Lemony Carrot Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A simple carrot cake flavored with a touch of cinnamon and crushed pineapple, and wowed with a lemony cream cheese filling. I used American Buttercream for the frosting, but Swiss Meringue Buttercream or Flour Buttercream would also be delicious.
Recipe type: Dessert | Oil Cake | Layer Cake
Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pan
Cake Batter:
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 cups grated raw carrots, firmly packed
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, undrained
Lemony Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 small lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 3½ cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, sifted before measuring
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
American Buttercream:
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5¼ cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar, sifted before measuring
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4½ tablespoons whipping (heavy) cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Food Coloring (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8-inch round layer cake pans; lightly grease the pans with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust with flour.
Cake Batter:
  1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs; beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until they are a light-yellow color and thickened. With the mixer still on medium-high speed, slowly add the granulated sugar to the eggs, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking 3 to 4 minutes to add all of the sugar, then add the brown sugar, and beating until the eggs and sugar are fully incorporated, and the mixture looks light in color and thickened. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to medium, slowly pour the oil into the batter in a slow steady stream, and then beat for 1 minute longer.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to medium-low, and blend in the flour mixture all at once, mixing just until incorporated.
  5. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and pineapple.
  6. Bake: Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon or small offset spatula. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place baking pans on wire cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cake from pans and place directly on wire racks to finish cooling. Tip: 33 minutes was the perfect bake time for my oven.
Lemony Cream Cheese Filling:
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, and lemon zest; use an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon and beat together until mixture is smooth. Add powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and vanilla; beat until mixed. Add additional 1 teaspoon lemon juice if desired to taste. Continue to beat until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
American Buttercream:
  1. In a large bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, place the butter and beat on medium to medium-high speed 3 to 4 minutes until it is smooth, creamy, and light in color.
  2. Reduce the speed to medium-low, add 1 cup of the powdered sugar and salt, beat until smooth. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add the remaining powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time; beating after each addition until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Then continue beating for another 2 to 3 minutes on medium-high to high speed to make the frosting ultra-light and fluffy.
  3. If desired divide frosting into 3 bowls. Add 1 to 2 drops of yellow food color to 1 bowl, 1 to 2 drops of leaf green food color to the 2nd bowl, and keep the remaining bowl white (no food color.)
  1. Place one cake layer on a cake plate. Spread half the Lemony Cream Cheese Filling over the bottom layer. Place another cake layer on top and spread with the remaining Lemony Cream Cheese Filling evenly over the top. Place the final cake layer on top.
  2. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the American Buttercream. Tip: I randomly placed the 3 buttercream colors on the cake and lightly marbled the colors with an offset spatula.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate leftovers.
  4. Lemony Carrot Cake
  5. Lemony Carrot Cake
Adapted from Huff, Tessa, Layered, Stewart Tabori & Chang, New York, 2016
Recipe Notes
Pan: three 8-inch round layer cake pans Pan Prep: Greased, Parchment Lined, Floured Oven Temp: 350° Storage: Cover and Refrigerate

Help: Cake Hints and Tips
Recipe by at https://thebakingpan.com/recipes/cakes/lemony-carrot-cake/