Carrot Cake
Carrot Cake
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Prep: 30 min
Bake: 30 min
Yield: 1 (3-layer) 8-inch cake
Thought to be a modern version of a carrot "pudding" that was popular in Europe in the Middle Ages, the carrot cake has been an American favorite at least since George Washington purportedly enjoyed a slice at the end of the American Revolution, on the day the British left America. This homemade carrot cake is rich with nutty, spicy flavor and has a tender, moist crumb and delicious cream cheese frosting.


  • 2 1/4 sifted Swans Down® Cake Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with juices
  • Toasted pecans and shredded coconut, for garnish

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 ounces (2 packs) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 pound (1 box) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  1. Preheat oven 350℉; grease and line 3 (8-inch) cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. Make Cake: Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in large bowl; set aside.
  3. Mix applesauce, sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add to flour mixture. Mix in carrots, coconut, nuts and pineapple.
  4. Divide batter equally into prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in pans, then remove from pan onto wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Make Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk, and beat until smooth.
  6. Assemble Cake: Place first cake layer top side down on cake plate or cake round. Top with a dollop of frosting and spread evenly over top. Repeat with second layer. Add third layer and use remaining frosting to frost cake. Garnish with pecans and coconut and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
  • Millie Feliciano says:

    The favorite cake flour for my mother-in-law! She loved to use it.

  • Suzanne Fountain says:

    Can i make this without applesauce,pineapple juices and coconut?How much oil to replace applesauce?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Suzanne, It sounds like you may prefer our Swans Down Classic Carrot Cake recipe. We’ll be happy to email it to you. Happy Baking!

  • Paula says:

    My Mom made this carrot cake all of the time & I never seen her use the applesauce or coconut or pineapple juice. I am trying to figure out why the extra ingredients & would it not take away from the main attraction (carrots)?

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Paula, We love hearing from our Swans Down bakers! This is a modern version of the Swans Down Classic Carrot Cake recipe. We’ve had may happy bakers over the years comment on the different ways they prepare this recipe. The new ingredients were the ones that were mentioned the most. We found that the ingredients complimented each other nicely and added layers of wonderful flavors. We’ve sent a copy of the Classic recipe to your email but would love to hear feedback if you try this newer version. Happy Baking!

  • Maggie says:

    I’m wondering why there is no fat in this recipe. Is it just missing? Thanks!

    • Swans Down says:

      Hi Maggie, In this recipe oil or butter is replaced with the applesauce. The applesauce will also make the cake extra moist! Happy Baking!

  • Brenda says:

    I love swan downs.

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