Pioneer Womans Irresistible Carrot Cake Recipe


Carrot cake is a timeless dessert that’s beloved by many for its moist texture and rich flavor. If you’re a fan of The Pioneer Woman, you know that her recipes never disappoint. This Pioneer Woman Carrot Cake recipe is no exception—it’s the perfect blend of sweet and spice, topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting and crunchy toasted pecans. Let’s dive into how to create this masterpiece in your own kitchen!

Ingredients Overview

For the Cake

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil plus more to grease
  • 2 cups basic flour plus more to dust
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots

For the Frosting

  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tbsp) salted butter, softened
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ½ lb powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Kitchen Tools Needed

  • Two 8-inch round cake pans
  • Parchment paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric mixer
  • Spatula
  • Cooling rack
  • Toothpick or cake tester

Preparing the Cake Pans

Start by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease two 8-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and lightly dust with flour. This step ensures that your cakes will

come out of the pans easily without sticking, giving you perfectly smooth layers to work with.

Mixing the Cake Batter

Combining Wet Ingredients

Put the eggs, vegetable oil, and granulated sugar in a large bowl and mix them together. Mix these things together until they are well mixed. This mixture will provide the foundation for your cake’s rich and moist texture.

Combining Dry Ingredients

In another bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and kosher salt. This step is crucial, as it evenly distributes the leavening agents and spices throughout the flour, ensuring that your cake rises properly and has a uniform flavor.

Incorporating Carrots

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir them in until they are just combined. When you mix the cake too much, it can become dense.
 Finally, fold in the grated carrots. The carrots add natural sweetness and moisture, which are key to the cake’s delightful texture.

Baking the Cake

Preheating the Oven

Before you start mixing the ingredients, make sure to preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). So your cake bakes evenly, do this.

Baking Time and Testing for Doneness

Cover the cake pans with parchment paper and pour the batter into them evenly.
 Place the pans in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick or cake tester into the center of the cakes; it should come out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it. If the cakes need more time, continue baking in 2-minute intervals, checking after each interval.

Cooling the Cake Layers

Once the cakes are done, let them cool in the pans for about 10 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges to loosen the cakes and turn them out onto a cooling rack. Take the cakes off the parchment paper and let them cool all the way down. 
 This step is important because frosting a warm cake can cause the frosting to melt and slide off.

Making the Frosting

Beating Butter and Cream Cheese

In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This usually takes about 2–3 minutes.

Adding Powdered Sugar and Vanilla

Adding the powdered sugar one cup at a time while beating on low speed will help it blend in. Once all the powdered sugar is added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is fluffy and smooth. Last, add the vanilla extract and mix it in with a mixer.

Assembling the Cake

Layering and Frosting

Put one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving platter. Cover the whole thing with a lot of frosting. Place the second cake layer on top of the first and frost the top and sides of the entire cake with the remaining frosting. Use a spatula to create smooth or decorative swirls.

Final Touches with Pecans

Sprinkle the chopped, toasted pecans over the top of the cake. You can also press some pecans into the sides of the cake for added texture and flavor.

Serving Suggestions

This carrot cake pairs beautifully with a cup of coffee or tea. Serve it as a dessert at your next family gathering, or enjoy a slice as a sweet treat any time of day.

Storing Leftovers

Store any leftover carrot cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last up to five days. If you prefer, you can also freeze the cake (frosted or unfrosted) for up to 3 months. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. 

Nutritional Information

Yield: 10 servings

  • Calories: 477
  • Total Fat: 24g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 20g
  • Cholesterol: 74mg
  • Sodium: 282mg
  • Carbohydrates: 62g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 41g
  • Protein: 5g

Helpful Hints for Making the Best Carrot Cake

Grating Carrots

For the best texture, grate your carrots finely. Large pieces can create uneven texture and may not blend well into the batter. Using a food processor can make this step quick and easy.

Preventing a Dense Cake

To avoid a dense cake, be careful not to overmix the batter once you add the dry ingredients. Overmixing can cause the gluten in the flour to develop too much, resulting in a heavy cake.

Variations and Add-Ins

Feel free to customize your carrot cake with add-ins like raisins, crushed pineapple, or shredded coconut. These additions can enhance the flavor and texture, making the cake even more delightful.


So, there you have it – the ultimate Pioneer Woman Carrot Cake recipe that is sure to become a staple in your dessert rotation. With its moist crumb, warm spices, and decadent cream cheese frosting, this cake checks all the boxes for a delicious and satisfying treat.

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a newbie in the kitchen, this recipe is approachable and easy to follow, making it a perfect choice for any occasion. So, gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to experience the magic of this classic dessert with a Pioneer Woman twist. Happy baking!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I make this cake ahead of time? Beforehand, you can bake the cake layers.
     They should be kept at room temperature and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and wrapped again. Frost the cake the next day for best results. 
  2. Can I use a different type of oil? Yes, you can substitute vegetable oil with canola oil or even melted coconut oil for a slight change in flavor.
  3. What can I use instead of pecans? If you’re not a fan of pecans, try using walnuts or leaving the nuts out altogether. The cake will still be delicious.
  4. How can I make the cake gluten-free? Use a gluten-free flour blend instead of all-purpose flour.  Make sure the blend includes xanthan gum or add it separately to ensure proper texture.
  5. Can I make this cake vegan? To make a vegan version, use flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water per egg) and vegan cream cheese and butter substitutes for the frosting.
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