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Carrot-Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting


Sweet, edible ribbons wrap this two-tiered carrot cake. They're made from thinly sliced carrot strips, cooked in sugar and water until translucent, then gently pressed into the cake's cream cheese frosting. Martha made this recipe on "Martha Bakes" episode 712.

  • Servings: 12
  • Yield: Makes one 8-inch layer cake

Photography: Yossy Arefi

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 1999


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) melted unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) pecan halves
  • 2 1/2 cups (12 ounces) shredded carrots
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting
  • Candied Carrot Strips


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

  2. Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, and ginger in a large bowl; mix until well combined.

  3. Into 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 butter and toasted pecans.

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

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

  6. For the candied carrot strips, set a wire rack over a baking pan. Using 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 remaining carrot strips.

  7. Decorate cake with candied carrot strips as desired. Cut cake and serve.

Cook's Notes

This recipe can also be baked in cupcake liners in a standard cupcake pan at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS11678340
    9 JUL, 2013
    Made this! Love Love Love it! Yum! I followed the recipe 100%
  • jdfoldenauerya
    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!