This easy carrot cake recipe isn’t fussy or pretentious. Sweet, shredded carrots suspended in a spiced cake studded with nuts. That’s it.
Ask the Important Questions
This recipe is a perfect example of why it is so important to ask family members important questions like, “hey, grandma who is this Elsie lady that gave you this recipe? How did you know her?” Or better yet, “hey, grandma where did you meet grandpa and how did he propose to you?”
These are questions that can help preserve family history, and even more importantly, a way to create a deeper connection with our families. I think that proximity and seeming familiarity of our family members leads us to believe that we know these people as well as we know ourselves. We forget that these people have stories that occurred and continued to occur without our awareness or involvement.
Once gone, their rich stories are lost along with the ability to ask these types of questions. So, I will never know who Elsie is, why she shared this recipe with my grandma, or how my grandma knew her.
What I can deduce from the recipe is that Elsie was a no-nonsense baker. She felt that a carrot cake should celebrate the ingredient for which is was named. That ingredients like raisins and pineapple, in addition to being expensive, are completely unnecessary.
How to Make Elsie’s Carrot Cake
Elsie’s cake is made using the blending method of caking making. Basically, you stir everything together and pour it into the prepared cake pans and bake. Which makes this an appealing candidate for busy folks.
There are no separating eggs, creaming fats and sugars together or folding whipped ingredients in. You don’t even have to get out the electric mixer. This carrot cake recipe can be made completely by hand.
Start by whisking the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, using a fork or whisk combine the oil and the eggs. Pour this into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in the carrots and nuts and then divide the batter into greased cake pans. That’s it. I told you Elsie was a no-nonsense baker, didn’t I?
Now, if you can’t bear to think of carrot cake without cream cheese frosting, then there is one more step. You will need to frost your cake.
I like to use this recipe for cream cheese frosting. Jenni gives you several options for add-ins and liquid. But like Elsie, I like to keep it simple – cream cheese, vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs beaten
- 1/4 cup oil
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- Heat oven to 300˚F.
- Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by spraying with baking spray and lining the bottom with parchment paper, or grease with butter or shortening and dust with a spoonful of flour.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt.
- To the well beaten eggs add the oil mixing with a fork or whisk to combine.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until all of the flour is dampened. Then beat the batter vigorously for just 1 minute.
- Fold in carrots and nuts and divide the batter equally between the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 275˚F and continue baking for 1 hour or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and place on cooling racks. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edge. Invert onto cooling rack to cool completely before frosting with cream cheese frosting.
Recipe Box Roulette
This recipe is from a social media game we developed called Recipe Box Roulette. Find a family recipe box and play along.
The rules are simple. Let your fingers wander over the recipes cards in the box, draw one at random, share it with us on FB Page or on your Instagram Feed. Remember to tag @theheritagcookbookproject and use the hashtag #recipeboxroulette.
Extra credit – make the recipe and share a photograph.
Grandma Florence’s Recipe Box – recipe by Elsie