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Tuesdays With Dorie: Big Bill’s Carrot Cake

Amanda from Slow Like Honey chose this week’s recipe, which was Big Bill’s Carrot Cake. I was interested to find out what this carrot cake version would be like. Carrot cake is David’s favorite cake and it is a favorite in my family as well. My mom’s carrot cake recipe gets requested for birthdays and holidays all the time, and for good reason. It is incredibly delicious, moist, and everything you look for in a carrot cake. So I wanted to see if this cake would measure up. Although Dorie’s version is good, I prefer my mom’s. I like pure and simple carrot cake without the coconut and raisins. My mom’s is also slightly more moist. So I will make that in the future, which I know will be many many more times! I decided to halve the recipe and make cupcakes instead of a layer cake. I’m taking these to a group dinner, and I don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of extra cake that I should not be eating! Be sure to visit our Tuesdays With Dorie blog to see the other carrot cakes!

Yields 10 servings


For the cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.


24 Responses

  1. Even though you didn’t like all the add-ins, your cupcake looks delicious! I love how smooth the frosting is!

  2. They look fantastic!

  3. Carrot cake is a real favourite around here also! I love you cupcakes. They look really nice, but I am drooling all over my keyboard at that picture of the turtle squares!

  4. That’s funny–I almost skipped this one, because a.) my mom is known for her carrot cake, and b.) I didn’t want all that cake lying around.

    My mom’s cake kicks Dorie’s butt, too. I’m taking her a cupcake today so she can gloat. 😉

  5. They look great! And hey, Dorie can’t ALWAYS be the winner!

  6. Your cupcakes look yummy!

  7. There are so many carrot cake recipes out there, it’s fun to compare! Your cupcakes look wonderful!

  8. Adorable cupcakes. Great job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  9. Can’t blame you, it’s hard for anyone to measure up to mom. 🙂

  10. Yep, Mom always rules. But you did a great job, and hey, I’m sure they are more than edible!

  11. I love the slathering of frosting on that cupcake! Looks great!

  12. Sweet cupcakes!

  13. I prefer my mom’s recipe too, but this one was good and I did like the coconut in it.

  14. Nothing beats a favorite family recipe! Your cupcake looks great though.

  15. family carrot cake recipes seem to be a trend around here….it’s nice to try new things sometimes too, though! your carrot cupcake looks delicious- the frosting has a very nice shine!

  16. I really like the cupcake idea; the frosting can be overpowering in its three-layer form, so this is a great idea!

  17. Cute cupcake!!

  18. Your cupcakes look great. Nothing at all wrong with liking your mom’s version better though. 🙂

  19. I think it’s great that while you enjoyed Dorie’s version, your experience validated that your mom’s is the best. I also went the cupcake route, but mine sunk quite a bit.

  20. It is okay to prefer your moms recipe. But, great job making these!

  21. YES! I feel exactly the same way! I like my carrot cake pure. No raisins, no coconut, no nuts! But it was fun to compare.
    Your frosting looks divine! Good job!

  22. I’m with you, I prefer nothing in my carrot cake. I’ll have to try your mom’s! 🙂

  23. i actually like my carrot cake chunky, but that’s just me 🙂 at least you made it so you could compare.

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