Photo: Charles E. Walton IV
Prep Time
40 Mins
Bake Time
40 Mins
Makes 8 to 10 servings

Add some citrusy zing to traditional carrot cake by adding orange zest and orange juice to the batter before baking.  For an extra punch of flavor, try adding some zest to the homemade cream cheese icing as well.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°. Spread chopped pecans on a sheet pan, and toast at 375° for 5 minutes; set aside to cool. Line 2 greased 9-inch round cake pans with wax paper, and set aside.

Step 2

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sift together flour and next 4 ingredients. Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. Add milk and half of flour mixture; blend well. Add remaining flour mixture gradually for a smoother batter.

Step 3

Stir in orange zest and juice, vanilla, grated carrot, and toasted nuts. Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans, and bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into center of cake comes out clean. (Layers may sink a bit in the middle.)

Step 4

Let layers cool in pans 10 minutes; transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely. Top 1 layer with Cream Cheese Frosting; add second layer; frost top and sides of cake.

Chef's Notes

Store the finished cake in the refrigerator to keep the frosting from getting too soft.

Ratings & Reviews

kateerf's Review

April 14, 2013
Very tasty cake. The spices and orange made this cake better than the average carrot cake. I added the orange zest to the frosting and just used 2.5 cups of powdered sugar for the frosting. Both were good decisions. I might even try reducing the sugar a bit more the next time I make this. I suggest checking the cake after 35 minutes. Maybe my oven was too hot, but 40 minutes was too long and the edges were overbaked and dry.

JoWall's Review

March 28, 2014

txtante's Review

January 21, 2013

LoveCookingLite's Review

January 01, 2013

bakerchick's Review

October 27, 2010
The cake was good, but a little too sweet for my taste, but perhaps that is the nature of a carrot cake. Also, I thought the icing could have been made with a little less sugar, perhaps 2.5 cups instead of three. Although I did not try it, I would agree with some of the other reviewers that adding a little acid in the icing would help to cut the sweetness.

adinscore's Review

July 12, 2010
Yummy! Big hit with for a co-worker's birthday and relatively painless to make. I also added some orange zest to the icing for a little extra orange flavor. The icing and cake are definitely not as sweet as some--which is one of the things I like about it.

Scline527's Review

May 21, 2010
This is a recipe that can be served at any occasion. It can be a winner amoung groups of all ages.

Brettni's Review

March 31, 2010
I loved this recipe! I will never make carrot cake again without oranges. I also added a little orange zest in the cream cheese icing. It was great!

RecipesDeb's Review

October 26, 2009
I have made several carrot cakes but this was by far the best. Very moist and delicious. Will definitely add it to my "company" list of desserts. I used a store bought cream cheese frosting and that was a little rich but overall awesome!

micheyeag's Review

June 04, 2009
The cake is wonderful. My husband loves carrot cake and after a few different tries, we've determined this is the keeper. However, the cream cheese frosting needs adjustments (I found the original to be "too thin"). I used 8 oz. cream cheese and 5-6 cups of powdered sugar. This worked better for us.