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Home » A Carrot Cake to Celebrate: No Pineapple

A Carrot Cake to Celebrate: No Pineapple

This family recipe, A Carrot Cake to Celebrate, was always one of my mom’s favorites. Cream cheese frosting and chopped pecans enhance the flavor of the cake. Plenty of carrots are involved but there’s no pineapple in sight.

Carrot Cake

What is/was your Mom’s favorite cake?

Do you still make it?

As you can guess, this is my Mom’s favorite recipe. She always loved to eat it on her birthday.

Mom 93rd bday w carrot cake

My mom loves carrot cake so it’s the only excuse I need to record the family recipe–along with a few changes I can’t resist.

Recipe Inspiration

The original recipe comes from my sister Kay. She’s a true southern cook who has spent most of her adult life in Alabama. She is not afraid of a little sugar and fat to make things taste good. Her husband claims it is absolutely one of her tastiest creations.

The modifications previously mentioned are heavily influenced by Dorie Greenspan’s carrot cake as published in Baking, From My House to Yours. Changes are noted inside the parenthesis.

About the cream cheese icing…

Because it’s not quite as rich, I really like the second recipe for cream cheese icing. It’s based on a version printed in a recent issue of Cook’s Country magazine. However, it doesn’t make a lot, so consider doubling the recipe if you’re baking a layer cake and want to frost the sides too.

Sizing Down

The actual cake pictured above is a half recipe baked in 3 6-inch round pans. It’s the perfect size for our rather small family, leaving us with a piece or two for the birthday person to enjoy later.

Cutting the recipe in half is fairly simple as most of the ingredients call for 2 of whatever it is. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to email me.

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Layered Carrot Cake

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    Yield: 1 layer cake

    A Carrot Cake to Celebrate

    A Carrot Cake to Celebrate

    This is our family recipe for carrot cake with cream cheese icing.  A lighter version of cream cheese icing made with marshmallow creme is included.

    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 35 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes



    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons soda
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1-1/2 cup oil (1 cup)
    • 2 cups sugar (1-1/2 cup)
    • 4 large eggs
    • 3 cups grated carrots
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I use toasted pecans + 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries + 1 cup shredded coconut)

    Cream Cheese Icing:

    • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
    • 1 pound (3-1/2 cups) powdered sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    Cream Cheese Icing My Way:

    • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • 1-1/2 cups marshmallow cream
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar



    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare 3 9-inch round cake pans or 10 x 14-inch rectangular pan by spraying with vegetable oil/flour combination such as Baker's Joy or line the bottom of pans with wax paper or parchment paper (my preference).
    2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt.
    3. Combine oil and sugar in mixer bowl until smooth. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Mix in carrots and vanilla.
    4. Add dry ingredients and mix only until they disappear. Gently fold in nuts, fruit and coconut if using.
    5. Bake for 25-35 minutes rotating pans half way through baking time. After cooling for 5 minutes, turn out onto baking rack and allow to cool completely before icing.

    Cream Cheese Icing

    1. Mix cream cheese and butter till smooth and fluffy using an electric mixer. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.

    Cream Cheese Icing My Way

    1. Beat cream cheese, marshmallow cream and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat on low until smooth.

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    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 464Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 268mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 1gSugar: 34gProtein: 5g

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    Sunday 16th of October 2011

    This looks great. So did you divide all these amounts by 2, to make it in a 6 inch pan? I am making a cake in a 6 inch pan and 4 inch depth and looking to see how I need to modify the ingredients that I have for a 9 inch pan to 6 inch pan. Any tips will be appreciated.

    Corrie Anne

    Saturday 21st of May 2011

    Hooray! My fiance is going to love that one! I can't wait to try it out!


    Wednesday 11th of May 2011

    Hi again Paula, I was looking at your recipe for carrot cake. I was wondering if you had ever heard of chia seeds. You can take 1 T chia seeds add to 9T water, let sit for 5 mins and it becomes like a gel. With that gel you can substitute 1/2 of any baking recipe for the oil. So your carrot cake recipe that calls for 11/2c. of oil can be as good using 3/4c. oil and 3/4c. of chia gel. Try it out ! It is amazing. There are also other good benefits for using chia seeds. Added to yogurt it is amazing! Enjoy! Nadine


    Saturday 14th of May 2011

    Nadine, I have never tried chia seed. Do they add a certain texture? Kinda like flax seeds? Well, I will certainly give them a try. Thanks for stopping by.


    Monday 18th of April 2011

    I've only gotten into carrot cakes recently and have been searching for the best recipe, which so far is Cook's Illustrated's 2003 version. However, no matter what recipe I'm using, I always cut the oil in half and use buttermilk for the other half. No one can tell the difference and you automatically cut 1/2 the oil calories. The buttermilk has the added advantage of tenderizing the cake. Reducing fat wherever I can, adding fiber with whole grains, and subbing Nu Naturals stevia for part of the sugar are some of my skinny secrets. I'm the same size that I was in high school but it takes a lot more work now, as I'm 70.


    Monday 18th of April 2011

    Judy, you are my hero. The same size as in high school at 70--WOW! I'm finding it more work at 56 than just 5 years ago but doing a food blog might have something to do with it too. Love your hints for cutting calories in carrot cake. Thanks for sharing.

    Thelma Archer

    Monday 4th of October 2010

    O MY GOSH! I want to eat the whole cake! I love carrot cake, it is one of my favorites, I can't wait to try this recipie. I can't believe the cake image it looks like I could cut myself a slice or TWO! Thanks.