Finding a really great classic carrot cake in the supermarket is difficult. The solution is to make my own classic small carrot cake recipe which is always moist and delicious. If you are looking for a double-layer 6-inch carrot cake made from scratch with a delicious cream cheese frosting, read on!
Simple ingredients you probably already have in the fridge and pantry.
- I use all-purpose flour.
- A mix of granulated and brown sugar is used in the cake batter for the perfect mellow sweetness.
- Baking soda and baking soda are used to give the cake its rise.
- I use a fine kosher salt.
- Cinnamon and Vanilla paste or extract give the cake and frosting that delicious flavor. I like my carrot cake a little under-spiced and for this reason, I don't add allspice or nutmeg.
- It's the carrots (about 6) that make the cake so tasty. I use a food processor for ease but you can also grate by hand. You want finely grated carrots to mix well in the batter and cook properly.
- Vegetable oil
- Eggs make the cake light and airy and hold everything together.
- Cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, and vanilla extract are mixed to create a smooth and creamy frosting.
- sometimes raisins are added to carrot cake recipes, however, I prefer to use currants and have also used cranberries.
- walnuts or pecans give the cake a pleasant crunch.
How to Make A Small Carrot Cake from Scratch
Preparing the Carrot Cake Batter
In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Next add the carrots, eggs, and oil. Beat with a hand mixer for about 2 minutes on the low setting to get everything mixed up then fold in the chopped nuts, raisins, or currants.
One of the things that make my recipe a bit different from most others is I don't use nutmeg or allspice, I prefer the flavor of just using cinnamon. My Carrot cakes in my opinion, are the best ever! But, most certainly is NOT low fat or low calorie.
The most labor-intensive part of this recipe is grating the carrots. To quickly grate the carrots, use a small food processor, the prep time listed is based on this method.
The dried fruit needs to be moist, if the dried fruit is well, too dry, it’s a good idea to soak them in hot water for a couple of minutes before adding to the batter.
Preparing to Bake
Cakes pans should be well buttered and floured. A moist cake like this one will stick if the pans are not floured.
Divide the cake batter between the 6-inch cake pans and cook on the middle rack for about 40 minutes. Halfway through the baking, rotate the pans in the oven.
Check your cakes for doneness, I use a thin metal cake tester but a small knife inserted into the middle that comes out clean also works well. You'll see that when the cake is done it will just begin to come away from the edges of the cake pan.
When the cakes are done set aside and let cool for about 10-15 minutes before turning the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Next, wait and don’t do anything until the cakes are cooled down.
Time to Make the Cream Cheese Frosting
Frosting the Carrot Cake
In a large bowl beat the cream cheese, butter until creamy with a hand mixer on medium-low until well combined. Next gradually add in the sugar, ½ cup at a time, and beat until the frosting is smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and mix until combined, also lemon extract works well if you prefer a bit of a lemony flavor.
If the bottom layer of the cake is domed a bit, just take a sharp knife and slice off enough off the tops to even out the cake.
Frost the top and sides of the bottom layer then place the top layer on and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting. An offset spatula works wonders and makes it easy to get a nice even layer of frosting on the cake.
Ready to eat in 1 hour 20 minutes which includes the chill time.
Serving the Carrot Cake
The carrot cake is ready to serve when the frosting is set. To set just chill the frosted cake in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. Personally, I like a more chilled carrot cake so will chill for about an hour before serving. It can also be served at room temperature and has a shelf life of 2 days. The cake is small, so it will most likely be gobbled up way before that time.
The cake is perfect on its own, or you can serve it with a scoop of Lemon ice cream or Gelato.
Storing the Cake
If you have any leftover, the covered cake can be stored at room temperature for 2 days. To freeze the frosted cake, set in freezer uncovered, then when completely frozen, wrap tightly for an airtight seal. The wrapped cake will last for about a month in the freezer. To serve, defrost the wrapped cake overnight in the refrigerator.
Make Ahead Tip
If you're making the cake ahead, wrap the unfrosted cake layers tightly in plastic wrap, use 2-3 layers to ensure you have a nice tight seal. The cake can be frozen for up to one month. When ready to use, defrost completely before frosting.
Try the recipe and let me know if you agree that this is the BEST ever small carrot cake recipe!
Another one of my favorites are these tasty little apple Bundt cakes