Paula Deen’s Carrot Cake

by Erin on April 3, 2012

in Eating

It should come as not surprise to y’all that we like to eat down here in the South and that we like to make certain recipes for specific occasions and holidays.

Easter is no different, and one year for Christmas, I was given a cookbook written by a Southern cooking queen – Paula Deen – and her book was separated into chapters based on holidays and celebration meals.

This year, I decided to make some carrot cake in celebration of the upcoming Easter holiday and spring.

Let me tell y’all, this recipe is good; the cake is dense and sweet, while the icing is more tart and creamy. It’s a perfect combo, in my book, and I’m excited to share this with y’all.

And, as an added bonus, the cake doesn’t call for sticks upon sticks of butter.


What you’ll need is some basic baking goods – all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, eggs, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt – and some not-so-basic baking goods – applesauce and carrots.

You can lie them all out like I did to make that photo… you know, to keep yourself organized.

Blend the sugar, eggs, applesauce (or oil – your choice).

You can use your handy-dandy hand mixer for this. Or you can use your super strong arms.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Then pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and mix those together using your hand mixer… or your arm.

Then add your carrots and walnuts to the mix.

It’s a party now, y’all.

And then pour them into your greased baking sheets, bake for 45 minutes – or until cooked through and browned on the top – and set out to cool.

While your cakes are baking, you’ll whip up your cream cheese icing. Be sure to lick the bowl, too. (Because that’s the right thing to do.)

Then it’s time to start the icing process now, y’all.

Once your cakes have cooled, transfer one round to your cake dish – any cake dish will do – and dollop some icing down on the bottom round. Smooth it out, until even, and then gently place the other round on top of the bottom round, centering them.

Once you’ve smoothed out your icing, set the cake aside for about 5 minutes.

For the icing to set.


Then dig in, and enjoy!

Paula Deen’s Carrot Cake

From Paula Deen Celebrates!: Best Dishes and Best Wishes for the Best Times of Your Life

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used all unsweetened applesauce here instead of veggie oil. It turned out wonderfully and did not taste like apples)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350.

Using a hand mixer, stir sugar, applesauce and eggs together, until creamed. In a separate bowl, sift and combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar/applesauce/egg mixture and stir until combined. Add carrots and walnuts to the cake batter, and stir them in by hand.

Pour batter into two greased 10″ round cake tins, dispensing them evenly between the two containers. Pop into the oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Erin’s Standard Cream Cheese Icing
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (low fat OK)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon skim milk

While your cake is baking, whip these ingredients together.

Once the cake has cooled, dollop a good bit of the icing out on the bottom round, spreading evenly, then place the top round on top of it. Top this round with the rest of the icing, spreading it evenly, then serve.



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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Jamie April 3, 2012 at 8:18 pm

I love carrot cake and Paula! I named my yellow stand mixer after her. Your carrot cake looks delicious and I’m sure someone (or a couple of someones) had a wonderful time eating it! :) I wasn’t born in the South, but I lived in Georgia and now Louisiana so I’m excited for this site and what’s next!


Erin April 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

Can I just say that I LOVE you named your stand mixer Paula? Because that’s fantastic! My husband and I had a great time eating the cake, and we ended up handing off the last slice to Rivs and her husband.

Thanks for stopping by. We’re excited to have you! And we’re excited that, even though you weren’t born here, you are hopefully enjoying your time in the Deep South!


Katherine April 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

My mom and I love Paula and carrot cake, just about equally. Even more, I love that this carrot cake is made without the tons of butter and oil that is usually found in carrot cake recipes. Definitely going to give this a try, and sent it to my mom to make for Easter at home!


Erin April 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

Hooray! I’m glad you and your mom are both carrot cake AND Paula fans! And I agree – when I substituted out the oil for applesauce, I was a bit skeptical, but it turned out wonderfully! I’m excited to hear what y’all think about the recipe.


Laura Tinker September 6, 2012 at 5:53 am

This recipe turned out fantastic. I used applesauce instead of oil. I also put pecans in the cake instead of walnuts. The recipe was vey easy to make. I checked on the cakes at 20 minutes and it was done already. So, be sure to check on the cakes to make sure that they don’t get overbaked. I made it for my father in law’s birthday and he loved it. I love Paula Deen’s recipes. This definitely is worth making.


Laura Tinker September 6, 2012 at 5:55 am

It was for 30 minutes not 20 minutes that I baked the cakes.


Erin September 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

Thanks so much for your review, Laura! I’m so happy to hear that it turned out well, and it was easy to make. Successful baking makes my heart happy, and I am so glad everyone enjoyed the recipe and the final cake! Nice work, lady!


Jacque Foster March 3, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Paula, I would love to try your carrot cake recipe. I have been trying to make one that isn’t to dry or falls flat for forty years. Do you have any suggestions as to how I could make high altitude ajustments to your recipe? I would surely appreciate any help you might have.

Love to watch you on television! Jacque


Erin March 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Hey there, Jacque. We aren’t Paula, just two Southern ladies who are fans, as well. Sadly, I don’t know much about baking in high altitudes, but I do know that this cake is delightfully moist, thanks in part to the addition of applesauce to the recipe.

King Arthur Flours has a fabulous guide to high-altitude baking here: I’m not sure if you’ve tried what they suggest, but it sounds like those adjustments could certainly work for you! And we would love to know what you think of this cake if you give it a try after making the specific adjustments for your altitude!


SheilA March 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I am making this recipe now. However I did google Paula Deens carrot cake and this one is the only one I noticed used baking powder as one of its ingredients. I actually was looking for a recipe with the baking powder because I thought that the ingredient might have been mistakenly left out of the others and should belong. Do you know why this is so. I wonder which is truely her true recipe? Do you think it makes a difference?


Erin March 15, 2013 at 6:34 pm

SheilA, I adapted this recipe from Paula’s that is found in the cookbook listed above. In the cookbook, I believe baking powder is also listed as an ingredient, but I am not 100% sure, and I am not sure why other recipes don’t call for it. This is just my interpretation of hers, as I added applesauce in lieu of the vegetable oil her recipe calls for, and it has always turned out wonderfully for me. Happy baking!


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