Georgia’s Carrot Cake

This recipe has about 200 ingre­di­ents and 800 steps. It’s worth it.

  • The Cake!
  • 1 14 cup veg­etable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. bak­ing powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. bak­ing soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lb. car­rots, peeled and grated
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • The Fill­ing!
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 14 cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 14 cup butter
  • 14 tea­spoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tsp. vanil­la extract
  • The Frost­ing!
  • 8 oz. soft­ened cream cheese
  • 1 cup but­ter, room tem­perature
  • 3 cups pow­dered sug­ar (or more until right consistency)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

The Cake!

Pre­heat oven to 325°.

Com­bine oil and sug­ar in mix­ing bowl. Beat well.

Sift togeth­er all dry ingre­di­ents. Mix half of the sift­ed dry ingre­di­ents into the oil and sugar.

Add remain­ing dry ingre­di­ents, alter­nat­ing with eggs, a bit at a time; make sure your last addi­tion is dry ingredients.

Fold in grat­ed car­rots and chopped pecans, by hand.

Pour into light­ly-oiled 10-inch tube pan (aka an angel food pan, not a Bundt pan).

Bake at 325° for about 1 hour and 10 min­utes. To check done­ness, touch sur­face of cake (gen­tly!). If it springs back and does­n’t stick to your fin­gers, it’s done.

The Filling!

Com­bine sug­ar and flour in a small heavy saucepan. Don’t heat it yet.

To avoid lumps, grad­u­al­ly stir in heavy cream.

Add but­ter and salt.

Cook over very low heat, stir­ring con­stant­ly, until it just starts to sim­mer a bit. Take your time! This can take a good half hour.

Let sim­mer 2 — 3 minutes.

Remove from heat. Cool until lukewarm.

Stir in nuts and vanil­la. Cool com­plete­ly, ide­al­ly overnight.

The Frosting!

Com­bine cream cheese, but­ter and vanil­la with mix­er.  Grad­u­al­ly add pow­dered sug­ar and beat until smooth.

Final Assembly!

Split cooled cake into three layers.

Spread fill­ing between the lay­ers (let the fill­ing warm to room tem­perature so it won’t man­gle the cake!)

Frost top and sides. 

Risin’ Like a BOSS!

I used to think bak­ing soda and bak­ing pow­der were interchangeable.

Short answer: They aren’t. Pay atten­tion and use whichev­er one a recipe calls for (and don’t get slop­py about the amount, either!). I ruined a few recipes before I got those fac­toids through my head.

Longer answer: They’re both leav­en­ers, along with yeast, which means they pro­duce car­bon diox­ide gas bub­bles that make your baked goods rise (your mojo might be risin’, by the way, but it is not a leavener).

Bak­ing soda needs to com­bine with some­thing acidic to get gassy: vine­gar, but­ter­milk, yogurt, lemon juice, etc. (That’s also why some­times a recipe calls for but­ter­milk, but says you can just mix some milk and vine­gar as a sub­sti­tute: The but­ter­milk is there to pro­vide some acid, not for its taste.)

Bak­ing pow­der, on the oth­er hand, already has an acid mixed in (corn­starch or cream of tar­tar, usu­al­ly), so it’s self-ris­ing. Most bak­ing pow­der is dou­ble-act­ing, mean­ing it ris­es when it gets wet, then ris­es again when it gets hot (wink wink nudge nudge saynomore!).

If you use too much bak­ing soda, or use bak­ing soda when you were sup­posed to use bak­ing pow­der, there won’t be enough acid to neu­tral­ize it, and your recipe will taste like Tums, except even nastier.

Some recipes, like this one, use both bak­ing soda and bak­ing pow­der. Why? Because some­times you need more lift, but you don’t want to add more acidic ingre­di­ents. The bak­ing pow­der pro­vides the addi­tion­al lift with­out affect­ing the taste.