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One thing I’ve been working on this year, which may be remembered in the future as “the year we all stayed home,” is updating blog posts. Quite a few of them that were written, say ten…or fifteen years ago, benefitted from being reformatted and tightened up. Blogging was a lot more casual way back when, and as I make (and remake) recipes, I often tweak and refine them. So I used my time during confinement to go through some classics and give them a fresher look.

It’s been a tough year and with Thanksgiving not necessarily happening, it’s good to have memories of friends. When my first book, Room for Dessert came out (which morphed into Ready for Dessert), a lot of people said, “I’ll bet everyone is going to make you a Coconut Cake for your birthday now?” That was because one of the first recipes in the book was for a Coconut Cake I made for Alice Waters’ father for his birthday, and I mentioned before the recipe that I wish someone would make me a Coconut Cake for my birthday. It took a long, long time for me to get that Coconut Cake, but it finally happened in, of all places, Paris.

The cake arrived via Barbra Austin. Barbra lived in Paris wrote a lovely blog that I started following and after I met her in person, I found that we had similar backgrounds, both of us having worked in a number of restaurants making desserts. And Barbra surprised me one year – enfin! – with a Coconut Cake for my birthday, which was a great gift indeed.

Barbra eventually tied the knot and moved to Hong Kong with her husband, but not before I attended a party at her place where, when I arrived, found her icing a Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting.

Back then, cream cheese was a rarity. If you found it, you’d let your American friends know what supermarket you scored it at, and they’d race over and grab a tub or two. Now cream cheese is widely available in France, edging squares of Kiri (a French “fresh cheese,” sold in little squares that people used for making cheesecakes), down the supermarket refrigerator case. These days supermarkets carry a number of brands of fromage à tartiner or “spreading cheese,” including Philadelphia and store-branded varieties, like the ones above, that just happened to be the right amount needed for the cream cheese frosting for this Carrot Cake.

Another thing that happened this year was I started toning down dessert recipes on the blog after a number of comments and controversies ensued about the amounts of eggs, butter, sugar, cream, and chocolate in recipes. I come from the era of Julia Child, Marion Cunningham, Maida Heatter, and Jacques Pépin, who ate everything, and lived long and what appeared to be happy lives. I got into cooking and baking because of them, and I learned how happy people are eating an occasional cookie or slice of cake, when I moved from my position as a line cook to being a full-time baker, pastry chef, and then cookbook author.

My specialty is not “over the top” desserts and you’d be wasting your time if you came here (or in my books) for sky-high cakes slathered with buttercream and decorated with Oreos, or multi-colored cakes where, when you slice them, an avalanche of store-bought candy falls out. I know those are fun for people to make, and people like to eat (and share pictures of them online), and I have nothing against any of them. But I’m more of a classic baker. While I don’t make one often, Carrot Cake is a classic that’s at the top of my list. And yes, a good part of that is because of the cream cheese frosting.

You may not associate France with Carrot Cake, but it’s popular here and I’ve never had anyone decline a piece. And how could you? With a gently spicy batter and cream cheese frosting, it’s one of the most revered cakes anywhere.

Barbra told me that this recipe is an adaptation of one in Gourmet’s Best Desserts, tinkered with by her friend, pastry chef Heather Miller when they worked together at a now-defunct restaurant in New York called Washington Park. They were on a brown butter kick and decided to replace some of the oil in the recipe with nutty browned butter. And it worked.

In France people eat desserts but don’t overindulge. As this isn’t a super high cake, so consider any and all of those aforementioned things that you’d like to reduce, already reduced. And this year, I think we all deserve a piece of cake, as we await better things to come in the new year.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Inspired by Barbra Austin and adapted from Gourmet's Best Desserts 
To get the 3/4 cup (180ml) of browned butter, you'll need to start with about 7 ounces (200g) butter, which will cook down to around that amount. You don't want to use any blackened bits in the bottom of the pan, so don't scrape the pan, but just pour out the brown butter into a heatproof measuring cup and leave the burnt parts behind in the pan. (A few stray ones won't hurt, though.) Spoon off any foam in the measuring cup as well. If you don't have a heatproof measuring cup, pour the browned butter into a metal bowl and let it cool, then measure in a measuring cup. If you don't get 3/4 cup (180ml) just top it up with vegetable oil. This carrot cake is lightly spiced, which is more in line with local tastes. Feel free to bump up the spices. Also, be sure the cream cheese and butter for the frosting are at room temperature so they meld smoothly when beaten together.
Course Dessert

For the cake layers:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) neutral-tasting vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) liquid, brown butter, or 3/4 cup additional vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (400g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (each) ground nutmeg and cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 4 cups (1-pound, 450g) loosely packed grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup (60g) raisins

For the frosting:

  • 1 pound (450g) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (240g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour two 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • To make the cake, sift together the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the eggs on high speed until they are pale and frothy, about 3 minutes. (They will not increase dramatically in volume.) With the mixer on medium-high speed, drizzle in the oil and melted butter, then the vanilla. (If you don't have an electric mixer, you can beat the eggs with a whisk vigorously in a large bowl, and do the same when you add the browned butter and oil.)
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just combined, but don't overmix. The paddle will accomplish this easily but if you are using a handheld mixer (or a bowl and a spatula) I prefer to do it by hand with a spatula.
  • Fold in the carrots and raisins, then divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops. Bake until the tops are golden brown and the surface springs back when gently touched, 30-35 minutes. Cool the cakes completely.
  • To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter at high speed together until completely smooth and lump free. Reduce the speed of the mixer, then gradually add the powdered sugar and increase the speed to medium, or medium-high, and mix until light and silky. Add the vanilla and lemon zest. Use the frosting to ice the cake, spreading 1 1/4 cups (220g) on top of one layer, and using the rest to frost the outside and top of the cake.


Serving and Storage: This cake is best served at room temperature, but will keep for a few days stored in the refrigerator.

Related Posts and Links

American Baking Ingredients in Paris

Carrot Cake, French-Style

Bran Muffins

How to Brown Butter (Simply Recipes)

Devil’s Food Cake

German Chocolate Cupcakes



    • Nisrine

    Carrot cake is my favorite. I go for it for my birthdays and even had it for my wedding. Nice to read about your experiences in Paris.

    • magillicuddy

    omg – I may need to run down to my Carrefour market right now and buy out all their St. Moret ! American style carrot cake is my favorite…. good thing carrots are in season. : )

    • sarah

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I was just looking another carrot cake recipe – I love the Frog Commissary one (so much that it was the cake at my wedding!), but having another one up my sleeve also helps!

      • Merle

      The commissary carrot cake is the one to beat although it’s a bit more work than this one. I will try it but the standard is pretty high. Wonder if david knows this version.

    • The Food Hound

    Barbara, I love your post and can’t wait to check out your blog! Huge kudos to you for wearing your sweats on le metro… I lived in Belgium for many years, and found that not being able to run Saturday morning errands in my Penn State lounge gear was one of the hardest adjustments :) I, too, would choose carrot cake for any birthday party– it’s my favorite! I just discovered the joy of baking with browned butter, too ( Merci!!

    • Three-Cookies

    Thank you so much, I have been looking for carrot cake recipes. I tried one but it wasn’t the best. This is what I needed – a great recipe with a great ‘endorsement’. Can’t wait to try it

    • Wei-Wei

    I love that the cake includes brown butter – this recipe looks amazing.

    • Abby

    Thank you! Yep, ‘you’re not French’ pretty much sums it up. Also ‘you’re not French and they’ll be able to tell the second you open your mouth, so why bother trying to look perfect?’ And ditto on the French men.

    • Jen

    David – you have probably noticed already, but Philly cream cheese is now findable at some Monoprix shops – 3.19 for 200 grams!

    • Jessica

    This is one carrot cake recipe I am dying to try. Brown butter?

    • Camille

    Funny, I had to ask Barbra for her recipe, too! :) A French-American friend recently counseled me that Kiri worked pretty well as a cream cheese substitute, and I concur. Great photos, as always!

    • My Kitchen in the Rockies

    Looks like the perfect birthday cake to me! Brown butter brings everything to a new level!

    • Pachecopatty

    Thank you David for introducing me to Barbra and her unique recipe for carrot cake using brown butter. I am curious how the brown butter tastes in the carrot cake so I will happily try the recipe to find out.

    Barbra- Congratulations on your guest post,I will go check out your blog, follow you on twitter and I would also like you on facebook, the food blogger’s trifecta ;-)

    • Matthew

    The frosting looks particular tasty :)


    • Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf

    guess i’m all-american too, used to ask for carrot cake on my birthday every year. love it ! and if it weren’t for that pièce montée, i may have had one at our wedding too. ;) just happened to bake one a couple of days ago; only, instead of cream cheese frosting, i decorated with mini marzipan carrots. oh gosh, i’ve been in switzerland too long.

    fantastic guest post, david – love the pics of barbra in icing action. and love the brown butter idea, barbra. i am clearly going to ask you to say “yaourt” for me next week ! à bientôt…

    • class factotum

    if you want to see a Parisian go ecstatic, show them a block of Philadelphia cream cheese

    I lived in Chile in the mid 90s. An Au Bon Pain opened in Santiago. I asked where their cream cheese was from, as the Chilean version of cream cheese was Not My Favorite, if you know what I mean.

    “Es de Philadelphia!” the clerk told me proudly.

      • Dirk van Heiningen

      My Dutch grandmother always used brown butter on almost all her vegetables. Très délicieux! I loved it on small new potatoes, boiled/steamed with salt and pepper, and dill. My French mother started using brown butter too, and never turned back.

    • Heather

    There really is nothing better than a well-baked carrot cake, and I know that without a doubt I would stand out in Paris more than the average American, but would still feel so blessed to be there!

    • cranberry

    Actually, most parisians start out saying “what? cake with CARROTS? Ew” and then have some and rave about how good it is.

    My mother made carrot cake for a big family event and it was gone in minutes (this was after a long speech about how Americans cannot cook. But my mother somehow finds grace in their eyes because she has been in France for so long).
    Admittedly, my mom makes the best carrot cake ever – it was always my favorite. But I might give this one a try too. And wonderful blog, by the way!

    • Jill in Atlanta

    I searched for a caterer who would let me have carrot cake for my wedding. I guess they were all concerned that you can’t tier cream cheese frosting. The one who made our cake put three layers on a tiered cake stand and it looked marvelous. Plus, twelve years later I still get comments about how good our wedding cake tasted!

    • sonya

    I’ve been looking for good ways to use some of the 7,000 carrots that are currently residing in my fridge (winter csa share=1/2 ton of carrots). This cake looks to be a perfect answer to the carrot quandry. Looking forward to checking out Barbra’s blog. Merci!

    • Norine

    Oh, this sounds wonderful. Strangely, for years a frozen commercial carrot cake from Oregon Farms was my favorite. In spite of being frozen/thawed, the walnuts, which I don’t see in this cake, were a big plus and stayed reasonably fresh tasting; and it had real cream cheese frosting. So, I’ll try again to get that dense, spice filled cake. I’ve tried some really bad carrot cake recipies and Oregon Farms seems to have disappeared, so I can’t cop out any longer. Thanks for the recipie David and Barbra. I’ll consider it a fine Christmas gift.

    So if I ever get to visit Paris, do you suggest I bring Philadelphia Cream Cheese for bribes :-).

    • Gina

    Ah, brown butter! If you can’t have the cream cheese frosting, try brown butter and icing sugar, it goes well that kind of cake.

    • carol diamond

    Thanks, this is my absolute favorite !

    • LimeCake

    Oh my, browned butter in carrot cake? That is stupendous! Who thought carrot cake with mounds of cream cheese could taste any better?

    • Michèle

    This is very similar to a carrot cake in an old recipe book called “Freezing & Canning Cookbook” edited by Nell B. Nichols Field Food Editor for Farm Journal. It was published in 1963. The only real difference is it has pecans instead of raisins. Wonderful carrot cake.

      • Virginia H.

      Hi David: I have a question about halving this cake, as I’d like to create a carrot LOAF cake. Do you think cutting all the measurements in half would yield a delicious standard-sized loaf cake? Thanks for your time on this. I love your blog!

    • suedoise

    You dear wonderful David wondering what brought you to Paris – it might be
    what made me leave my own country – that incomparable bliss of having Chrístmas every day. Rather what waking up in Paris is all about n´est-ce pas?
    The carrot cake seems heavenly but do admit the millefeuille from La patisserie des rêves on 92 rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement is a piece of art and a joy forever.

    • Nancy Singleton Hachisu

    Growing up in the Bay Area in the ’60’s, I was never a fan of carrot cake–too ubiquitously everywhere. Too cliché. But this recipe and post had me almost salivating. I wonder if my 13-year-old son would accept this instead of his normal birthday cake next week. Our carrots are still too small, but as luck would have it our friend grows them organically as well, and another friend brought a couple cases of organic cream cheese when he came for Thanksgiving. Thanks again for this timely and “delicious” post.

    • Bill Leatherman

    I do like good carrot cake! My recipe includes two cups of carrots and also one and a half cups of crushed pineapple. Frosting is made by heating in a sauce pan margarine and cream cheese, allowing to cool then the vanilla and confectioners sugar stirred in. Thanks for great posts.

    • Hannah

    Oh, David. This is such a wonderful, beautifully written post! I absolutely love your succinct, obvious-yet-when-reading-it-one-thinks-oh-wait-yes-that’s-true “No matter where you go, there you are” phrase. I think that’s why I love travelling so much – because I just want to “be” in different places.

    And, of course, another stellar dessert. I think I’ve only had tastes of other people’s slices of carrot cakes in my life. Perhaps I should bite the bullet and make one myself, finally!

    • bill labelle

    Your blog is as delicious as the cake promises to be. I was hoping tonight to find a blog up date from david Lebovitz . Imagine he was so kind to send you my way.
    Truly Carrot cake with Ice cream!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Alexandra

    David, you are so absolutely right about Parisians’ love for Philadelphia Cheeze cakes…

    • Barbra

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments. The brown butter – which, again was my friend Heather’s strike of genius – really does add a little something, and I’ve had fun experimenting with it in other recipes. It doesn’t behave exactly like fresh butter but the flavor is so, so good.

    Norine – If you’d like to bribe me (to what end I’m not sure), I suggest maple syrup or cold hard cash.

    Jill – Kudos for insisting on a wedding cake that actually tastes good. Most of them don’t, so I’m not surprised people remember yours.

    Kerrin – You can try to make me say “yaourt”, but I’m telling you right now that what comes out of my mouth will be unrecognizable in any language.

    David – Thanks again for inviting me to do this post. You absolutely “nudged” me towards Paris, to put it mildly!

    • Katrina

    I like to add canned pineapple to my carrot cake. I suspect it’s unique to Australia. I like the brown butter idea to improve our next birthday. Thank you

    • homegrown countrygirl

    Barbra, Carrot Cake and Confucius! Clever! I just looked at your site and was delighted to learn about Creme de Marrons… sounds fabulous!

      • Marguerite

      Silly question, probably, from one who has never made carrot cake: what does “grated” mean? Coarsely grated on the large holes of a box grater, or finely grated? Merci!

        • David
        David Lebovitz

        Closer to coarsely grated is better than too fine, as the fine shreds will disappear a bit more into the batter than I like. I don’t know how to describe “grated” in terms of size but generally coarsely-grated or one step down is fine.

    • bob

    Love your site, love this recipe!

    • Sylvia

    I adore carrot cake, and I too made it for my first wedding. The marriage didn’t last, but the memories of the cake did! I’m glad to see that Barbra’s recipe does NOT include the hated ingredient, coconut, which is an abomination in carrot cake. And any excuse to eat cream cheese frosting is good, but the way it complements carrot cake is unparalleled.

    • Julie

    Thank you so much for posting this. If I have ever made carrot cake before it is a dim memory and can’t have been a good one or I would have carried on making them. My sons had been hankering for carrot cake (here in Paris! dream on) and when I saw this, I thought, why not.

    I am a bit ashamed in that I could have gone to the effort of making the brown butter, but thought oh, it might not work and oh, the butter is more work and well, I am lazy and not overconfident in my baking abilities. Not a good combination. To get to the point, the cake I just made is fantastic, truly better than any other cake I have ever baked, no exaggeration. I am just sad that I didn’t go the extra mile with the butter.

    So anyone reading this (even rank amateur) go for it with the butter, the recipe is worth the effort. Mille mercis!

    • Louise

    I’ve had the good fortune to show up at this chef’s apartment for the birthday fete and got to taste this AMAZING cake. Now the recipe is public! Yay! It’ll make the Paris to NYC move taste better:) Merci buckets…..

    • Kristin

    My french husband made this recipe tonight for dessert. Success! It was wonderful. We were able to find Philadelphia cream cheese at Monoprix. The icing was delicious but it was quite runny. We put it in the refrigerator to set but after 10 minutes we could wait no longer. Yum.

    • Joy

    I love carrot cake. It has been so long since I had it.

    • Veronica

    I’ve got a question for Barbra … did you use genuine Philly for the frosting, or St-Moret? I love me a good US-style carrot cake, but whenever I’ve used St-Moret for the frosting (difficult to find Philly here), it’s been a complete disaster. As soon as you beat it with the butter and sugar, it goes completely liquid and even an hour in the fridge doesn’t cure it.

    Love the idea of browned butter — inspired!

    • christina

    I have a daughter wo loves to bake and recently wondered about the whys and what you use and whens in baking. Is there a cookbook that explains flours and why cream of tartar or baking powder or baking soda is used instead of something else? She is agonizing about a less than success and can’t figure out the answer. A fabulous “how to” book might provide it. Please help…Christmas is around the corner. I have a great resource in NYC for old out of print cookbooks [ Bonnie Slotnik] so that’s not an issue. Thanks

      • Emma


      She might also check the King Arthur Flour blog, among great recipes they have very interesting posts about techniques and the why

      • Roger Kocher

      Bakewise by Shirley O. Corriher – Hows and whys of successful baking

      • Merle

      The Joy of Cooking gives you advice and substitutions and the reasons why. It’s an old standard that can’t be beat.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Hi Christina: One of the best books I know about the science of baking, explained in easy-to-understand terms, is Cookwise by Shirley Corriher. It’s a great reference.

    Her more recent book, Bakewise, concentrates on baking and is likely more available at your local bookseller for last-minute gift giving!

    • Barbra

    Veronica, I use good ol’ Philadelphia, which is getting easier to find in Paris. I’ve seen at at La Grande Epicerie, at some Italian traiteurs (not sure why) and someone said in the comments that Monoprix is starting to carry it.

    Christina, I second David’s rec., and had a pang of envy/nostalgia when you mentioned Bonnie Slotnik, which is in my old neighborhood.

    • matthewjg

    Thanks for sharing this cake recipe. Just right for the season. I found your article in google and I felt like commenting because I was benefited.

    Happy Holidays!

    • Veronica

    Thanks Barbra. Being nowhere near Paris or any branch of Monoprix,I think I’ll have to buy some Philly next time I pop over the border to Spain, where it seems to be very popular :)

    • Domestic Diva

    I have always loved carrot cake, kinda afraid to be left alone in a house with it, LOL.This looks like a recipe I would try that. Thanx for sharing.

    • Richard

    Happy belated B’day! that is so funny because I had a carrot cake bakeoff for my B’day last jan. 3 of my friends & I each made a carrot cake. mine of course won even with the blind taste test.

    • Patrice Ryan

    Love the carrot cake recipe David although I’m currently working my way through Ripe for Desert since the recipes are just so appropriate for the Australian summer – I made the ‘gingery lemonade’ for a BBQ on the weekend – used it as a base for champagne cocktails

    It’s around this time of year that you signed Room for Dessert for me in Paris in about 2002 so I’m loving The Sweet Life in Paris – imagining I’m there again having lots of delicious adventures!

    • Smørrebrød

    Hi, I’m trying this to night. Hope it’s delicious.

    • christina

    Thank you David and Barbra for your recommendations. I will contact Bonnie and see what she can do. I would rather give her the business that the large chains. She is the greatest resource and has been finding off the wall and old cookbooks for me for years..

    • Jonna

    I made this tonight and it is wonderful. I live in Mérida México where you will rarely see an American style carrot cake. I read this recipe and knew I had to make it. The carrots here are fabulous, with lots of flavor, and I think that made it even better. I did use brown sugar instead of white, I like a dense, dark carrot cake. I can’t tell you how fantastic it is!! I have to admit that I only have one round cake pan so half of the recipe went into cupcakes. That turned out well since we HAD to try it as soon as it cooled and now I still have a complete cake for guests. Philly cream cheese is no problem here, Mexicans are enamored of it. Too much really, they put it in sushi!

    I’m a big fan of your blog David, a little of Paris in Mexico is a fine thing. Thank you for the link to Barbra’s blog as well, fantastic!

    • Sam

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I was just out at Fanelli’s in Soho (NYC) with my son and he declared that he loved everything about that day but if only he could have some cheese cake. We found a piece at a nearby bakery but it wasn’t that great. Now I am going to make him some with this recipe…yay! as the 13 year olds say.

    • BakingDecorations

    This is my husband’s favorite cake. Thanks for the recipe, I will have to try this. It looks delicious.

    • Jim

    I love carrot cake, and ever since I left Wheat Ridge, also back in Colorado, 12 years ago for cold and frosty Holland, I’ve struggled to find a decent cake here. I saw your recipe and, since I had Christmas off, decided to make it. Wow! It was perfect, and the friends I gifted it to the next day were amazed. As someone else mentioned, the addition of browned butter was a brilliant trick – it really made the cake seem lusciously rich..scrumptious…

    • Sharlene

    Thanks for the recipe!!! the brown butter makes this recipe !! It’s the best carrot cake I’ve had. I made it for Christmas dessert…and I’m making it again to treat my coworkers for the holidays….

    happy holidays!!!

    could I make this recipe in a large rectangle pan…just easier to share at work. maybe 40-45 mins?

    • Karyn Tomlinson

    So true! I was just in Paris for a while at cooking school and one of my Parisian friends became ecstatic when she found out I could tell her how to make American carrot cake. I had no idea. Since France so clearly has the edge on the market with cuisine and patisserie, it makes me feel kindof nice that we at least have a little something to offer this side of the Atlantic.

    This looks like a great recipe–thanks!

    • Michael Duffy

    I gave this recipe to my partner and told him it was the birthday cake I wanted him to make for me. Yesterday was the big day, and the cake was a GIANT hit. OMG it’s amazing. He said the batter was pretty stiff until the sugar and other ingredients got the carrots to give up some additional moisture. And he had the same problem some others have had with the icing not getting hard. (He stuck it in the freezer to harden the crumb coat before adding the rest of the frosting. But it was a wonderful masterpiece. Sadly, there were no leftovers!

    • Joy

    In Denmark we only had the spreadable Philadelphia cream cheese which made miserable frosting. In desperation I used mascapone and it was divine, possibly better than American block Philadelphia. (Yes, I ducked when I typed that.)

    • Gen Santanelli

    I’d like you to know that I baked this cake as my last 2010 dessert for my family. I followed your recipe to the T and cannot tell you how happy I was with the outcome! My family loved it so, so much, that they have requested I bake it again this weekend!!! They were never (ever!) carrot cake fans and they simply were taken away with this recipe. THANK YOU Barbra for sharing this one. THANK YOU for being so clear with your recipe… It was a fun and truly one of the best recipes yet. I look so forward to following your blog now that I have met you through Lebovitz’s blog!! Happy New Year to you all !!

    • Sandra Hopkins

    This looks so yummy with a frosting on it. My mother used to bake carrot cake but this recipe looks way too yummy than what I used to eat. Thanks for posting this! Will let my mother know about your recipe.

    • iPad DJ

    One of my favorite things to eat in the world as far as dessert goes. So I will certainly print this recipe out and make very soon. Although I would have made it today if I hadn’t just baked a Dulce De Leche cheesecake. Ok time to finish off the cheesecake and make this next.

    • Tina

    I have tried baking carrot cake last week and it was a disaster. I was my first time to bake a real cake and too bad it was a disaster. Well seeing you recipe makes me want to try again. Ha! Ha! Ha! I hope this time I make it right.

    • Sylvia

    I adore carrot cake. I made it for my first wedding, and I would eat it for every meal if I could, but only if it didn’t have coconut. I’m thrilled to see that this recipe is unadulterated by coconut.

    • Mousse Cakes

    My mom loves carrot cake. She also loves cream cheese. This looks like the perfect combination for her to try out! Thanks for posting the recipe and the pictures!

    • leon

    “You may not associate France with Carrot Cake, but it’s popular here and I’ve never had anyone decline a piece.”

    No offense, but “I’ve never had anyone decline a piece” is not a useful data point when you’re David Lebovitz. You could make the Rachel meat trifle from Friends and almost everyone would probably try it!

    • Lee

    it is wonderful to have a carrot cake without coconut or pineapple. I imagine that adding toasted pecans would not hurt.

    • Kathleen

    Years ago, Gourmet had a recipe for a cake that used parsnips instead of carrots. It was sensational, with a nutty quality that carrots lack. I’m inspired to try parsnips in this cake sometime soon.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve seen parsnip cakes but never made or tried one. If you do try it, let us know how it turns out!

        • Linda

        There is an astoundingly good parsnip cake in Ottolenghi’s “Sweet”. It’s the hit of any party I’ve brought it to.

    • Mary

    Oh David, I do love your blog. It has been lovely to scroll down through a decade ago of comments here. That cake looks magnificent. I will give it a whirl! Please keep sharing desserts with us – don’t let the nitpickers get to you!

    • Karen de Villiers

    Thank you for a refreshing, honest post. We have lost the sense of good baking for ‘theatre baking’ and I for one am delighted with a smaller, delicious offering that was made with love, to share and enjoy.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I was thinking about a generation of bakers, like Marion Cunningham, Julia Child, Flo Braker, Carol Field, Alice Medrich, and others, who just baked and created recipes based on what tasted best to them and what would work for home bakers who baked from their recipes. Times have changed, which is natural, and baking has gone off in many directions, some interesting and others less-so. The “rainbow” foods I don’t get, such as rainbow bagels, but I do love rainbow sprinkles! And I’m not so enthused about deep-fried croissants either. But I know people do & they’re fun to post pics of.

    • Kit Dombrowski

    I know this was a long ago post but I have a question about cream cheese in France. I read somewhere that the formula for Philli cream cheese in France Is different from the blocks that are found in the US. It has a lot more liquid. I have had problems with cream cheese frosting that doesn’t firm up and is somewhat runny. There are many discussions in the blogosphere about how to counteract this problem, from keeping the crème cheese in the fridge instead of bringing it to room temp to adding less sugar. Do you have any tips? I will definitely give this recipe a try as I find that your recipes are so well tested and mostly foolproof! Love the blog and your books. The Perfect Scoop changed my life!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I’ve not had that problem in France, Kit. For this cake, I used the cream cheese shown in the picture and the frosting was firm enough to pipe (although not everyone wants to pipe frosting!) There was a little liquid in the packages floating on top when I opened them, about a teaspoon, which I poured off, but that was about it. But I made some cheesecakes a few weeks ago for a project and used Philadelphia-brand and it worked just fine. So I can’t really offer any tips since I haven’t notice that issue.

    • Emma

    I really don’t understand people who come on a baking blog, comment on a cake recipe only to complain about eating sugar is bad and shouldn’t be done. Explain me ! You don’t want to eat sugar, OK, so why going to a baking recipe ? There’s going to be sugar involved. Cake is not an everyday food, it’s a treat, an indulgence that make life (my life at least) nicer. And eaten in moderations perfectly suitable in a healthy balanced diet.
    I don’t react well to fatty food, so I don’t go to keto blogs explaining them how bad fat is, so please sugar haters, go away and let us enjoy cake ;-)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I try to point people to low-sugar baking books, such as this one and this one (which are written by notable pastry chefs and bakers). They’re both very good books so I hope people find something in those as the recipes are specifically formulated with less sugar. I eat a little bit of something sweet every day, somedays more than others ;) but you’re right that it’s all about balance and figuring out what’s best for you.

    • Monika Krupski

    Hi David, as a Brooklyn Girl living now 28 years in Germany I do miss quite a few American classics. Carrot Cake is definitely one! That said, I once baked quite a large Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, decorated it with Marzipan Carrots and Chervil fronds – and NO ONE dared try it. No matter what I said. Finally, another American working in the office, came by, did a double take and dove right in! That made both our days! Thanks for memories I’m off to the market for carrots.

    • Linda

    Some years ago I discovered that the White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream from “The Cake Bible” was really good on carrot cakes. It’s sweetened only by the white chocolate, so its unbelievably silky. Most regular cream cheese icings were too sweet for me, but I look forward to trying this one.

    • Lisa

    Brown butter! I have used a nearly identical recipe for years but I’m really intrigued by the brown butter replacement.
    I notice that as you update you are putting in weights for the ingredients–for me, that always seems to be the difference between success and “meh”. (Yes, I’m a New Yorker.)
    The real reason for my comment is to say “Thank You, David!”.
    I know it has been a lot of work for you but in this awful year, your newsletter, updated blogs, recipes and encouragement have been a bright spot for me. And I expect for many others.

    • Bocco

    Thank you for this amazing recipe Mr David! Greetings from Romania.

    • Lorraine Fina Stevenski

    I love carrot cake. My family requests my pineapple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for birthdays every year. I decorate the top with home made marzipan carrots. David, your recipe looks perfect and I will try this next time. Thanks for your recipes!

    • Debbie

    Will make this on Friday for our daughter’s 25th birthday. No party this year, which is sad. Carrot cake is her favorite. Mine too….we had it as our wedding cake in 1985!

    • Annette

    David, please don’t cut back on the dessert recipes on my account — my sweet tooth and I have been missing them! I’ve made both your French and Belgian-style chocolat chaud in the past 2 weeks and they’re both over the top delicious. I’ll be trying this carrot cake with brown butter soon too, and will think of my late mom, who often made a pineapple-studded version in the 80’s & 90’s. I haven’t made one in years! Thanks for the nudge, and the interesting tweak.

    • Carol

    I remember how hard it was to find baking ingredients in Paris over the span of years when I lived there. I love trying new carrot cake recipes, and will certainly try this soon.

    Things that I have incorporated in the past, and have kept doing, include soaking the raisins in Meyers Rum for an hour or two before starting, then adding that mixture to the grated carrots, and using a scant 1/4 teaspoon of Fior de Sicilia in the cream cheese frosting. I look forward to trying the brown butter ingredient next time.

    Thank you for continuing to help raise my game!

      • TxLaurieLou

      Oh my, soaking the raisins in rum sounds like a great idea. I’m going to try it on my next carrot cake! Thank you

    • Kathy Sykes

    I have been baking carrot muffins using half of the Silver Palate recipe, which has less carrot that yours but has coconut and shredded pineapple. I substitute 1/4 cup ground flax seed for the equivalent flour. These are great for breakfast. I will try using brown butter next time. Thanks.

    • Linda U

    Oh, David, please always stay a classic baker! My favorite Julia Child quote is “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

      • Pooker

      I shall pin that quote on my fridge door. Thank you Linda!!

    • Teddi Carbonneau

    Please ignore anyone who wants you to change anything. Your recipes are classic (and classy) and I look forward to whatever you have to share with me. Carrot cake is perfect for this time of year. I will be making this into beautiful cupcakes to share with neighbors, employees and friends for the holidays instead of the usual holiday cookies.

    • Beki

    I love carrot cake! I always add a small can of crushed unsweetened pineapple.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      It’s funny because I’ve never had or made a carrot cake with pineapple in it, but I know a lot of people do. (Or put coconut in it.) I’ll have to try them both sometime!

      • Bitsy Cavanaugh Rapp

      I use fresh pineapple and omit raisins

    • Janet Eng

    David, I must be a classic baker, also. I love your blog and recipes, just as they are. You inspire me to make special delicious things for my family. Your blog invokes my sometimes asleep creativity to make something. I can always count on the results being fantastic due to your diligent recipe testing and perfecting. I’m searching the pantry to see if i have everything to make this for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Thank you from sunny Southern California and Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Michele

    David, I made Dorie’s French apple cake last Thanksgiving, and served it with your cinnamon ice cream. Today I am again making the cake, with your tweak of rum. This carrot cake sounds luscious for Christmas. Thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving.

    • Virginia H.

    Hi David: I have a question about halving this cake, as I’d like to create a carrot LOAF cake. Do you think cutting all the measurements in half would yield a delicious standard-sized loaf cake? Thanks for your time on this. I love your blog!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t know how it would fit in a loaf pan but you’d have to figure out the amount of batter per pan vs. the capacity of a loaf pan. King Arthur has a good guide to baking pan sizes that should help.

    • KittyWrangler

    Yesss! This will be fun to try since my husband requests carrot cake for every birthday. I ice them with cream cheese frosting and pile fresh pomegranate seeds on top. I love the tartness and it’s far more attractive than my icing abilities.

    By the way, if anyone is in Germany “frischkäse” makes a good cream cheese replacement (tastes the same to me, but I’m no expert).

    • Janet Miller

    My favorite cream cheese icing is from Rose Berenbaum’s heavenly cakes. It’s simply cream cheese, butter and melted white chocolate. No sugar; the white chocolate adds all the sweet you need. You love white chocolate, David! You should try it. Easy and delicious.

    • Susan P Dunsford

    This column struck two notes with me: Coconut Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting. One is a want, the other is a give. Assemble in Richmond, Ca., a neighborhood restaurant, located in the former Ford plant in Richmond, used to have the BEST coconut cake ever. Rumor had it that the baker was formerly from…Chez Panisse. New owners, cake gone. Can you help? Secondly, the BEST cream cheese frosting lays at the feet of Emily Luchetti, former baker at Stars restaurant, San Francisco. As follows: 3/4 lb. of cream cheese; 4 oz. of soft sweet butter; 1 cup of sugar; 1 teaspoon vanilla; 1 1/2 lbs. of mascarpone. Add mascarpone last and don’t over beat. The best and $! Thanks a bunch.

    • Amala La La

    Shredding carrots, while part and parcel of the Carrot Cake making experience, is not my fave.
    A food processor makes the job a snap, but I’m lacking one at the moment. Do you have a recommendation for a good one? Would a Magimix be worth the splurge? (Not just for carrots, of course!)

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I have the shredder attachment for the KitchenAid mixer which works very well and comes with an assortment of shredding sizes. It looks like they’ve changed the model over the years but the one I have works well. I also have a food processor that (I think has a shredding disk) but that’s a lot more onerous to clean ; )

    • Mk

    As my husband’s favorite dessert is carrot cake, I’ve tried alot of carrot cake recipes and settled on this one. It’s light and moist.
    Everyone agrees that this recipe produces better carrot cake than the carrot cake that won the best tasting carrot cake in NYC.

    But I can’t wait until try your version made with brown butter! That sounds amazingly good!
    Thanks for sharing!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      That looks close to this recipe except it has an additional 1/2 cup of oil and 2 teaspoons baking powder added to the batter (as well as chopped pecans), and double the amount of powdered sugar in the frosting to 4 cups rather than 2 cups here. If you give this one a try, let me know how it turns out!

    • Mrs.G

    Dear David, I am so glad to have this recipe. For me and those of us living in France, flour is a real issue. I have never seen a bag of all purpose flour here. I make a simple lemon cake just once and it was an oven-baked brick. Just horrible. Please tell me where to get cooking supplies. I have two new Bosch ovens that I am ready to bake with for Christmas. But flour… in France it is different. And water. I am in the south. Beaucoup de calcaire! Merci

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Check out my post Ingredients for American Baking in Paris which explains the equivalent (and differences in) ingredients. Hope those help!

      • Emma

      It is weird because I use a lot of King Arthur flour’s blog recipes, and they always go well.
      I only do two things: 10 to 15% less butter and the same for liquids, as using the same amount of liquids makes a too runny dough (something linked to protein content, if I remember well). And I use Francine Supreme flour.

    • Michelle

    Dear David
    Thank you and greetings from Melbourne Australia where we have just emerged from our lockdown which was in excess of 100 days. Today was a sweltering day of over 35C and after we finally finished cooking and then cooling and wrapping the last of our five Christmas Cakes – one for us four as thank yous – I jokingly said to my youngest that I felt like cake. We had talked about your carrot cake recipe and she immediately leapt into action and at midnight we have just eaten the most delicious carrot cake imaginable – thank you thank you thank you. The only reason she was prepared to embark upon it in her exhausted state was the fact that it was one of your recipes and as she said – it will be great if it’s from David – he provides weights. This may become our new tradition as after three days of cooking cake it is always weird to have no cake to actually eat. Off to grab another slice. Thanks again

    • Reid

    What other changes might you make if you used purple or white carrots?

    • Suzanne

    Please do not stop posting desserts
    I love them all and would be disappointed if you stopped
    this is my all time favorite blog !
    thank you

    • Suzanne

    David a lighter icing from Serious Eats that is Fab: Cream cheese frosting recipe.

    David try it and let me know what you think

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for sharing her recipe. I linked to it rather than republish it here (because it’s copyrighted) but it looks interesting. Some people reported a “soupy” icing but glad you like it!

    • TxLaurieLou

    David, you’ve been so industrious this year! Thank you for all the work and the live happy hours that saved my sanity, and for the gram weights in the recipes too.

    Your story of the birthday coconut cake made me think of my Grandmother. She would make the BEST 3 layer coconut cake, with a “double boiler cooked egg whites” type of frosting, all covered with shredded fresh coconut. Those coconuts never stood a chance against her ice pick and hammer!

    And Carrot Cake is my Mom’s favorite, so I’m going to make y’all’s recipe as a surprise for her this Christmas. Thanks again, I hope you’ll all have a lovely holiday season. (P.S. My new motto: If you’re afraid of butter try cream.)

    • Erin

    Thank you for the lovely recipe! I made this last night for my birthday, and it was delicious and easy to make. Carrot cake is one of my favorites.

    • Nancy

    I made this yesterday for my husband’s birthday and it was amazing. I have made several of your recipes from this website and every one is a winner!

    • Steve

    This is now my go-to recipe for carrot cake.

    Not very popular in Israel, no one (except ex-pats) make it, and only one cafe chain has it, sans cream cheese frosting (a travesty, I know).

    We can get Philadelphia here, but it’s crazy expensive. A couple of places sell the same brick that they sell in Costco, except x3 the price.

    I mix half of it plus homemade… and it’s perfect.

    The bottom line… everyone who has tried it, went nuts over it… the browned butter adds a nice flavor, but the oil-only cake works perfectly as well.

    This can be done as a sheet cake, use 1/2 the amount of icing!

    Thanks David!!!!

    • Jivan Dios

    Carrot cake is my favourite and this looks lovingly classic and yummy. I will try this tomorrow with some of my garden carrots. Warm thanks from Sweden!


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