Jack’s Carrot Cake is a super moist, decadent carrot cake loaded with all sorts of delicious ingredients including carrots, raisins, pineapple, applesauce, coconut, and walnuts.
Hi everyone, it’s Jack here, sharing the story behind today’s Carrot Cake recipe.
Throughout my years of cooking and food service management, I’ve been very lucky to cook with and learn from many talented people. I’ve learned so many great cooking tips and tricks (and recipes) that I still use in my cooking and recipe development today.
This recipe — Jack’s Carrot Cake — is one of those recipes. The “Jack” in today’s recipe actually refers to a student-employee who also happened to be named Jack.
Jack came to us from a local school that specialized in educating mentally and emotionally-challenged people. The students would rotate though the different kitchen positions, learning as they go, and depending on the extent of their disability, someone on my staff would escort them through the day.
Typically, the students were assigned some minor food prep and other light kitchens tasks. In the case of my student-employee Jack — he watched our pastry chef prepare a new Carrot Cake recipe for an upcoming event, and Jack was asked to test each batch.
Jack had an amazing, instinctive insight into precise quantities of ingredients and offered several suggestions to get that Carrot Cake recipe exactly right. Eventually the final Carrot Cake recipe — with most of Jack’s input included — was approved, so we named the cake after him: Jack’s Carrot Cake.
On a side note, I’m proud to share that this particular school program was a huge success — with all of the kudos going to our hardworking students. The program was recognized by awards from both town and state governments, and one of our student was even featured in a local newspaper article.
How do you make Carrot Cake?
Jack’s Carrot Cake is moist and dense and loaded with lots of delicious ingredients including shredded carrots, rum-soaked raisins, pineapple, applesauce, coconut, and walnuts. There is a sweet and silky cream cheese frosting between the layers, as well as on top.
We used a star-tipped pastry bag to create a decorative topping on our carrot cake, then sprinkled chopped walnuts on top.
We hope you enjoy Jack’s Carrot Cake as much as we do!
You may enjoy these other Baked Goods:
- Morning Glory Muffins
- Carrot Cupcakes with Ginger-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- Banana Chocolate Chip Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese Apple Cake
- Cream Cheese Muffins
Helpful hint: Use these Wilton Bake Even Strips around each baking pan to ensure even baking and a flat layer cake.
1 cup raisins
2 tablespoons dark rum
Butter and flour to prepare cake pans
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups granulated sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
3 whole eggs
1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 cup grated carrots (large holes on box grater)
1 cup crushed pineapple including juice (do not use pineapple in syrup)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
1 cup walnuts chopped, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 pounds powdered sugar
Place the raisins and rum in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute. Set aside.
Prepare two 9” round, high-sided cake pans.
Place a cake pan on parchment, open side up and draw a circle around the bottom with a pencil. Cut the circle out and repeat for the second pan. Rub butter all over inside bottom and sides of each pan. Press each circle into the bottom of each buttered pan. Then butter the top of the parchment of each pan. Finally spoon some flour into each pan and turn and shake to completely cover the butter, on bottom and sides, shaking out excess. Set these aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl by whisking flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and oil for one minute on medium high speed.
With mixer running on medium, add in one egg at a time, making sure each egg is mixed in before adding the next.
Add in apple sauce and vanilla and mix to combine, then scrape bowl and mix again.
With mixer running on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients until combined.
Add in the carrots, coconut and pineapple and mix to combine.
Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the nuts and reserved raisins.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake in center rack for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center, comes out clean. *See tips.
Cool on a rack in the pan for ten minutes then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Peel off and discard parchment while still warm.
While the cake is baking, make the frosting.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip softened butter and cream cheese until smooth and blended.
Add vanilla and powdered sugar and mix gently on lowest speed a few turns at a time to stop the sugar from powdering up, or simply add it gradually with mixer running. Once the sugar is wet, whip on medium high to a smooth creamy consistency.
If you used the Wilton Bake Even Strips then each cake should be flat. If not, shave some cake off of the top of each to make them flat.
Dab a little frosting on the bottom of your cake dish and lay one of the cakes onto the center of the dish. This will stop the cake from sliding.
Add frosting to the first layer at about a quarter inch thick and then place the second cake over.
Frost the top and sides to a smooth even consistency then fill a pastry bag with a large star tip with the remaining frosting.
Make your own decorative edge and design, or follow the picture we provide.
Mix the two tablespoons of chopped nuts and coconut then sprinkle onto the exposed part of the cake top.
Serve immediately or refrigerate. Keep refrigerated for storage.
I like a heavily frosted carrot cake, you may not. If you prefer to make less frosting, use 1 ½ sticks of butter, 1 ½ packages of cream cheese, 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla and 1 ½ pounds of powdered sugar.
Keywords: carrot cake