three layer carrot cake with cream cheese icing, with a big piece cut out

This is my mother’s wonderful recipe. A fruity olive oil works very well with cinnamon in this popular, tasty cake. It makes a 9 X 13 inch rectangle or a (more impressive) three-layer cake. I double the recipe, freeze the rectangle, and eat the layer cake first. There’s always an occasion when we “need” the other cake before too long, and it freezes well.


The Cake


Mix the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar (can be reduced to 1 ¾ cups if desired)
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


Then add to the above ingredients

1 ¼ cups fruity extra virgin olive oil.

Mix that in, then stir in

4 well-beaten eggs.

Next, stir in

3 cups coarsely grated carrots.

If you wish, also add and stir in (or don’t):

1 cup chopped pecans (or other nuts)

Also optional, to add and stir in last:

1 small can well-drained crushed pineapple.

(My mother added both pecans and pineapple, but I don’t add either.)

To finish up:

Grease and flour pans, then pour in the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. That’s about

  • 1 hour or 1 hour and 20 minutes at 325 F or 165 C for a 9 X 13 inch pan
  • 30 minutes at 350 F or 180 C for 3 9-inch pans
  • 40-45 minutes at 350/180 for 3 8-inch pans.

Cool completely before frosting, dust with powdered sugar, or enjoy the cake as it is. The cake has plenty of flavor and sweetness without icing, but if you’re baking layers you’ll need icing to hold them together.

Cream Cheese Icing


Ingredients for a 9 X 13 sheet cake:

  • 8 ounces or 225 grams of cream cheese
  • ½ cup (¼ pound) or 120 grams of butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups, 1 pound, or 450 grams powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid vanilla or 3 vials of powdered vanilla
  • Optional: 2 cups chopped pecans or other nuts
  • If desired: a few spoons of milk for creaminess

Ingredients for a 3 layer cake:

  • 11 ounces or 312 grams cream cheese
  • 1 cup (½ pound) or 240 grams of butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups, 2 pounds, or 900 grams powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons liquid vanilla or 6 vials of powdered vanilla
  • Optional: 2 cups chopped pecans or other nuts
  • If desired: a few spoons of milk for creaminess


Let the cream cheese and butter set out and soften (but not melt) before using. Cream the butter and cream cheese, add the vanilla and salt, then add the sugar gradually until you have the consistency you like -- nice and thick. Mix well with an electric mixer. If an electric mixer is not available, sift powdered sugar to avoid lumps before adding it to the mixture. Add a few spoons of milk for creaminess if you like.

Frost the well cooled cake. Nuts can be patted around the edges of a layer cake or sprinkled over the cake if desired. You may want to chill the iced cake so the icing will be firm, especially with a layer cake. The cake freezes well and could keep well in the refrigerator for some time (if it wasn’t eaten promptly—which it always is!).

In memory of my mother, Linda Klahr.

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