Day and my Mom (and everyone else) loved it!! It was super easy to make and so delicious. And the triple layer presentation made everyone think I had worked very hard on this cake. Thank you for the recipe!

  143. I made this over the weekend/earlier this week for the office and everyone LOVED it. It was the first cake they actually completely finished so that there was nothing left over, haha! I did have to increase the recipe by half to get three good layers, though — I’m not sure why, but without doing so, the three layers were too thin and difficult to handle. After I increased it, though, it was perfect!

    And in case this will help anyone, I used half vegetable oil and half grapeseed oil for my neutral oil (just because I ran out of grapeseed oil). I also used half graham crackers and half ginger thin cookies. It all worked wonderfully!

  144. madilyne

    I just made this for my husbands birthday and he LOVED it. If I make it again I might add walnuts to the cake. We have a 10 week old baby so I was looking for a recipe that wasn’t too fussy or complicated. This recipe was perfect except that the food processor scared the crap out of my baby when I grated the carrots.

  145. Laura

    I’ve made this twice already, using GF graham crackers and GF flour and it’s been delicious! I love it that there are so many carrots. And Deb is correct… it won’t last longer than 3 days!

  146. Candace

    Hello Deb, I am a long time smitten kitchen follower and I adore your writing and recipe collection. I made this recipe tonight and ended up with three uber moist layers of cake, too soft to even move from the wire rack once cooled. One layer is in about 5 delicious chunks. I measured all my ingredients with the scale when indicated and double checked as I always do. I used a fine grate on the carrots. I choose to use butter. Maybe the amount of butter should be reduced? I am not a novice in the kitchen…this is the first recipe of yours that has not come together perfectly. Can you help?

  147. Emily

    This is so good! I made it for the second time yesterday, and instead of using the same round pan three times, I threw all the batter into a half-sheet cookie pan, then cut it into thirds when it came out. Not as gorgeous as the cake pictured here, but it still tasted damn good …

  148. deb

    Hi Candace — Yes, this is a very very soft and tender cake. I suggested in the recipe “to make this very soft cake easier to handle, you can place cake layers in your freezer until cool and slightly firm.” I absolutely did that here (and frankly, for all layer cakes, always, because my favorite kinds are very tender, thus tricky when freshly baked). So, if they’re sticking to the cooling rack, just put it in the freezer for a few minutes. It should come off more easily once it has firmed up solid. Hope that helps for next time.

  149. Kat

    So good and the easiest carrot cake I’ve ever made! I started & finished in less than 2 hours, chilling the cakes in the freezer. I’m in love with graham crackers (my golden retriever’s name is Graham!), so I need to get the SK cookbook to make that s’mores cake.

  150. Jen

    I made this with some help from my 6 and 4 yos for my husband’s birthday. It was insanely good! And the kids and the hubby were all amazed that I’d made a layer cake! So thanks for helping me be a superhero for a day. :)

  151. Kris

    I have been experimenting with the recipe lately because I am using it to make a wedding cake! I doubled the amount of batter you specified for a 9 inch and made a 10 inch. It was thicker and near perfectly flat! My only issue now is that after the cake has cooled and been refrigerated, the top is still pretty sticky and the center of the cake fell slightly, I feel it might’ve been underdone. Do you suggest lowering the temp and baking a skosh longer? Maybe use baking strips?

  152. Abby

    Hi there. If I halve the recipe, will I end up with 2 (slightly thicker) 6″ layers? Can’t quite justify making the whole thing for just me and the hubby. Thanks!

  153. Mary

    I absolutely love this recipe and will be making it again for my mother in law’s birthday tomorrow! Quick question: it’s a holiday over here in Germany, so all the stores are closed and I don’t have any brown sugar or molasses! Is there any way to substitute it? I have loads of spices and granulated sugar!

  154. beh72

    This turned out just great. Made it with 3 thin layers (and only two pans–did as you recommended and turned cooled first two rounds out, then re-used 1 pan to bake the 3rd layer). It was really a textbook recipe. I frosted and let it set in fridge to firm up and it’s perfect. My daughter loves it. It almost seems like a “healthy” dessert compared to last night’s Halloween haul! :-) Thanks for the great recipe.

  155. Karen

    I made this for my honeybun’s birthday last weekend. A delicious and indulgent birthday cake, it received raves. Briefly freezing the layers was an excellent tip, because the layers are soft and super fragile. Thank you for a lovely finish to his birthday dinner!

  156. Jamie

    I made this for my friend’s birthday yesterday and it was a big hit. I baked the cakes Thursday night and then made the frosting and assembled it on Friday before her birthday dinner. I only have 2 pans, so I made the third layer like you said and it worked really well. But I ended up frosting the cake on the sides because I couldn’t get it to look neat without it, like your does. Any tips on how to frost evenly between the layers and keep it looking neat without frosting on the side?

  157. Emily

    I made this cake over the holidays and everyone LOVED it! A family friend said it was the best carrot cake he’d ever eaten. I’m planning on making it again for my daughter’s birthday party, and I was hoping to double the recipe and use the second half for cupcakes in addition to the cake. Does anyone have an idea of how many cupcakes the recipe would yield?

  158. deb

    Hi Emily — I haven’t made these as cupcakes so I don’t have a count, but I want to estimate perhaps in the 12 to 24, tops range, i.e. less than the usual 3-layer cake would yield because it’s fairly thin. Hope that helps get you started.

  159. I never like cream cheese frosting. There has to be a breakthrough recipe that gives a bit of that bright flavor without leaving it cloyingly sweet. I tried the cooked frosting, with 1/2 the recommended sugar, and blendered in a tbs or two of cream cheese. Sort of good.

  160. katie

    do you think using olive oil would alter the flavor too much? it’s the only oil I have and I don’t use vegetable oil enough to warrant purchasing it for one recipe! Would I be better off with butter?

    1. deb

      katie — It might impart a bit of an olive oil flavor, but I don’t think it would be a bad thing. Plus, there are so many other spices and flavors here…

  161. Christie

    I must be the only one in the world that feels “meh” about graham crackers! If I want to leave them out, can I just substitute with an equal amount of flour?

  162. Katie

    I made this for my baby’s 1st birthday cake and it turned out wonderfully. I doubled the cake recipe and increased the frosting by 1.5. It was the perfect amount to make and ice a four layer cake for the adults, and then to make a little double layer “smash cake” for the baby. It was really delicious — even people who didn’t like carrot cake were raving about it and had seconds. Definitely recommend!!

  163. stacy

    This will be my first attempt at a layer cake, and at carrot cake! I hate to buy ingredients I have little use for. Can I sub fresh grated ginger for the dry ground?

  164. Amy

    I made this last night and my layers came out very thin. Cake is half as big as it should be. Was I supposed to triple the batter recipe?

  165. giordin

    This is the best carrot cake I’ve ever had!!!! I made it in 8″ pans and baked just a bit longer because I wanted slightly thicker layers. We loved it!

  166. Vicki

    Thank you for posting this on fb! I made this for Easter. Mine was not nearly as pretty as yours, but it was delicious! What a great recipe!

  167. Steff

    Made this for Easter yesterday and it was the total star of the day. All agreed it was the best carrot cake they’d ever had! I would also like to add that I had a ton of icing left over (more than a cup), so I paired it with the leftover graham crackers for a sensational Dunkeroos comeback. :)

  168. Merisa

    I plan to make this for my son’s first birthday this week. But I’m making it *mini*, with tiny springform pans. Wish me luck.

  169. Heather

    I made this for Easter using honey grahams and white whole wheat flour. Other than that – followed recipe exactly and it was delicious! I can’t see making this without the freezer so make the space before hand. Also, I own two 9″ pans and two cooling racks. So, after putting layer one on the cooling rack I washed the pan to bake layer three and put layer one in the freezer. When layer three was done I was able to put layer one on the cake plate and use the rack for layer three. I kept the cake plate in the fridge and layers two and three in the freezer while I prepared the filling. Working with cold cake layers made assembly much easier! Thanks Deb!

  170. Sue Quinn

    Did you mean 8 inch tins? Just made this to the letter and ended up with 3 pancake style cakes (I joke, but only a little). A disaster really. I knew when I filled the tins the batter was too shallow but went against my better judgement and cooked them anyway. Sad.

  171. deb

    Sue — I did not. It’s intended to be a very thin cake, I have a thing for thin layer cakes. I note up top that each layer is a mere 1/2-inch thick — is that about what you got?

  172. Melisa

    oh. em. gee.
    this cake was absolutely sensational. super moist and amazing taste from the spices (ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg).

  173. Kathleen

    Hi hi! This looks great! Do you think the ‘replacing half the flour with ground up graham crackers’ trick would work w a plain yellow cake recipe? I’m sure it depends on the recipe, but thought I’d ask since you did some experimenting to get the graham taste! Thanks!

  174. Megan

    This cake is fantastic! I made it a few weeks ago, and froze the layers (3), then frosted with the maple cream cheese frosting from this site and served it today. It’s definitely easier to handle partially frozen. It’s also flippin’ delicious and really easy to make.

  175. Deb

    This is fabulous. Made it in 2 layers and increased the time in the oven slightly. Also cut the icing in half – there was plenty! Has a lovely gingery taste.