Carole’s Famous Carrot Cake with Creamed Cheese and Candied Orange Frosting

from In Good Company 

I remember there would always be tons of carrots around when growing up on the farm. They were often made into classic dishes, like soups and casseroles, or even mashed or candied. But it was my mother’s carrot cake that always topped the list for us kids. With the sweetness of raisins, the texture of crunchy walnuts and pecans, and creamy, tangy frosting, this seemingly retro dessert is anything but old fashioned. 

Carrot cake ingredients

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 Tbsp butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1 1/4 cups grated carrot

1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup raisins

Frosting ingredients

1 cup cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup icing sugar

1/2 vanilla bean 

1 Tbsp candied orange zest

4 sprigs mint


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease 4 (8-oz) ramekins and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine brown sugar, 2 Tbsp butter, and oil and beat until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix for another minute, or until just combined. 

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger and mix well. Add to the butter mixture, along with carrots, nuts, and raisins. Mix until just combined.

Divide batter among the prepared ramekins and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until creamy. Slowly add icing sugar, then scrape in the seeds from the vanilla pod. 

To serve, top each cake with a dollop of cream cheese icing and garnish with mint sprigs and candied orange zest. 

Variation: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Replace the grated carrots with 1 cup grated zucchini and replace the raisins chocolate chips.

Serves 4 

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: My wedding cake was carrot and I love Corbin’s version of it. Carrot Cake is the ultimate feel-good fall dessert. I made mine as cupcakes for the grandchildren – big happy smiles and not a crumb left on their plates!

Excerpted from In Good Company: Easy Recipes for Everyday Gatherings by. Corbin Tomaszeski with Karen Geier. Photographs by Christian Lalonde. Copyright 2018 by Corbin Tomaszeski. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.