I cannot make carrot cake. Help.

Easter Sunday, and after supervising the egg hunt and putting a dozen real ones on to hard-boil for dyeing, I whip up a scratch carrot cake. Here is the recipe. Four and a half stars, right? Awesome!

Not awesome. The cakes come out fried at the edges and sunken in the middles … and when I try to de-pan them (despite using the nonstick routine that works for every single other thing I ever bake), they stick, then fall to pieces.

The cake is greasy to the touch, too. So gross. Eeeeuuucch.

This has been the story every time I’ve tried to make carrot cake: we end up having carrot cake trifle.

Please, someone teach me how to do this the right way.

I’ve made this twice. The first time it depanned nicely, the second time…well, I had to get creative with the frosting.

I will make it again…it has been demanded of me. I think instead of Pam I’m going to use canola oil and a paper towel. IIRC, that’s what I did the first time.

Your recipe seems fine. Are you weighing or doing volume measurements for the major ingredients? Weighing is preferred. Are your leaveners fresh? Toss 'em after a year, get new ones, and highlight the expiration dates. How do you grease your cake pans? Use a solid shortening, such as butter, margarine or Crisco. Oils and oil sprays sometimes don’t release the cake as easily as they should. Make sure your pans are lined with waxed paper or baking parchment on the bottoms to help with the release.

Perhaps you are not baking your layers long enough? Maybe your oven temperature is too low, or erratic, check it with a thermometer. Also, bake your layers side by side, not one on top of the other. Switch them around about halfway through the baking time(be quick as a bunny)

Try this trick: beat the eggs in the mixer bowl first, about one minute. Add the sugar slowly, beat till creamy. Add the oil(I recommend Crisco oil) VERY slowly in a thin stream, as if you were making mayonnaise. Next the sifted dry ingredients, about a 1/2 cup at a time. Then the grated carrot(make sure they are medium-ground on a box grater or in a food processor, using the steel blade, no long shreds please) Finally the nuts, raisins, whatever. Divide the batter exactly, weigh it if you have to. Or, bake all the batter in a tube pan, the central core will help the overly-moist batter bake thoroughly. Cool layers for 20 minutes, tube pan about 30.

I’ve been using my same recipe and directions for 50 years, and have never had a failure.

Here’s the situation. You are behind the bar and a bunch of bimbos come up and say they want shots, but they can’t make up their minds. “I have just the thing!” you exclaim.

equal parts:
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Butterscotch schnapps

Chilled, shaken, strained into either shot glasses or small rocks glasses

BAM, a round of carrot cakes. Chicks love 'em. Made a ton of $$$ tips from them. They are super sweet so you can’t really drink them all night, but damn if they don’t taste just like a carrot cake.

Following on snfaulkner, maybe if you got your guests liquored up before serving it. Or high. It’s greasy, it’s sweet–what stoner could resist?

FTR, it sounds like every cake with fruit Goodie zone ever made. Completely inedible, but she keeps making them and wondering why there are leftovers and why they don’t get eaten.

Do you care to share that recipe? I don’t have the liqueurs **snfaulkner **lists, and I’m probably not allowed to serve that to my five year old, anyway.

I use this simple recipe and it’s great. Of course, a turd would be great with enough cream cheese frosting.

**Carrot Cake
Preheat oven to 325

1 c flour
1 c sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
2 sm jars of carrot baby food

Mix all ingredients together and pour into greased and floured 8" x 8" pan. Bake at 325 for 30 to 45 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 c butter
3 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c powdered sugar
cream together butter, cream cheese and vanilla. add powdered sugar, mix until light and fluffy.


Who cares how the cake came out!? The only point of carrot cake is as an excuse for eating cream cheese frosting.

Have you checked the temperature of your oven? Some of the symptoms suggest it may be running cool.

I hesitate to ask, but since I don’t know how much experience you have as a baker: Are you preheating the oven before putting the cake in?

Exactly. So my recipe is to mix one part driving to the bakery with one part buying one.

I have a reasonable amount of baking experience–the idea of making a jelly roll makes me tired, but I can usually do layer cakes in my sleep. Yes, I preheated the oven before putting the cake in. This oven is new-ish to me (we moved here in July), but it generally runs a tad hot. I haven’t borrowed my husband’s thermocouple yet, though.

It seems to me that the recipe is problematic. It creates a heavy, sticky cake that inevitably tears itself apart when you try to get it out of the pan. I have banana bread and zucchini bread recipes that are no problem at all. Maybe I should just make zucchini bread and substitute shredded carrots.

How do you grease the pan? It might help to both grease and flour it. You could also try a non-stick spray with flour in it, like Pam baking spray.

In that spirit, I share my cream cheese frosting recipe, which I call “1-1-1-1” because that’s all you have to remember:

1 box confectioner’s sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 large block cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla (or 2, but then you have to remember another number)

Whir in the food processor. Leftovers can be frozen, because there will always be instances when some cream cheese frosting is just what you need.

That is precisely what I used. In nonstick pans, no less.

Have you considered trying a different pan? I have a fresh peach cake I make that comes out great in a clear glass 13 x 9" cake pan, but does not perform properly in either my dark glass cake pan or my metal cake pan. I have no idea why. I just know that it works that way.

Maybe it’s time to abandon this recipe and try a different one. A cake that sticks to a non-stick pan coated with Pam baking spray might be beyond hope.

I think there’s an unbelievable amount of oil in that recipe especially coupled with 3 cups of carrots.

My only other thought is did you flour the baking pan? I find cakes especially need to be floured if you want them to turn out nicely.

That doesn’t seem too far off a basic recipe. The one in my Joy of Cooking (which I’ve used before) calls for 2/3 cup oil for 1 1/2 cups carrots and 1 cup flour. This one is 1 1/4 cup oil for 3 cups carrots and 2 cups flour. If I have time today, I’ll try the OP’s recipe and see how it comes out over here.

This is my best guess at the moment. As I said, I make a lot of banana and zucchini bread that always releases just fine–and has a similar sort of structure, if you know what I mean. But I make it in heavy ceramic pans–the Emile Henry ones.

Next time I try carrot cake … if there IS a next time, because previous posters are right that bought carrot cake can be damn good … I will try it in those instead of my regular cake pans.

Hey there, professional Baker here. A few things:
[li]There is too much oil in that recipe. That’s why the cake is dense and collapsed in the middle.[/li][li]I prefer to use parchment paper and lots of spray on top of the parchment.[/li][li]I use two cookie sheets at home for the layers, filling them about 3/4 full. I spray the heck out of the sides. You’d have to double the recipe, probably. I’m not sure.[/li][li]I would replace that 1 1/4 cups of Oil with 1/2 cup of Oil and 3/4 cup milk.[/li][li]That’s a lot of carrots, too - they weigh the batter down. You could reduce the carrots by 1 cup and still be fine.[/li][li]For flavor, increase the cinnamon to 1 Tablespoon and add 1/2 Tablespoon of ginger. I also prefer Almond Milk if I’ve got it.[/li][li]I suspect you know this already, but the cake has to cool completely before de-panning. I always cool then freeze the cake the day before. Working with a frozen cake is MUCH easier. I can manhandle that thing without worrying.[/li][/ul]

Best of luck!