I never had the honor of spending a lot of time with my Babci before she passed away. I was incredibly young at the time. But despite the short duration of life she had to spend with me, I know for a fact that she loved me very much.
Even though our time on Earth barely crossed paths, I still feel that my Babci and I have a bond. I think she is the main reason why I’m so into cooking and baking. She loved doing both. My creative side can hardly be explained when you look to my parents. In fact, we’re polar opposites when it comes to talents and interests. However, the similarities between my Babci’s interests and mine are uncanny.
My Babci is famous for a plethora of family recipes. She was not a fancy-shmancy chef who made complex confections and elaborate six-course meals; she was a simple cook and baker. “Simple” can have a negative connotation, but not in this case. When I say simple, I mean she didn’t over-complicate things. Her recipes were straight-forward and no-nonsense. She didn’t use frilly or unnecessary ingredients; she made food how it should be, and she didn’t mess around with it.
No matter how many fancy or extravagant recipes I try, they never compare to my Babci’s. Her seemingly simple food wins every time.
Babci’s Carrot Cake is the perfect example of how other-worldly here straight-forward recipes are. It’s carrot cake. Not bacon carrot cake or truffle oil-infused carrot cake or carrot cake with salted caramel; just plain old carrot cake. And you know what?
I think it’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever had.
As my mother so accurately put it, “This is the moistest cake ever.” It’s incredible, really. You slice through it, and not a single crumb escapes from the cake. Now that is moist.
The flavor is spot on: cinnamony, warm, and not too sweet; exactly what carrot cake should taste like. Honestly, I could’ve happily eaten it without any icing, and that is something you will probably never hear me say again.
It’s just so good.
I don’t know what else to tell you. This is heaven. Don’t be fooled by the fact that the recipe is simple; you don’t always need some crazy secret ingredient to make something delicious. The amazingness of this cake lies in its perfect balance of flavors and incredibly moist texture. You will never eat a better carrot cake.
I swear it.
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- I’ve given two options for frosting below: My Babci’s Classic Cream Cheese Frosting or my Cinnamon Buttercream. I chose the Cinnamon Buttercream because I hate cream cheese (don’t judge me). Obviously, cream cheese frosting is typical for carrot cake, but the cinnamon buttercream is my twist on my Babci’s classic cake. The flavor of the frosting perfectly compliments the cake.
- This cake stays moist for DAYS. So don’t worry about scarfing it all down in one night; it’ll last a while.
- Although you should store frosted cakes in the fridge, you should always let them come to room temperature before eating. Having the cake straight from the fridge interferes with the flavor and texture.
- I don’t want to hear single word about “Oooh there’s sooo much vegetable oil…that’s UNHEALTHY.” Newflash: it’s a cake! It’s supposed to be decadent. That oil makes this nice and moist. You should indulge every once in a while.
- Do not skip lining the pan with parchment paper unless you want 3/4 of the cake to be permanently stuck to the pan.
- To line the bottom of a round pan with parchment paper: Rip off a sheet of parchment paper larger than the pan you’re using. Set the pan on top, then trace around the pan with a sharp knife. Viola! The perfect-sized circle.
- Always run a knife around the edge of the cake pan before removing the cakes so they slide out easier.
Babci’s Carrot Cake
For the Cake:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups grated carrots
For the Cinnamon Buttercream:
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 16-oz. box powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar and eggs until thickened. Stir in the oil.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into the egg mixture, a little at a time, until well-incorporated. Fold in the carrots.
- Distribute batter evenly between pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cakes cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then flip out onto cooling racks to cool completely. Discard parchment paper.
- When cakes are completely cool, make the frosting.
If making the Cinnamon Buttercream:
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix the butter with 1/4 of the sugar. Mix on low speed until well blended and then add more sugar gradually. When all the sugar is incorporated, increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream or powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency.
If making the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat together ingredients on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase to medium speed and beat for another minute.