Ryan Shepard
About Author
April 10, 2020
BS+B Recipes

My Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe

Despite all evidence to the contrary, baking isn't really my thing. In fact, if you're ever a guest at my home you'd be hard pressed to find any dessert anywhere. I blame my mother. Sweet, sweet Ladonna never really baked much either and when she did, cakes and cookies would sit on our kitchen counter uneated for days.

However the holidays have some sort of spell on me! I friggin LOVE dessert during celebrations. Thanksgiving? Gimmie all the sweet potato and pecan pie! Christmas? My gawd I can't stop eating sugar cookies. Right around Easter is when I have to have a carrot cake. I don't know if I'm a victim to clever marketing or I genuinely just need this cake during the spring time but either way come Easter Sunday there better be a carrot cake on display.

This year, due to the quarantine, Easter is going to look really different for a lot of us. Crowded brunches and dinner tables will be replaced with Zoom family gatherings and smaller celebrations as we do our part to try to lessen the virus’ reach. Whether you’re cooking for one or your whole household, this spicy cake will bring a level of joy and comfort to your life…if only for a moment.

Carrot cake is actually really, really easy to mess up. It can be too dry, have too much carrot or pecans and lack the appropriate amount of sweetness. Luckily for me (and you) legendary southern chef Edna Lewis made a foolproof recipe that I am sharing with you (are we besties now or what?!?!). This is the PERFECT carrot cake. It doesn't require an insane amount of ingredients and leaves you with a perfectly moist and sweet cake you'll be proud to either share with your family OR demolish solo dolo. It's your world!

Edna Lewis’s Carrot Cake

Edna Lewis’s Carrot Cake

Yield: 12-16 people
Author: Ryan Shepard
Prep time: 25 MinCook time: 1 H & 35 MTotal time: 2 Hour


For the cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted after measuring
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups peanut or vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups not-too-finely chopped pecans
  • Three 9-inch cake pans, lightly buttered and floured and coated with non-stick cooking spray
For the icing
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 (24 ounce) container of cream cheese, chilled
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans


  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Put the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and cocoa in a mixing bowl and whisk together to blend.
  2. Put the sugars in a large mixing bowl and whisk in the peanut oil. Then whisk in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla.
  3. When fully blended, add the flour mixture all at once, and mix just until smooth. Stir in the grated carrots and the pecans.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans.
  5. Drop each pan sharply onto the counter from a height of about 6 inches to remove any air pockets. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center of the layers springs back gently when touched. [It took me more like 30 – 35 minutes; I figured it was better they were a little more cooked than undercooked, so the cake wouldn’t fall apart.]
  6. Remove from the oven, and place on cooling racks until completely cooled.
  7. To make the frosting: Cut the butter into smallish pieces and place in the mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed just until the butter begins to become malleable, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add the cream cheese in pieces and mix until thoroughly blended. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and mix until blended. Increase mixer speed slightly, and continue mixing for 2 – 3 minutes, until the frosting becomes light and fluffy. Using a spatula, fold in the pecans.
  8. To assemble the cake: Place one of the cake layers, bottom side up, on a cake plate or pedestal. Spoon approximately a quarter of the frosting onto the layer, and spread it over evenly. Place a second layer, bottom side down, on top of the first, and spread with an equal amount of frosting. Place the final layer, bottom side down, on top of the others, and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Store in a cool but not refrigerated area until serving.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @ryannicoleshepard on instagram and hashtag it #brownsugarandbourbon
Created using The Recipes Generator

Enjoy! Xoxo.
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