Recipe and Tutorial: Tropical Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe is my absolute go-to recipe for all things carrot cake; its origin comes from a trusted recipe in my little More Food That Really Schmecks baking book by my Canadian home-baking heroine, Edna Staebler. I’ve fiddled around with it over the years, adding this and removing/altering that, until I developed what I consider to be the best carrot cake recipe out there!  It’s not oily, but it is moist and tender and incredibly flavourful, and it’s never failed me once (the four pillars on which I base all of my “tweaked until perfect” recipes).

This cake recipe is just the thing for those times when a vanilla or chocolate cake just won’t do; it’s a great recipe for cupcakes, layer cakes, sheet cakes, and even wedding cakes. You can add, substitute, or even omit several ingredients (as long as they’re replaced with something else), you can change the sugars and the spices around to suit your tastes, and you can even delay putting the cake batter in the oven for a couple of hours with no effect (though I don’t recommend it, as that means a couple extra hours you will be without NOMS IN YOUR FACE!)

So don’t delay! Get out that grater, turn it to the small holed side, and start grating up carrots for the yummiest method ever created to eat your fruits and vegetables!

Alicia’s Tropical Carrot Cake

Original Source courtesy of More Food That Really Schmecks, Edna Staebler
Yield: Two 8″ layers

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg OR mace
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, juice reserved
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained/patted dry


  • 1 cup toasted coconut (optional)
  • 18-24 walnut halves (optional)
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 8″ round cake pans with a circle of parchment in the bottom of the pan.
  2. With blender or stand mixer, combine all dry ingredients (including spices).
  3. Blend in oil; add eggs, carrots and pineapple, then vanilla.  Blend well, then stir in raisins by hand.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes, rotating and moving pans once during baking. Check for doneness in center of pans.
  5. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then de-pan layers, remove parchment, and allow to cool completely before icing.


Pineapple Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (1 pkg), softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 lb icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp reserved pineapple juice
Blend cream cheese and butter; slowly add icing sugar, vanilla and orange juice.  Ice only after cake is completely cold, or it will melt. Decorate as desired.

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