Make the ‘best carrot cake’ with simple baker’s recipe that has a ‘delicious zing’

Make the ‘best carrot cake’ with simple baker’s recipe that has a ‘delicious zing’


Sally McKenney said her carrot cake has an “outstanding spice flavour, super moist crumb, and velvety cream cheese frosting” that makes it the “best carrot cake” ever.

The baker revealed ginger “adds the most delicious zing”, which makes each bite heavenly.

And what’s even better is that the recipe is “pretty easy” to follow and only takes 30 minutes to bake.

Do note the equipment required includes a large baking sheet, parchment paper, a mixing bowl, cake pans, and a handheld or stand mixer – amongst other items.

Serving between 10 to 12 slices, here’s how to make Sally McKenney’s carrot cake with her super easy recipe.

Carrot cake recipe


260g chopped pecans, optional
300g packed light or dark brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
240ml vegetable oil or canola oil
Four large eggs
133g smooth unsweetened applesauce
One tsp of pure vanilla extract
312g all-purpose flour (spooned and levelled)
Two tsp of baking powder
One tsp of baking soda

Half a tsp of salt
One-and-a-half tsp of ground cinnamon
One tsp of ground ginger
Quarter of tsp of ground nutmeg
Quarter of tsp of ground cloves
260g grated carrots (about four large carrots)

Cream cheese frosting

452g full-fat brick cream cheese, softened to room temperature
113g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
480g confectioners’ sugar
One-and-a-half teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt, to taste


Make the cake

Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread chopped pecans on the sheet and toast for eight minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C). Grease two or three nine-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper rounds, then grease the parchment paper.

Whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together in a large bowl until combined and no brown sugar lumps remain.

In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the ingredients together until combined. Fold in the carrots and some of the toasted pecans.

Spoon the batter evenly into the cake pans. If using three cake pans, bake for 20 to 24 minutes; if using two cake pans, bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Test the centre with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. If not, continue to bake until cooked through. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.

Make the frosting

In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about two minutes.

Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for three minutes until combined and creamy.

Sarah advised: “Add more confectioners’ sugar if frosting is too thin, a little milk if frosting is too thick, or an extra pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Frosting should be soft, but not runny.”

Assemble and frost

First, using a large serrated knife or cake leveller, layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place one cake layer on your cake turntable, cake stand, or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with second layer, more frosting, and then top with the third layer.

Spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Decorate the sides and top of the cake with the remaining toasted pecans.

Refrigerate cake for at least 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Cover leftover frosted cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.