Just a few guests at your party? This dainty cream cheese carrot cake is just the right size for a small gathering. There won’t be a single bite left!
If I ever meet Ina Garten in person, I am going to give her a great big hug. Her cookbooks have been the source of countless party and holiday’s worth of desserts and menu ideas at our table.
Years ago I fell in love with her carrot cake recipe. Featured in my all time favorite cookbook: “Barefoot Contessa Parties!” her carrot cake is written to be baked as carrot cake cupcakes. They are To Die For.
There’s just one problem. . .
Ina Garten ran a catering company and bakery. She consistently feeds armies of people. Her recipes are HUGE. Her cupcake recipe makes two dozen cupcakes. I’ve taken that batter and turned it into a gorgeous 2-layer cake for Easter, but we can feed off of it for weeks.
As much as I adore this cream cheese frosted carrot cake, it has been reserved for only very special occasions because my waistline doesn’t need a 2-layer carrot cake sitting around.
Over the weekend, the girls and I were having fun with some Easter crafts. Spring is coming and thoughts of this carrot cake appeared. It was a rainy Sunday and housebound as we were, baking sounded like it would be fun. I was craving the cream cheese carrot cake but didn’t want that big of a treat.
I’ve owned this darn cookbook for nearly 14 years and Sunday was the first time I thought to HALVE THE RECIPE, silly!!
A few simple adjustments and the cake fits perfectly into a one layer 8×8 pan. No fancy layers to decorate or pipe, no dozens of cupcake liners to wrangle and store awkwardly. Just a plain old glass pan with a simple sheet cake and cream cheese frosting.
I feel ridiculous that this never occurred to me before. I just got caught up in the fancy schmancy Pinterest-worthy baked confections gorgeousness that is the Ina Garten cookbook. Sometimes we can do with a little less schmancy.
And with the smaller quantities of everything, I had all the ingredients on hand already and it came together almost as fast as a box cake mix but soooooo much more delicious.
I highly recommend adding this to your spring rotation. It would be the perfect dessert for an Easter buffet too if you want to have a variety of treats without too much left over of any one thing!
Super easy cream cheese carrot cake recipe:Print
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 large carrots, grated
- 1/2 cup raisins
- For the Frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 stick of butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 pound confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan with butter.
- Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until they are light yellow. Add the vanilla and mix.
- In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, stir to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in the mixer bowl.
- Toss the carrots and raisins with an additional tbsp of flour to help prevent them from clumping. Add to the batter and combine.
- Spread the batter into the baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then TURN THE HEAT DOWN TO 350 DEGREES and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes.
- Please note: If you are using a glass baking dish, Preheat the oven to 375 and then turn it down to 325.
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment until just combined. Add the powdered sugar in batches and mix until smooth.