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Carrot Cake with Lemon-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Posted Jul 25 2011 12:00am

Somewhere over the past six years, I became the official “birthday baker” of the lab. With 20+ coworkers, it means there’s always an excuse to bake a cake! Peanut butter and chocolate are definitely the favored flavors in the lab, but once in a while, someone picks something new and different and it’s the perfect opportunity to create a new recipe. I was quite pleased when someone requested a carrot cake, as I have (shockingly) never made one before. I looked through a few different recipes and then just decided to make one on a whim as I went. The benefit to creating your own recipe is tailoring it to your exact tastes: in this case, lots and lots of cinnamon, very heavy on the carrots, light on the nuts, and absolutely no pineapple whatsoever. Baking for my coworkers also means I have a built in recipe-testing panel, and it seems like they all approved of this original creation!

IMG_9784wtmk      IMG_9788wtmk

Carrot Cake
(a Sugar Scientist original recipe)


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 box (4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups packed shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cake flour, baking powder, pudding mix, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk together to blend.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time and blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half the dry ingredients, all the milk, and the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat each addition until just incorporated. Mix in carrots and pecans by hand.
  4. Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack, peel off the parchment, and cool completely before frosting.

Lemon-Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 10 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Beat together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add in lemon juice and cinnamon.
  2. Slowly incorporate powdered sugar. If frosting is too stiff, add in one tablespoon of milk.
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