Classic Carrot Cake #SundaySupper

My mom introduced me to a new dessert craze WAY back in the 1970’s. She and my dad had devoured slices of Classic Carrot Cake chock full of carrots, nuts and pineapple on a trip to St. Paul, then brought home the recipe to try at home.

Classic Carrot Cake | Dense and full of coconut, pecans and pineapple, then topped with decadent cream cheese frosting

My Love Affair with Classic Carrot Cake

My rendezvous with carrot cake began with one innocent bite. As a teen, I wasn’t sure about a dessert named after a vegetable. But my mom had turned us on to exotic fare (at least for Iowa) like paella, baklava, wontons, and more. My hesitancy only lasted only a brief second. Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting became my new favorite dessert.

Classic Carrot Cake | Dense and full of coconut, pecans and pineapple, then topped with decadent cream cheese frosting


Have Cake, Will Travel

One of the carrot cake recipes my mom tested on us was from the The New Basics Cookbook. It became the gold standard in my eyes. I’ve taken this cake to a retreat in Harbor Springs, Michigan, a massive Halloween party in Brown County, Indiana, a dear friend’s 50th birthday party and to the cardiac cath lab where Bill works. Whether I bake up a half batch in a 9 x 13 or go all out with this layered gem, it’s well loved by all those who indulge. To make those long trips, I freeze the cake and place it in a cooler for the trek. The recipients are always delighted I went to the extra effort. The pictured carrot cake stayed right in my fridge until I served it to our friends and family at our annual 4th of July cookout last night. A few lucky guests even took some slices home.

More Carrot Cake Recipes You’ll Love:

Classic Carrot Cake #SundaySupper

Serves 12 servings     adjust servings

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook



  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten slightly
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (plus more to garnish if desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1 1/3 cups pureed cooked carrots
  • 3/4 cup drained crushed pineapple


  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease two 9 inch cake pans; line with parchment. Grease parchment.
  2. Sift or whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat till well combined. Mix in nuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.
  3. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30-40 minutes (I have really heavy cake pans and mine take closer to one hour). Edges should pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted into center of cake should come out clean. Cool 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks. Cool about 3 hours before icing.
  4. To make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter till smooth. Sift powdered sugar into bowl and mix well till no lumps remain. Add vanilla and mix well.


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 891kcal Calories from fat 436
% Daily Value
Total Fat 48g 74%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Transfat 0g
Cholesterol 89mg 30%
Sodium 390mg 16%
Carbohydrate 111g 37%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 83g
Protein 7g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g
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Classic Carrot Cake | Dense and full of coconut, pecans and pineapple, then topped with decadent cream cheese frostingMore Fantastic Recipes That Travel from My Sunday Supper Friends

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  1. Your carrot cake has been around!! haha An all-time fave! Great travel tips!

  2. I love carrot cake too but not as much as my mother-in-law. She might eat it with her knife and wipe her face on the tablecloth but she’ll be ready for a second piece of cake. 🙂

  3. Hotly Spiced says:

    Very happy 4th of July to you. I am the same as you! My mother introduced me to the ‘new best thing’ in the early 80’s. It was love at first sight and a recipe a cooked so often it was memorised. I do love a moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Especially one with pineapple and pecan. And I used to put chopped pecans in the frosting as well! Beautiful cake, Liz xx

  4. Lynn@Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

    I wish I had this cake as my centerpiece for dinner today, now that would be great:@)

  5. Ah yes, such a classic cake. And Liz I have got to find out your secret for perfect slices.

  6. That is one very fine looking carrot cake. It’s so strange, my guys do not really like cake…I can make a cake and it will sit here until I toss most of it as they just aren’t “cake eaters” as they say. A pie will disappear in a couple of hours. I have no idea where cookies go but when I go to get one they are always gone. That said, Carrot Cake is the one cake they all love and will eat anytime anyplace. I think it is the standard for all cakes, a beautifully made carrot cake, and yours looks just perfect! Happy 4th Weekend…you would not believe the view of the fireworks from my living room, and best of all, no traffic getting home! lol It was like a private show right out my windows. I hope Izzy survived and wasn’t too afraid of fireworks going off, used to make our dogs just shake and shiver when they heard fireworks.

  7. Good idea to freeze the cake before traveling. That’s actually what momofuku does when shipping their cakes. Plus I wouldn’t want anything to happen to this beauty!

  8. Look amazing Lizzy!!
    I have to try this love this:)

  9. what a gorgeous cake! I’m loving the retro recipe too, but three cups of sugar??? Looks like it’s totally worth the splurg!

  10. Wow, look at all those yummy ingredients peaking out of the slice of cake. Now that’s what I call a fantastic carrot cake. 🙂

  11. My mom used to make carrot cake when I was growing up. Haven’t had one in years. Don’t tell but yours looks better.

  12. I love the way you pressed nuts into the cream cheese icing, LIz. Absolutely stunning!

  13. If that was the only cake left on the planet I would be happy, I adore carrot cake and yours looks top notch as always!!

  14. Carrot cake has always been Grumpy’s request for his birthday. He has an obvious love affair with this cake also 🙂

  15. Your carrot cake looks amazing with all the pecan nuts!

  16. What a cake, those towering layers look irresistible!

  17. From the first piece of carrot cake I ever had, I was in love! It’s my all time favorite! Yours is just beautiful! Great choice for food that travels!

  18. Carrot cake is my husband’s absolute favorite! I love making this and your cake turned out so beautifully!

  19. This looks gorgeous, as all your desserts always do. I love that you added crushed pineapple, that’s a fabulous idea. I will be trying that next time!

  20. The best carrot cakes have some crushed pineapple in them! Yours is gorgeous as per usual.

  21. A timeless classic.

  22. Beautiful Liz! I haven’t had carrot cake in a while so I’m over due!

  23. *dies* Carrot cake is my KRYPTONITE!! Love it

  24. Beautiful! Love carrot cake, and The New Basics Cookbook!

  25. Each time that I been in London, I looking for the parfait carrot cake ! Sometimes I found it and when you found its like heaven!!Yours look like this and the pineaple is a very good idea!!

  26. Terri Oliver Steffes says:

    I won! The Blogher pop up that comes from the bottom up kept interferring with my comment, but I figured out how to get rid of it! My sonin law loves carrot cake but he lives four hours away, now I can make it and take it! How do you cut your slices so neatly?

    • Ooh, sorry about that popup. Can you let me know how you got rid of it, so I can pass that along to other readers??? Thanks! As far as slicing goes, my first slices weren’t so nice, but once I put it back in the fridge, got it well chilled and cut immediately after pulling it out, it sliced perfectly. Also, using a serrated knife worked best.

  27. I totally share your love affair with carrot cake. This looks AMAZING and has me seriously craving a slice!

  28. What a delicious looking carrot cake!

  29. Lizzy,
    Carrot cake is a favorite at our house too. I don’t think ours looks as good as yours though.

  30. my 18 years old just mentioned that she wanted a good homemade carrot cake the other day! She loves to bake, I’m going to pass this recipe along to her!

  31. LOL. I’ve been strategizing for days figuring out how I can make a stop at Susie’s Cakes for a huge wedge of carrot cake!…Your looks equally divine…If you lived closer, I might be strategizing how I could pay a visit to you =)

    Anyway, I love, love the spirit of your adventurous mom and her desire to travel and experience the world via food =) Also, I can relate to the trepidation on the first intro to the cake (from my older sister.)

  32. The only cake that I will choose over chocolate cake is carrot cake. Be still my heart!!

  33. What a sweet story re your parents discovering carrot cake in St. Paul.

    I usually put grated carrot on top of my cake. The uninitiated look askance, but once they try it, they love it.

  34. I’ll take a sliver of cake with a triple side of frosting, please!

  35. Now that is what I call a stunning cake! Carrot cake will always have a special place for me it is just so tasty 😀


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