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Martha's Favorite

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe also makes two 6-inch layer cakes: Use four 6-by-2-inch round cake pans, and spread each layer with one-half cup of frosting.

  • Servings: 12
  • Yield: Makes 1 four-layer cake
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 1999


  • Unsalted butter, for pans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) pecan halves
  • 1 pound large carrots, peeled
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Candied Carrot Strips, optional


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Dust pans with flour, and tap out any excess. Set pans aside. Spread pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan, and toast in the oven until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and let stand until completely cool. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees. Finely chop pecans, and set aside.

  2. Using the smallest holes (less than 1/4 inch in diameter) of a box grater, grate carrots, yielding 2 1/2 cups. Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, and ginger in a large bowl; whisk until well combined.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined. Fold in the toasted pecans.

  4. Divide batter between the two cake pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middles comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.

  5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of the cakes so surfaces are level. Slice each layer in half horizontally. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread 3/4 cup frosting over top. Place a second cake layer on top, and spread with another 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with third layer and another 3/4 cup frosting. Place last cake layer on top, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and the sides of the assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill 3 to 4 hours.

  6. If using the candied carrot strips, set a wire rack over a baking pan. Using your fingers, lift one candied carrot strip from the sugar syrup, holding it over the container. With the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, gently squeeze the carrot strip and slide your fingers along its length, removing as much excess syrup as possible; lay the carrot strip on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining carrot strips.

  7. Gently place tapered end of a carrot strip in center of cake, and gently press it down the side of the cake; place a second strip next to it. Continue applying strips around entire cake. Form 2 or 3 strips into a decorative bow, and place on top. Cut cake, and serve.

Reviews (9)

  • nikkiwong 9 Jul, 2013

    Made this! Love Love Love it! Yum! I followed the recipe 100%

  • Jeffrey Foldenauer 9 Apr, 2013

    This has been one of my favorite go-to recipes for 10 years. I've made this cake for birthdays, weddings, and just because. The cake and frosting are phenomenal and people beg me to make it. I make the carrot strips while the cakes bake. I usually use a vegetable peeler instead of a mandolin to create thin, translucent strips and I season the syrup with a cinnamon stick or two and leftover ginger nubs. Also for the strips I omit the second syrup bath as in the alternate recipe on this site.

  • trishpia 25 Jul, 2012

    Best carrot cake recipe I have ever used! LOVE IT!! Soo moist!

  • nigruzdeva 10 Jul, 2012

    Its the best carrot cake inever made!nsince now its my fave cake

  • AidaOsman 27 Jun, 2011

    looks delicious...

  • ecofreak101 9 Jul, 2010

    An absolutely gorgeous cake! Everyone was blown away by how striking the candied carrots were on teh white frosting, even though their taste was so-so and chewy. But the cake itself was incredible! Moist and rich in flavor, especially if the carrots are fresh from teh farmers market! I will be using this every time I make carrot cake from now on.

  • Ferfer76 18 Aug, 2008

    I just love this recipe and have been using it for years. It is always moist, and the frosting adds just the right amount of sweeetness. I never bother with the candied carrots, but do other decorative touches for the finish. It's perfect for birthdays

  • chmurag 25 Jul, 2008

    This is the best carrot cake I ever tasted. It's a much lighter texture. When I bring dessert to friends' parties, they always request it. I never run out of frosting. Don't put too much between layers because it will ooze out. If you cannot eat nuts, you can omit the pecans and it still tastes delicious. I grate the carrots in a flash in my food processor. Makes great cupcakes, too! Forget the carrot strips...too much work!

  • kateness 8 Jul, 2008

    Delicious and easy, but I would add extra ginger for more punch next time. Use the John Baricelli carrot strip recipe instead - faster and just as nice. Also, maker more frosting than called for, I ran out. I made this for my Dad's 60th and he and the guests all loved it!

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