Carrot Cake

This carrot cake, made with puréed carrots, coconut, canned pineapple, and a vanilla-scented cream cheese frosting is a timeless classic.

A slice of classic carrot cake--two carrot cake layers filled and frosted with cream cheese frosting; on top are crushed walnuts

In the beginning, Sheila’s mother drove her famous carrot cakes down to Manhattan daily from her Connecticut kitchen. The cake became a Silver Palate classic; it may now become yours as well.–Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

Carrot Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Serves 10 to 12
5/5 - 3 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Silver Palate Cookbook: 25th Anniversary Edition cookbook

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  • For the cake
  • For the cream cheese frosting


Make the cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 9-inch springform pans and, if desired, line them with parchment paper cut to fit.

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in the walnuts, coconut, carrots, and pineapple.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Set on the center rack of the oven and bake until the edges have pulled away from the sides and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.

Cool on a cake rack for 3 hours. Remove the parchment, if using.

Make the frosting

Cream together the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.

Slowly sift in the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. The mixture should be free of lumps.

Stir in the vanilla, and lemon juice if desired.

Frost the cake

Fill and frost the cake with the Cream Cheese Frosting.

Print RecipeBuy the The Silver Palate Cookbook: 25th Anniversary Edition cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This was beyond the best carrot cake I have ever had. I have never put puréed carrots into a cake, but it was great. Very moist, not too sugary, light, and airy. This is my new go-to dessert.

Everything about this carrot cake is perfect—it's moist, flavorful, and, with the layers, fancier than a regular carrot snack cake. It was also reminiscent of the carrot pineapple muffins that my mum made when I was a kid. And it was that very same mum who dropped off a 10-pound bag of carrots a week ago with the words "good luck" and a smile. This is another recipe that I will make many more times—it comes together easily and tastes incredible. I shared it with coworkers, as well as my mum, and it went over a treat with requests for more.

I only have 1 springform pan so I used 2 regular pans lined with parchment instead. I did find that the amount of batter came right to the top of the pans so I would recommend using springform pans if you can.

I did find that the batter was very thick—almost like dough—and didn't seem like it would spread once poured into the pans. I added a small amount of the pineapple juice, about 2 tbsps, and that was enough to give it consistency more like cake batter.

The icing came together quickly; it only took about 10 minutes to get a smooth consistency. I did use the vanilla and lemon, the lemon was an especially nice addition that cut through the sweetness of the icing sugar.

There is almost nothing better than a good carrot cake. That said, I am really picky when it comes to carrot cake as I have my own recipe that's tried and true and never fails to be a crowd-pleaser. I decided to put this recipe to the test and compare. I definitely was attracted to the ease of putting this cake together.

I opted to weigh out my ingredients. I didn't have any difficulty finding the ingredients or assembling the batter. I found however that my cake was not done after the 27-35 minutes. I had to do a total of 45 minutes until set. My cake also fell slightly in the middle, however, this probably had to do more with my cell phone falling into the center of it at about 30 minutes. Cooking fail. The phone survived and the cake bounced back nicely.

The frosting was great! Not too sweet and a rich, thick, creamy consistency, and again, easy!

The pineapple added great moisture and I love good raisins in a carrot cake. The only thing I missed from my standby recipe was the lemon and orange zest. I think my next carrot cake will be a hybrid. I also am not a fan of the walnuts on top of the cake. I prefer them inside only.

All and all success!

It's so delicious. It's a classic carrot cake—moist and flavorful with walnuts that give it a little crunch and nuttiness. And, of course, the buttercream frosting. So it is a classic. But I had a few issues getting there.

The first hurdle was the pureed carrots. The recipe says drained pineapple but even after it was drained, I found a decent amount of liquid gathering in the bowl. Finally was the cooking time. The recipe says 50 minutes and check it with a cake tester. I followed the instructions and my cake tester came out clean. But the center of both cakes sunk and so when the cake was done, we had little pools of frosting in the center (not the worst thing in the world) and it looked like a waterfall when the cake was cut. I'm not sure if my batter was too moist or whether the 50 minutes should be closer to 55. But again, the cake was amazing. So totally worth of a Tester's Choice. The rest of my review below:
Hands-on time: Hard to say but probably an hour anyway

I used cake pans lined with parchment and buttered. That worked fine. I baked them for 50 minutes and the cake tester came out clean but the cakes really needed another few minutes. We did use the lemon juice in the frosting. Loved it.


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  1. This is the Silver Palate Carrot Cake recipe, exactly. A classic and beloved by cooks and their guests for literally decades. It was originally published in 1979. You should acknowledge the source of your recipe.

    1. Vera, if you take a look at whom we list as the authors, the cover of the cookbook, and the copyright line at the bottom of the recipe, and you’ll see Sheila, Julee, and the Silver Palate are all properly and prominently displayed and credited!

  2. Love this cake but it is really big……so I have successfully divided the recipe in half on several occasions and ended up with a majestically tall, two layer 6-inch cake that feeds a small crowd. My only adjustment is to decrease the oven temp a bit toward the end and often tent it with foil as this is a dense cake and I like to make sure it is cooked through before the sides or top get too well done. I usually use the full amount of icing so I can be generous with it. This is my favorite carrot cake recipe ever and is always well received by my crowd. Even at 6 inches I was able to serve 8 people with ample servings.

    1. Thanks, Ellen! Gorgeous cake! Thanks so much for taking the time to share this with us.

  3. Why does the picture have grated carrots in the cake when the recipe calls for puree? I’ve made this recipe several times and it’s never looked like that.

    1. Meredith, good catch! We opted for a new photo that was more contemporary. If you want a bit of texture like this, add 1/3 cup grated carrots to the batter.

    1. Hi Cindy, generally speaking in baking, you can use either (2) 9″ pans or a 9×13 pan. The 9×13 pan will take 5 to 10 less time to bake. This particular recipe calls for (2) 9″ springform pans so I’m reluctant to recommend conversion to a 9×13 as we did not test it that way.

    1. Hi Vivienne, it should take about 10 minutes longer but I would double check with a cake tester and look for visual clues like pulling away from the sides.

  4. how many times have you made this…i have made it several, and each time seems a little different. am i supposed to be not only draining the pineapple, but also squeezing out the excess liquid. sometimes, it is just a little wet in the middle, or am i just not baking it enough?

    1. sheryl, draining should be sufficient. But let it drain for a good amount of time, say 10 minutes, stirring several times.

      Also, do you have an oven thermometer? You want to make sure that your oven is correctly calibrated.

      And definitely bake the cake until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. It may take an extra 10 or so minutes. There are just some times when a baked good needs extra time.

  5. David – Can this cake be made without coconut? What adjustments/substitutions (if any) would need to be made? Thank you!

    1. Hi Laura, we have not tested this without coconut so I’m reluctant to say what may or may not work. Might I suggest that you try this version (perhaps without the coconut syrup and topping, if you are trying to avoid coconut)?

  6. Sometimes you just have to have carrot cake, nothing else, just big slices of carrot cake. I had walnuts that were finally dried to perfection and a giant bag of carrot from the farmers market…so many carrots that instead of pineapple I just added more grated carrots. That was the only change I made to this delicious recipe. This cake is even better the next day after sitting covered in the fridge (if it lasts that long!)

    A carrot cake, with a slice removed, covered in cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with walnuts

    1. Renee, in general, you can let cake layers cool, remove them from the pan, wrap them well in plastic wrap, and freeze them for up to a couple months and then let them thaw prior to assembling and frosting as a layer cake. However, because of the carrots and pineapple in carrot cake, I’m concerned that the moisture in the vegetable and fruit may result in a soggy texture after the cake’s been thawed. I think you could wrap it up and refrigerate it for a day or two at most if you need to make it ahead of time for a special occasion, but I wouldn’t freeze it.

    1. Sharon, it’s more than substituting ingredients for the flour. There’s a delicate balance that has to be struck to make up for what gluten-free ingredients can’t do that flour can. I think finding a good g-f carrot cake would be the best way to go, or check out our gluten-free banana bread, which is very popular.

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