Layered Carrot Cake Recipe
This layered carrot cake recipe is a slight spin on a classic carrot cake. It is 3 layers of moist cake bursting with warm spices. The cake is filled and frosted with brown butter frosting and a caramel drip. You won’t want to stop at one piece!Jump to Recipe
WHY WE LOVE THIS EASY CARROT CAKE RECIPE
Carrot Cake can be such an underrated cake flavor, until you have found your go to recipe! This layered carrot cake recipe is bursting with warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The freshly grated carrots adds additional moisture and sweetness to the cake. Not to mention, a slight beautiful orange hue.
Our recipe calls for buttermilk. We also tested it by swapping with Eagle Brand Milk Sweetened Condensed Milk in the cake as well as in the frosting if you prefer a more traditional taste with milk. Buttermilk adds a slight tang to the cake and added moisture. The swap with Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk really allowed the carrots and spices to shine!
Both variations can be found in the recipe card.
The buttercream is a Brown Butter Frosting but you can also try with a Classic Cream Cheese Frosting!
This post is sponsored by Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk, but all opinions are my own.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST CARROT CAKE
A layered cake can feel intimidating to make but follow these tips and you are sure to make the perfect cake every time!
- Use organic carrots- using organic whole carrots and freshly grating them ensures optimal freshness and sweetness. Carrots are full of moisture, which is gladly welcomed in this cake recipe. Organic is not necessary but suggested for the best quality carrot cake.
- Use room temperature ingredients- Set eggs to sit a room temperature for 30 minutes before baking or in a bowl with warm water for 5-10 minutes.
- Measure flour accurately- Always scoop flour with a spoon into measuring cup and level off with a knife for the most accurate measurement (unless you have scale at home). Otherwise you may have a cake that is too dense. Tips on how to properly measure flour- Instagram Reel videos!
- Missing a spice, no problem! If you are missing nutmeg or ginger, substitute by adding 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.
- Make sure your baking powder/baking soda is not expired- Baking Soda and Baking Powder can expire within 5-6 months so I always write the date I open the box. This may impact your cake from rising properly!
- Use a neutral oil- grapeseed oil is the most neutral oil and can withstand high temperatures, which is why we use this in all of our bakes. Another great option is vegetable oil.
- Ensuring the cake doesn’t stick to the cake pan- We have a 10 second video on IG showing the best way to get those cakes out! Spray with oil, line with a parchment round, spray with oil and lightly dust with flour.
HOW TO MAKE THE CAKE AND FROSTING AHEAD OF TIME
If you are planning ahead or just don’t have the time to bake and frost the cake within the day you plan on serving, then follow the baking timelines below!
- If making the cake more than 2 days before you plan on serving: Bake the cake layers and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack. Wrap each layer of the cake in plastic wrap (twice) then foil and place in a freezer ziplock bag. Store flat in the freezer. Cake can be made 3 weeks in advance.
- Take cake out of the freezer the day before you serve and assemble and frost cake within 24 hours.
- Making the frosting in advance: Frosting can be made 1 week in advance and stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Take frosting out of the refrigerator for 1-2 hours, or until it reaches room temperature. In a stand mixer, re-whip the frosting until light and airy. Frosting should be spreadable.
- Frosting can also be stored in the freezer for 1 month in an airtight container. Take frosting out of freezer 24 hours before using to thaw in the refrigerator and re-whip in a stand mixer until light and airy. Frost Cake
STORING THE CAKE
This carrot cake recipe is frosted with a stable buttercream, which means it can sit at room temperature for up to 3 days. The best way to store the cake at room temperature is in a cake box or or cake storage container.
Placing cake in the refrigerator can actually pull out moisture and also pick up any odors that are present from other food. If placing in the refrigerator, it is recommended to store in a cake box or cake storage container.
The cake is best served at room temperatures- take the cake out of the refrigerator up to 2 hours before serving.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
Assembling a layered cake doesn’t have to be complicated or require any special equipment. We have several short Reel Videos on IG that show you how to assemble a layered cake! Check them out here:
DECORATING A NAKED CAKE
This cake has a beautiful golden crust which is why we like the cake layers to slightly show through the frosting.
To achieve this, evenly apply a layer of frosting on the outside and using a bench scraper, gently scrape off any excess frosting until the cake layers begin to slightly show through. See video below!
We opted for adding a salted caramel drip. This isn’t required but I love the caramel with the brown butter frosting and carrot cake. You can find our fool proof caramel sauce recipe here. I always store a large batch in my refrigerator and warm in the microwave for 15 seconds or until softened.
You don’t need a special bottle to achieve a drip. Use a ziplock bag and cut the tip or a piping bag. Or just pour all over the top of the cake and using a knife, spatula or offset spatula, gently glide across the caramel until it starts dripping off the sides. This will be a thicker drip than piping on the sauce.
OTHER CAKE RECIPES TO TRY
Carrot Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbl ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup neutral oil (vegetable or grapeseed)
- 4 eggs room temperature
- 1/2 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk can swap with 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar firmly packed
- 2 1/2 cups freshly grated carrots
- 1 cup chopped walnuts optional
Brown Butter Frosting
- 2 cups unsalted butter
- 4 1/2-5 cups confectioners sugar sifted
- 1/2 can Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk can sub with 1/4-1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees. Line 3 6” cake pans or 2 8” cake pans with parchment rounds, spray with oil and lightly dust with flour. Set aside
- Peel Carrots. Using a Food processor- grate carrots. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl- combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt and whisk to combine.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment- combine oil, granulated sugar, light brown sugar and mix until combined.
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each egg is incorporated before adding the next egg. Add sweetened condensed milk and mix on medium speed for 30 seconds or until combined. *Skip this step if substituting with buttermilk.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix on medium for 30 seconds- careful to not over mix the batter. Stop the mixer when a few ribbons of flour are visible and finish by folding the carrots and walnuts into the batter with a spatula. *If using buttermilk- add dry ingredients to the mixer, alternating with buttermilk. Beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add 1/3 dry ingredients, mix. Add 1/2 buttermilk, mix. 1/3 dry ingredients, mix. Add the remainder of the buttermilk, mix. Add the remainder of the dry ingredients.
- Evenly distribute the cake batter into each prepared cake pan and bake for 25- 35 minutes for 6” cake or 30-40 min for 8” cake. Check cakes by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean or with a few crumbs- cakes are done!
- Place on a cooling rack for 10 minutes in the pan before turning the cake pan upside down to release the cake to completely cool.
- Prepare the buttercream
Brown Butter Frosting
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter on medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Butter will begin to bubble then start to foam on the top. Once the foam is gone and milk solids begin to separate, watch the butter carefully as brown speckles begin to appear at the bottom of the pan. Test by whisking or using a spatula to move the melted butter and view the bottom of the pan. This can take 5-8 minutes until the butter starts to brown, after the butter has begun to foam. It will also begin to smell a little like caramel- that means it’s done!
- Pour browned butter into a bowl and allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight to re solidify.
- Take brown butter out of the refrigerator and bring back to room temperature or until softened enough to whip.
- In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add browned butter and whip on medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time and mix until combined. Add the remaining can of Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed milk or heavy whipping cream, vanilla and salt and beat on medium for 2-3minutes. Frosting should be spreadable.