Happy Birthday to me! Okay, well actually my birthday was last week (38 years!) and to celebrate I made myself this wonderful Carrot and Beet Cake.
Carrot cake is one of my favorites – mostly because it isn’t super sweet and I love the cream cheese frosting. As a test experiment I wanted to fold in some shredded beets just to give it a little different color and see if I could cut back on the sugar because beets are so naturally sweet.
Turns out yes! This cake was a wonderful birthday dessert to myself and I’d encourage anybody to give it a shot!
Even as a not-so-great baker, I found it very doable and flexible enough to be delicious in any kitchen!
Why Use Carrots and/Or Beets in Cakes?
When you bake with shredded vegetables like carrots and beets, they help regulate the water content in the cake, making it more moist and delicious.
Make sure to peel the carrots and beets before shredding them. I’m fairly certain you could use all carrots, all beets, or a mix of both! You are looking for about 3 cups of shredded veggie total!
Making the Carrot Cake Batter
This batter is a pretty standard batter and you don’t even need a mixer to make it. I just whisk everything together in a large mixing bowl.
I used coconut oil for my version but you could use vegetable oil as well.
Whisk together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Then add the dry stuff.
Fold in the carrots and beets last. If the batter is super thick, you can add more milk by the tablespoon. It should be barely pourable and a very thick batter – thicker than pancake batter.
I folded in some chopped pecans as well, but those are optional and wouldn’t affect any instructions if you left them out.
I just love the color of that carrot cake batter thanks to the added beets!
Baking the Cake
You have a lot of options when it comes to baking this. I chose to do a layer cake option with two 8-inch round cakes, but you could also go with a standard 9×13 rectangle cake.
If you are using round cakes, be sure to butter and flour the cake pans really well to avoid sticking.
My Layer Cake Trick
Generally if you are making a layer cake you need to slice each layer with a serrated knife so you have a level surface. As long as there isn’t a huge dome on your cake, you can just FLIP the first one so the slight dome is on the bottom!
Frosting the Beet Cake
I made a pretty standard cream cheese frosting for this cake. Whip it really well so it gets light and fluffy. The biggest trick to remember for cream cheese frosting is just to make sure your ingredients are softened and at room temperature.
I use a pretty heavy hand with the frosting! If you are making the carrot and beet cake in a 9×13 pan, you probably won’t need as much frosting.
The final baked carrot and beet cake is wonderfully moist and it stores really well. It doesn’t get dry at all. I ate a piece of it five days after baking it and it was just as good as on day one!
I think the cake keeps fine in the fridge for 5 days and is BEST if you can let it come to room temperature before serving, but it’s fine right out of the fridge also.
If you’re looking for a fun and different cake, this Carrot and Beet Cake is worth a shot.
And no. It doesn’t taste like beets!
Carrot and Beet Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup grated peeled beets
- ½ cup chopped pecans, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a large bowl with a whisk, add coconut oil and sugars. (Note: If your coconut oil is solid, microwave it in 10 second bursts to melt it). Whisk together until smooth and then add eggs and vanilla. (You can substitute vegetable oil for the coconut oil.)
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients except carrot and beets. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until combined. When combined, fold in the shredded carrots and beets and chopped pecans (optional). If batter is very thick and not pourable, add more milk by the tablespoon to loosen the batter.
- Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Divide batter between two 8 inch round cake pans. Shake pans to distribute batter evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a tester comes out clean from the center.
- Let cakes cool completely before removing from pan and frosting.
- To make frosting, add butter and cream cheese to a mixer with paddle attachment or with a hand mixer and beat until smooth and creamy. Then add vanilla and add powdered sugar in 1 cup batches. Mix together until smooth. Use immediately.
- To ice the cake, remove one cake from the pan and turn upside down on a cake pan (this just helps with the flat side up for easier frosting and layering). If the cake has a large dome on it, you might want to trim off some of the dome to make it flat (use a serrated knife).
- Add about a 1/4-inch thick layer of frosting to the cake then top with second cake. Frost generously on all sides.
- Serve cake immediately or store in the fridge. The cake keeps well for 4-5 days. It’s best if you can let it come to room temperature before serving, but it’s also fine right out of the fridge.
- If you don’t have two round cake pans, you can bake the batter in a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350˚F for 35-40 minutes until a tester comes out clean from the center. Frost generously once cool.