Super Moist Carrot Cake.

Make scrumptious carrot cake at home with this easy recipe. Super moist and super flavorful!

Super Moist Carrot Cake by sallysbakingaddiction.com

Everyone has their own idea about what makes a good cake.  Some like theirs light and airy, others like it dense and heavy.  Some like chocolate cake, vanilla cake, bundt cake, or funfetti cake. Others don’t care about the cake and it’s all about the frosting. :)

My dad’s favorite cake is carrot cake and it has been my mission to make the BEST carrot cake in the entire world for him. And well, for me too.

Confession: I like carrot cake more than I like funfetti!

My personal preference is to have a cake that is as moist as possible.  A carrot cake that is full of flavor and will melt in your mouth, without being mushy.  And PS: the word “moist” should not send you running for the hills.  It’s just a word!

The only carrot cake recipe you will ever need!

So how can you achieve a moist cake? Baking science ahead. #nerdalert

There are four main ingredients in cake recipes:  sugar, flour, eggs, and fat (in the form of oil, shortening, or butter). These four  ingredients have different purposes and effects on how your cake will bake, its texture, and how it will taste.

The structure of your cake is held together with the eggs and flour.  The flavor of your cake comes from the sugar and the fat.  The more sugar and fat you have in your cake, the more moist the cake will be.  However, do not go assuming that simply adding more sugar and more fat to your batter will produce a moist cake.  You have to maintain an equal amount of structure to hold up to the extra moisture you’re adding in.  Adding too much moisture and too little structure and you’ll end up with a cake that won’t set.

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

Baking a cake surely is a science – and also a mathematical equation of sorts.  Thankfully, I’ve found the perfectly balanced ratio of moisture and structure to produce one HECK of a moist carrot cake.

Be warned: you’re going to fall in love with this cake.

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

 You’re going to start with 1 cup of light brown sugar (or dark) and 3/4 cup of vegetable oil.  This carrot cake, my friends, is not a health food. Although, sometimes I like to convince myself otherwise since I am eating my veggies.

I tried this carrot cake once before a few weeks ago using white sugar.  There was nothing wrong using white sugar, but in my cookie baking experiences, I have learned that brown sugar yields a much softer and more moist product than white sugar does.  It provides the baked good with more body of flavor as well.  Plus, I love the taste of brown sugar/molasses.  Brown sugar is a winner today – light brown or dark brown will do. I used light brown because that is what I had on hand.

The fat used in this recipe is oil, not butter.  I have learned that oil produces a much softer, more moist cake crumb than butter would.  However, I adore the taste of butter so I still like to use it in my cake/cupcake recipes (depending on the other ingredients in said recipe).  With so much flavor from the spices, frosting, brown sugar, and sweet carrots – I knew I wouldn’t miss the taste of butter.

Along with the oil, I added some greek yogurt. Yogurt is a fantastic addition to cakes or cupcakes because it adds even MORE moisture to your finished baked product. You may use regular or greek yogurt here – vanilla or plain – nonfat or lowfat. Whichever is most convenient for you.

So we have 3 moisture-inducing ingredients so far (1) brown sugar, (2) oil, and (3) yogurt. Beat these all together with 3 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. This cake uses as many eggs as my ultra-fudgy brownies. You can imagine how dense and perfect this cake is!

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

 What’s next? The dry ingredients: 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 heaping teaspoons of cinnamon (LOVE the stuff), 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  The first time I made this cake, I used more flour.  I decided to try the cake again using as little flour as possible that I could get away with and still have the cake’s structure set in the oven. 2 cups is the magic number.  You may use a mixture of whole wheat and all-purpose flour, but the cake’s texture may not be as soft as mine. I suggest using strictly all-purpose.

The cinnamon and nutmeg are crucial to the cake’s taste.  Without an overpowering flavor like chocolate or pumpkin, for example, you really need those spices to give the cake that trademark “spice” taste that carrot cake has.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with a whisk or spatula, trying hard not to overmix the batter.  Let’s see, what’s next? Ahhh the carrots. Let’s not forget those babies. Literally.  I used baby carrots here.  I grated my own baby carrots – I used a little less than one 14 oz package to get the 2 cups of shredded baby carrots.  I used baby carrots only because they are more wet than regular carrots.  Feel free to use regular carrots since grating such small baby carrots may not be tolerated  by many! It wasn’t so bad though, I promise. :)

While grating, make sure the carrot shreds/pieces are extra fine. You don’t want huge chunks of carrots in your soft piece of cake. The finely shredded carrots soften inside the batter as the cake bakes, making the cake even more soft and moist.  So that is 4 moistening agents so far in this recipe! Have I convinced you yet?

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

 A good thing to know about my recipe:  the cake does not taste like carrots.  Carrots, a sweeter vegetable, act more as a sweetener in this recipe than a flavoring agent.  The brown sugar and spices mask the flavor of an actual carrot.

Fold the carrot shreds into the batter with a large spatula – no electric mixer is needed for this addition.  I added pecans to the cake batter because I cannot imagine carrot cake without them!  I used 3/4 cup of pecan pieces.  You could even add raisins as well, another traditional addition to carrot cake.  I was all out of raisins, so I only used pecans. The pecans do not stay crunchy inside the baked cake – they soften up, but still provide a nice texture against the cake’s crumb.

Pour the cake into a round 9 or 10 inch springform pan. I found baking the cake in a springform pan, rather than a regular circle of square baking pan was much easier.  I highly recommend a spring form pan for this recipe.  Bake the cake at 350F for 32-38 minutes.

Wasn’t that easy?  Trust me, this cake is SUCH a breeze to make!

The best homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Super-moist and easy!

Now what would carrot cake be without the iconic cream cheese frosting swirled on top? I went a little heavy handed on the cream cheese frosting because I love it so much paired with the spice carrot cake.  Even though I adore frosting so much, this is the kind of cake that probably wouldn’t even need it. I can’t believe I’m saying that!  But honestly, this cake is so flavorful and moist on its own that it doesn’t even need frosting.

But let’s be serious. Frosting and I are two peas in a pod. It’s actually quite easy to make: 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 1/2 cup of softened butter, 2-2.5 cups of powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.  I strongly urge you to use heavy cream here instead of milk or half-and-half – it will produce the thickest and creamiest frosting ever!

Frosting the cake is a… piece of cake. Just plop it onto the center of the cake and swirl it around. There is a lot of frosting, so don’t be shy about layering it on nice and thick. I opted out of frosting the sides of the cake because it is SO much easier to just frost the top.  Save yourself the time! I decorated mine with some pecans, but feel free to use coconut, raisins, or even more shredded carrots. Decorating the cake is almost as fun as eating it. *Almost.

Carrot cake, like banana bread, tastes best the next day after the flavors have settled and have gotten friendly with one another. It is also more moist on the 2nd day as well.  Sorry for saying moist so much in this post, but I truly am trying to get a point across!

So many readers call this the best carrot cake recipe ever! And it's so easy to make.

This is truly the best carrot cake that I’ve ever had. The frosting doesn’t taste fake like I’ve had in bakeries before.  The cake doesn’t necessarily taste heavy either; it is just very dense, like the best piece of banana bread you’ve ever had.  The sweet spice cake combined with the tangy cream cheese frosting is out of this world. Each bite will melt in your mouth and I was sad to see the cake end!

And again… don’t worry! You will not feel like you’re eating vegetables. Now if someone could make carrots taste like cake, life would be perfect.

 

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Super-Moist Carrot Cake

Makes 8-10 slices. Carrot cake tastes best the next day after the flavors have settled and have gotten friendly with one another. It is also more moist on the 2nd day as well.

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup (200 grams) light brown sugar, packed (or dark brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil, or canola oil)
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or vanilla)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups (260 grams) very finely grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup pecan pieces

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces (224 grams) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2-2.5 cups (240 - 300 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream (see note for substitutions)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoons salt, or as needed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9 or 10inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. I do not recommend a regular circle or square pan, as the cake may rise above. Set aside.

Set out the cream cheese for the frosting so it may soften as you make the cake batter.

Make the carrot cake: In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed, combine the brown sugar and oil. Beat in the yogurt until fully combined - about 60 seconds. Mixture will be gritty and thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. With a spatula, manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all flour pockets are gone - do not overmix. Fold in the finely shredded carrots and pecan pieces. Pour or spoon batter into prepared springform pan.

Bake cake for 32-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, which will dry out cake. Check the cake at 30 minutes, then again at 32. My cake took exactly 34 minutes. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting: beat the softened cream cheese and butter together on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until soft, creamy, and combined thoroughly. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until thick and combined. Add 2 Tablespoons heavy cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 more minutes. Add more powdered sugar until desired thickness is reached. Add salt to taste. I used 1/8 teaspoon to cut the sweetness.

Store cake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.

Additional Notes:

*I strongly suggest using heavy cream in the cream cheese frosting recipe. Using milk or half-and-half will produce a less creamy and thinner frosting.

*If you'd like to add raisins to the batter, I suggest using 2/3 cup of raisins and 2/3 cup of chopped pecans. If you'd like to only use raisins, I suggest 3/4 cup of raisins.

*This recipe also can be made into 12 cupcakes. Bake time is 17-18 minutes.

*Interested in making a layer cake? Try my Favorite (Layer!) Carrot Cake recipe.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

 

Dry or hard baked goods have no place in my kitchen.

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Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

  

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Raspberry Swirl Sweet Rolls

So incredibly soft and each raspberry-filled doughy bite will melt in your mouth.

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Caramel Apple-Upside Down Cake

Besides today’s cake recipe, this is the most moist cake in the entire world. So buttery, so flavorful, loaded with caramel, and decorated with juicy apples.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

 

 

   

559 Responses to “Super Moist Carrot Cake.”

  1. #
    301
    jessicasposted February 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Hi sally,
    I was wondering could I use cake flour instead of all purpose flour? Also would a cookie butter cupcake recipe be in the near future?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 26th, 2015 at 9:41 am

      Cake flour should be fine– I would add a Tablespoon or two extra. No need to sift it. Unsure about a cookie butter cupcake recipe. But it’s a great idea!

      Reply

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    Ruth Angelaposted February 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Hi sally! I would like to know if the nutmeg is required. I cant find one in the supermarket. what can i use to replace it? Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 26th, 2015 at 6:45 pm

      Hi Ruth, simply add a little more cinnamon in its place.

      Reply

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    Amandaposted February 28, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Hi Sally,

    I have baked this wonderful cake twice and it tastes amazing but it always turns out so flat…it looks more like a tart than a cake, what could I be doing wrong?

    Thanks so much,

    Amanda xxx

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on February 28th, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Is your baking soda fresh? I replace mine every 3 months.

      Reply

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    Laraynaposted March 3, 2015 at 1:45 am

    How thick does your batter usually look when you’re finished mixing all ingredients? I followed every measurement and mine was a very thick, non pour able mixture. It came out okay but could definitely be more moist.

    Reply

    • Susanreplied on March 6th, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      Larayna-
      I just came back to this page after putting my cake in the oven. It was NOT pourable at all, and I didn’t get it! I followed directions to the t. SO, I guess it will come out fine, but I agree, it needs more…of something. Buttermilk?

      Reply

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    stephanieposted March 4, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Oh…this looks excellent. I came here looking for carrot cake blondies (with frosting!) but this will do! Can I put in a request for the blondies? ;)

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 5th, 2015 at 6:39 am

      Let me know if you try this cake Stephanie! Carrot cake blondies sound so good.

      Reply

  6. #
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    Susanposted March 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    My cake is in the oven. It wasn’t pourable at all! Thick like a sticky biscuit. I double checked my measures, and its to the recipe, definitely! Hope it comes out ok!

    Reply

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    Leslieposted March 7, 2015 at 8:15 am

    You cannot beat this carrot cake recipe! It’s one of our favorites and we make it every year for Easter. Thank you for the recipe Sally. We have also made the following recipes from your blog:

    Red velvet cupcakes
    Pineapple upside down cake
    Lemon blueberry cake
    Cheesy garlic breadsticks
    Cinnamon almond toffee
    Soft pretzel bites
    Classic peanut butter cookies

    I love the variety you have! Thank you for sharing your recipes with the world. Yours is my favorite blog.

    Reply

  8. #
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    SaraHposted March 10, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    I made this tonight and it didn’t go well. :-( Did everything exactly as the recipe says but added a little extra flour because I’m at a high altitude. I baked for 36 minutes and about 60% of the cake wasn’t done. Such a bummer. I didn’t find out until after I cut into the cake to serve it. The toothpick looked clean when I did the test. Not sure what I should have done differently but I don’t think I’ll try again.

    Reply

    • Catereplied on March 12th, 2015 at 10:38 pm

      I had the same problem. Mine took well over an hour before the middle was done. I am hope it does not taste dried out. Very frustrating

      Reply

  9. #
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    Hafsahposted March 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    As usual another great recipe but i had some trouble with the icing. I followed the instructions but for some reason the frosting looked curdled. I would be very grateful if you could let me know why this might have happened. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 11th, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Hafsah. What brand cream cheese did you use? Was it brick-style or cream cheese spread? And was it cold at all? Did you beat it with the butter for at least 2 minutes prior to adding the remaining ingredients?

      Reply

      • Hafsahreplied on March 20th, 2015 at 7:18 am

        Thank you sally for getting back to me. Being from the UK I used philadelphia cream cheese & left the cheese out at room temperature for over an hour & yes did beat it with the butter for more than two minutes prior to adding the remaining ingredients.
        Another quick question when your cake recipes mention yoghurt should it be at room temperature or straight from the fridge before using?

  10. #
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    Jennaposted March 13, 2015 at 10:32 am

    As usual, another great recipe from you Sally! Mine took 36 minutes in the oven. The cake was moist and delicious, but the frosting was my favorite part! I can see myself making this cake often this spring. Thanks sally!

    PS I also love that apple upside down cake at the bottom!

    Reply

  11. #
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    Betsyposted March 13, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    This may be just what I’m looking for! Super moist carrot cake :)

    Reply

  12. #
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    celeposted March 14, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I used this recipe as a base and I did some alterations. amazing! thank you for sharing!!

    Reply

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    Taraposted March 14, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I made this today and it was great! I didn’t have any heavy cream on hand, so I used the frosting recipe for the carrot cupcakes in your cookbook, which did not require heavy cream.

    Reply

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    Kathy Oricchioposted March 16, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Is there any way I can substitute something else for the yogurt? Thank you for what sounds like the Carrot Cake I remember as a child: Moist, Not TOO Sweet, Firm and Flavorful. Can’t wait to try it!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 16th, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Buttermilk would be the best option.

      Reply

  15. #
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    Megposted March 18, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Yum! This is a very rich and delicious recipe. I used sour cream instead of yogurt, and I was lazy and used the food processor to shred the carrots. All was okay despite my shortcuts. I would recommend putting the cake/cupcakes in the fridge after icing to let the icing set. I made cupcakes, and the icing was better when chilled.

    Reply

  16. #
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    Patti faustiniposted March 20, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Love your recipes. I want to use this as a loaf. What size pan and are there any alterations to the ingredients? Using for an office function and a loaf is more impressive than a flat cake and easier to cut.
    Thank you

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 20th, 2015 at 10:50 am

      This recipe works wonderfully in a 9×5 loaf pan. Fill it 2/3 of the way full. Any extra batter, make a couple cupcakes (20 minute bake time for cupcakes). I am unsure of the bake time for the loaf.

      Reply

  17. #
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    karenposted March 21, 2015 at 2:05 am

    I made this but used coconut cream instead of yogurt and some almond meal instead of the peacans because it was for my daughters 1st b-day and i made 2 and froze them a week before. I chucked it in the oven on the day and made a coconut icing and OMG i ate the rest of the cake the next day.
    Wanted to say thanks for the recipe! Everyone was impressed for once. ☺☺☺

    Reply

  18. #
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    jessicaposted March 23, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Hi sally,
    I was planning to make this recipe as cupcakes. However, I see you’ve posted a new recipe for a carrot cake. which recipe do you recommend for cupcakes?I’ve already measured the dry ingredients(doubled) for this recipe for future use,hoping to get least 2 dozen cupcakes. Do you know if these cupcakes rise tall like your triple salted caramel cupcakes? Should I fill them 1/2 way vs 3/4?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 23rd, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Jessica! You can make this recipe into cupcakes, yes. To be honest, either recipe makes wonderful cupcakes. You will get close to 30 cupcakes doubling this recipe. Fill them 2/3 full.

      Reply

  19. #
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    Gracieposted March 23, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Hi Sally, I love all of your recipes so much! I had a question though. Does the cake absolutely have to be bake in a springform pan? I would also like to double the recipe to make it a double layer cake would that be ok?

    Thank you,Gracie

    Reply

  20. #
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    Sian Carlssonposted March 24, 2015 at 3:12 am

    Wow Sally you are not exaggerating when you say its super moist! My oven temperature was too high so it got slightly burnt on the edges but after I iced it and cut a slice out I found the cake was still super moist and soft inside!! Love your work :-)

    Reply

  21. #
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    Jennyposted March 24, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Hi Sally,
    I was wondering if you knew if this recipe would work in a mini cupcake pan? I want to bring them for my family Easter dinner and thought the minis would be nice because often you don’t have much room left after turkey and ham dinner! We also have a lot of kids so thought that they would work well for them too. Anyways I would love to hear what you think.
    Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 24th, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Absolutely Jenny. I’m unsure of the bake time. I’d say around 8-11 minutes.

      Reply

      • Jennyreplied on March 27th, 2015 at 2:36 am

        Thanks so much!
        I ended up making a double batch of the regular sized cupcakes for my boyfriends birthday tomorrow and I tested out some minis as well… I baked them for 9 minutes and they turned out perfect :)

  22. #
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    Mariamposted March 25, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    when doubling the recipe, do I need to use 6 eggs? Or just five?

    Reply

  23. #
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    megposted March 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks Sally for this wonderful recipe. It was indeed moist and delicious. though i had trouble with the baking time but i guess it was the oven i used but all in all, thats just how i want it to be. thanks again.

    Reply

  24. #
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    Helen Chuposted March 30, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    Hey sally, what’s the difference between this and your new carrot cake recipe?

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on March 30th, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      Helen, though the recipes are slightly different, I truly can’t tell a huge taste difference. I added ginger to the other cake because I had carrot cake with ginger in it a year or two ago and loved it. Besides that, they taste pretty similar.

      Reply

  25. #
    325
    Lorene Garnierposted April 2, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Do you think this cake would be dense enough to “build” an Easter bunny cake with? It involves cutting it in several pieces and holding it together with frosting.

    Thank you!!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 3rd, 2015 at 8:26 am

      That should work. Sounds cute!

      Reply

  26. #
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    Joyceposted April 4, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I want to make this cake today but have no yogurt. What can I substitute for the yogurt. Thanks

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 4th, 2015 at 4:52 pm

      Sour cream works– or even buttermilk.

      Reply

  27. #
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    Ciaraposted April 4, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Sally. This cake. Is amazing. I’m impressed with this recipe and equally impressed with my execution lol. I just made it tomorrow for Easter and I accidently ate a huge slice. I almost regret putting icing on! I want to adapt this for a healthy breakfast muffin next! Thanks for sharing!!

    Reply

  28. #
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    Janineposted April 6, 2015 at 10:59 am

    THanks so much Sally for sharing your recipes…this carrot cake was awesome….I made it into cupcakes for a treat this Easter….and it was a HUGE hit…can’t wait to make something else probably chocolate….i absolutely luv chocolate : )

    Reply

  29. #
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    Rebaposted April 14, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Sally you’re amazing!! THIS is amazing!!!! Wow!! Xoxo Everyone loves this

    Reply

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    maria feposted April 17, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    i made this today, for my sister, and it was amazing, thank you…. love your blog…

    Reply

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    Melissaposted April 22, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Have you ever added crushed pineapple to this cake? How would this affect the cake? I like a less dense cake. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Sallyreplied on April 23rd, 2015 at 6:10 am

      Hi Melissa. Some readers have told me that they use 1.5 cups shredded carrots and 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup crushed pineapple. The bake is slightly longer and they seem to love it. I have never tried it this way before though.

      Reply

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