Friday, January 22

Grandma Elder's Carrot Cake

This is a moist and delicious carrot cake that's not too sweet and gets raves each time I make it.
I usually make it as a sheet cake but it is so much prettier as a layer cake!

My mother-in-law Coy Lynch handed down her mother's Carrot Cake recipe to me many years ago. Her mother was AnnaBelle (Sharer) Elder from Alexis, Illinois. 
 I never got to meet Annabelle but the cousins all talk fondly of visits to her house. Annabelle and husband John H. had 5 children, one of which is the famous and highly successful high school coach John K. Elder. 

It has nothing to do with the recipe but here's a little horn tooting for my husband’s side of the family: John K. Elder has been inducted into both the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Hall of Fame. In 2008 John received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of Coaches Association Directors and in 2003 the Gerald Ford All-American Coach Award from the All-American Football Foundation.
Pretty cool!

The photos are of Grandma AnneBelle and Grandpa John (Tuck) on the left and their 5 children on the right.  My mother-in-law Coy is first girl on the left in the back row.  Love the wagon in the photo. 

So anyway, carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts, especially since I'm really not much of a chocolate fan. I know terrible right?
I remember back when I was much younger I would stop as often as I could and purchase harvest carrot muffins from the now defunct Big Bear Store bakery. Those were amazing.
And this recipe comes pretty close.

  • I rearranged the steps or directions for more convenience.
  • The original recipe called for a dash of salt which I made into a 1/8 teaspoon.
  • I increased the cinnamon to 1 tablespoon and added ¼ teaspoon ginger (optional) and a ¼ teaspoon cloves (optional).
  • I reduced the oil just a little, by ¼ cup.
  • I like adding a cup of raisins but you can also add a cup of coconut.
  • This cake can be make ahead of time and put in the freezer un-frosted until ready to use.
  • This recipe can also be baked as muffins, just reduce bake time.
  • Use fresh grated carrots for best results, but you can purchase already grated carrots at most grocery stores!

Grandma Elder's Carrot Cake


2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups vegetable oil (reduce just a little if desired)
3 cups finely shredded carrots
4 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
Dash of salt (or 1/8 teaspoon)
¼ teaspoon each ginger and ground cloves (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (or 1 Tablespoon cinnamon)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Raisins or coconut, (optional)

Shred fresh carrots


In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and oil. Add shredded carrots and beat well.
Add eggs, one at a time and mix well after each egg.
Add in one cup of flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Mix together the ingredients by steps given

Mix well. Stir in the remaining 1 cup of flour and nuts.
For a layer cake grease (I use butter) 2 or 3 round cake pans.
For a sheet cake, grease one 9 x 13 baking dish.

Iced sheet cake, yum!

Pour batter into desired baking dish and bake at 350 degrees:
25 to 30 minutes for round cake pans.
35 to 40 minutes for a sheet cake.

This cake doesn't last long

Butter Cream Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectionery sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Little milk if needed

Allow cake to cool completely before adding frosting.
Mix together all ingredients until creamy. Spread on cake. 

Below are photos of the recipe made into a layer cake.  Much prettier than a sheet cake, I think.  

Isn't it wonderful to have old family recipes?  I have zero  from my great grandparents or other older relatives.  But I have been collecting recipes from current family members to pass on to my children by making a Scrapbook Cookbook.  

Happy baking,

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Anonymous said...

I made this recipe and you are right, it is wonderful. And congrats for having such a highly successful coach in the family! Tara Jones

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks Tara!