carrot cake from the faux martha

I’m a dreamer. As I child, I dreamt I would play in the World Cup, like Mia Hamm. As a teenager, I dreamt I would drive around in a brand new VW Bug, with a fresh flower occupying its interior vase. As an adult, I dreamt I would be a baker. A baker who made a really good carrot cake.

slice of carrot cake from the faux martha

I never played in the World Cup. Nor did I get that green VW Bug (besides the model car my dad bought as a cruel joke on my sixteenth birthday). But I baked. Though, that doesn’t necessarily make me a baker. My business card reads “designer,” and I sit at a desk all day, not over a mixer in a kitchen. But I make a good carrot cake.

carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting from the faux martha

A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me to bake a cake for her 40th birthday. I was elated. She asked me to bake her cake instead of the bakery down the street. I’ve made cakes before, but always for parties that I am in attendance. It’s not the same. But this time I was commissioned. I don’t know if she’ll ever know the power of that question—will you bake a cake for me? Maybe, maybe, one day I’ll be a baker.

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Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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  • 1 pound carrots, finely grated
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves


  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 16 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 34 c. powdered sugar


  • 1/4 c. shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted


  1. Cake. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper. Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. (To grate carrots, use grater, VitaMix, or foor processor.)
  2. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
  3. Distribute batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely before icing. To remove cake from pan, loosen edges with an offset spatula and discard parchment paper.
  4. Frosting. Place one stick of butter in a small saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until butter is browned, about 5 minutes. Pour into small bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to cool.
  5. Once cooled, cream together browned butter, regular butter, and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix.
  6. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix well between each addition. After 3 cups, taste to see if additional sugar is necessary.
  7. Assembly. Place bottom layer of cake on cake stand, leveling the top if necessary. Add a layer of icing. Place second layer on top, leveling if necessary. Dirty ice the cake. Place in refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill. Finish icing the rest of the cake using an offset spatula. Using the back of a spoon, drag circles in the top of the cake for the swirl effect.
  8. Garnish. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired.
  9. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Serve cake at room temperature.


• For in-depth cake assembly instructions, click here.

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Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes. Frosting inspired by Kitchen Heals Soul.

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