This is the best carrot cake recipe you’ll ever try

Perfect for the Easter weekend

The first time I ever made this carrot cake back during the lockdown phase of the pandemic. (Jack Roskopp)

Easter is right around the corner, which means that a big Easter brunch is the perfect way to celebrate.

It seems that some dishes are always at the Easter table -- and that includes a scrumptious carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s a classic dessert, but may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

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To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of carrot cake until I tried this recipe from pastry chef and all-around wonderful human being, Claire Saffitz.

Saffitz is well known for creating user-friendly recipes that are full of flavor. She does her version of classic recipes, and they taste incredible. It’s about using simple techniques with fresh ingredients.

The first time I ever made this carrot cake was during the lockdown phase of the pandemic. I was already on a pretty crazy baking kick (just like everyone else), and spring was finally starting to come around. My family was doing a virtual Easter that year, so I decided to bake the carrot cake and deliver slices to members of my family.

This cake will forever hold a special place in my heart because of that memory, and now it’s become a yearly tradition that I bake it around Easter time. Luckily, it always tastes great, so I have no problem keeping it in my baking rotation.

Saffitz’s carrot cake is just out of this world. Sure, there is that sweet flavor of carrot, but she blends together warm baking spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, that really bring out the natural flavor of the carrots. Plus, the addition of freshly grated ginger takes it to the next level.

This recipe also calls for toasted pecans or walnuts, which you can totally omit from your cake if you’re not a fan. I tend to leave them out because I’m not a big fan of nuts in baked good, but if you are, please add them! They always leave a nice texture.

The real star of this carrot cake, however, is the cream cheese frosting. How could it not be?! I love this cream cheese frosting so much that it’s basically the only frosting I want on a cake now. It’s not too sweet, and it features a secret ingredient that will wow your guests -- browned butter.

If you’re not familiar, browned butter is the process of tasting the fat solids when butter is melted. Bakers do it all the time for many different recipes, and it adds this warm, nutty flavor to whatever you are baking. I use browned butter to make my favorite chocolate chip recipe (also from the genius mind from Saffitz), and it’s also a crowd-pleaser. It’s the only chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ll make now.

Adding browned butter to the cream cheese frosting is such a bold move, but again, it really elevates the carrot cake from just a boring recipe to something that you’d find in a gourmet bakery. Like I said, it’s the only frosting I want on any kind of cake now.

The recipe isn’t too labor intensive, and while frosting it seems daunting, carrot cake is a rustic kind of cake, so frosting the cake doesn’t have to be perfect. It will look fabulous no matter what you do to it really.

To watch Saffitz make this cake (and get all the correct ingredients and measurements), watch the YouTube video posted above.

About the Author

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.

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