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Carrot Cake or Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake

Recipe by Dana Calicchio


A person either loves carrot cake or hates it. I love it. It was one of the great foods that me and my girlfriends including my sister in laws, bonded over, pondered great ideas, cried many tears.

I say that because my love of carrot cake and finding a beautiful balance of not too much carrot, not too dry, not too many nuts was often a great and fun journey. Now even though I love the standard raisins in carrot cake or better yet, golden raisins, I used dried cranberries, Craisins, one day because I was out of raisins and I had just moved to a place that wasn’t showing to be a best decision and I needed something that I loved dearly that I could make as the restaurant’s and bakeries were nothing I was used to, fake processed everything is all there existed in these places of feeding people garbage 


The outcome was what I had been looking for. It was a hit. Family, friends, clients and Brides requested this cake more than any other for their weddings when I did catering. It’s the cake my workmates begged for me to make for special occasions; it is one of my greatest creations.

I make this a day before decorating or serving as the cake gets moister with time. Cover well with plastic wrap or in Gallon storage bags if possible. Trust me, It’s worth the wait.

For the cake:

2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups vegetable oil

3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup dried cranberries 

1 cup chopped pecans

3 ½ cups carrots, finely grated

1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple 

For the frosting:

3 boxes cream cheese, at room temperature

3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted or more if you like it sweeter


With the 

Breville Sous Chef® 16 Peel & Dice

You can grate your carrots with ease and chop you pecans. It does it all.


 Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 2 (8 or 9 -inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
This is not a cake you want to split into layers. So use each full layer you baked to frost so you wind up with 2 big layers. If you want 4 layers, split the batter between 4 cake pans and bake.
If you want to make Cupcakes, use cupcake liners, This will make approximately 22 to 24 cupcakes.



For the cake


In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the Whisk attachment.


Beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs together until light yellow.


In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mix well.


Toss the dried cranberries and chopped pecans with 1 tablespoon flour.


Add cranberries and pecans into cake batter.


Add carrots and pineapple to the batter and mix well.

Divide the cake batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


If making cupcakes, divide into cupcake liners and bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.


You want to have the cakes to cool completely in the pans. Then remove carefully.


For the frosting:


 I can’t express the need to make sure you have your cream cheese and butter at room temperature. Take them out of the refrigerator 1 hour before you will use them.


Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, not the wire whisk, until just combined. The paddle actually creams them better with no lumps. If you use the wire whisk you may have lumps. I never listened to this and always had lumps. I now use the paddle attachment.


Add the sugar 1 cup at a time and mix well after each addition and mix until smooth. Taste and add more 10X sugar if you want it sweeter and mix until smooth. 


Cream Cheese Frosting is very smooth and very hard to Decorate with. It must be kept cooler or the frosting can run, but so delicious and if you keep it cool, you can use a Pastry bag with tips.

Frost the bottom layer, spreading the frosting evenly, put the top layer on, and frost rest of cake as you wish. I will do a crumb coat, adding a thin layer of frosting over entire surface of cake, put in fridge to set for 30 minutes. The I will put frosting in a large pastry bag with a decorative tip and frost sides then top in whatever design I choose. You can color some of the frosting orange and green and pipe some carrots and greens on the cake. Classic carrot cake decorate