Cakes/ Cookbook Reviews/ Dessert

Carrot Cake Loaf with Thick Cream Cheese Frosting

I LOVE carrot cake.

I love carrot cake so much that I am requesting it for our wedding cake! To me, there’s absolutely nothing better in life than a thick slice of moist carrot cake topped with thick cream cheese frosting. I mean…it has carrots in it so it’s could be considered a little healthy, right? I ask this as I lick cream cheese icing off the spoon. I’ll tell you what I’m not wild about though, and that’s carrot cake loaded down with weird stuff like pineapple and raisins. thanks. Just give me carrot cake, plain and simple, and I’ll love you forever.

This glorious recipe comes from my friend Jenny’s new cookbook, The Picky Palate Cookbook. I love everything Jenny makes and we make her recipes at home all the time. And can I tell you what I really love about Jenny’s recipes? They are simple, no-mess-no- fuss recipes that everyone loves. You won’t find strange ingredients or complicated steps in anything….because what’s worse than finding a great sounding recipe then realizing that you can’t find one or two of the ingredients anywhere? I can’t stand that.

When I got Jenny’s cookbook, I kept flipping through it trying to decide what recipe to try first — they all sounded so good! I finally settled on this carrot cake because I have a thing for loaf cakes and already had a bunch of carrots on hand. Perfect.

The cake barely took fifteen minutes to mix together and while it baked my little kitchen smelled aaahhhhmazing. When it came out of the oven, it was all I could do to keep my paws off until it was cool and frosted. Speaking of, I really love how thick this version of cream cheese icing is! I mean, you can’t go wrong with any cream cheese icing but you know how some dribble down the sides? Not this. Super thick and delicious!

Share this cake with someone you love.

Carrot Cake Loaf with Thick Cream Cheese Frosting

yields 1 loaf

from The Picky Palate Cookbook

Print this Recipe!


1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 cups shredded carrots

2 1/4 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Cream together 2 sticks of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Slowly pour in the buttermilk then stir in the shredded carrots.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour.

Let cake cool completely before frosting. To make the cream cheese icing, beat together the softened cream cheese and remaining 4 tbsp butter. Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Spread frosting all over the top of the cooled carrot cake loaf.


2 hours (includes time to cool)

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  • Jen
    January 23, 2013 at 3:52 am

    Mmmm!! Looks delicious

  • Caroline @ chocolate & carrots
    January 23, 2013 at 3:58 am

    I love carrot cake too…so much so that I had it for the bottom and largest tier of our wedding cake! If you get married in Charleston I know just the bakery for the perfect carrot cake wedding cake…the one I got mine from, The Cake Stand, on James Island. It was the best and moistest carrot cake I had ever put in my mouth.

  • Angie @ Pint of Goals
    January 23, 2013 at 4:12 am

    I seriously woke up this morning thinking about carrot cake and cream cheese frosting – laying in bed, I decided I would be making it today or tomorrow. Imagine my surprise when I saw your post this morning! It is a sign – I am meant to make this ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    January 23, 2013 at 4:36 am

    Before I even read the post, just by the title, I thought, wow Jenny has a cake in her book I’ve been wanting to check out. And then BAM, it’s from Jenny’s book. And now I really just HAVE to make this. Jenna I love it! I love carrot cake + cream cheese frosting and that this is a simple cake to make, even better. Love Jenny’s recipes for that reason, too!

  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance
    January 23, 2013 at 4:42 am

    Our wedding cake was carrot–that’s how much I love it! I love the loaf idea–it looks delicious, Jenna!

  • Tabitha (From Single to Married)
    January 23, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Say no more. You had me at “thick cream cheese frosting.” Is there any other kind? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Dana
    January 23, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Love carrot cake!! Looks so delicious!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    January 23, 2013 at 4:47 am

    You weren’t lying when you said this was pared down to the most basic ingredients! Love the simplicity of it all and LOVE carrot cake. Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    January 23, 2013 at 4:47 am

    I adore carrot cake too! My mum is allergic to chocolate and nuts, so growing up, my sister and I never had any chocolate birthday cakes. There were however, heaps of carrot cakes and I love that you’ve chosen it for your wedding cake! The cream cheese icing sounds amazing. Carrot cake just wouldn’t be the same with anything else!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    January 23, 2013 at 4:50 am

    It appears the secret to this cake is butter and more butter. Never fails!

  • DessertForTwo
    January 23, 2013 at 4:51 am

    We’re doing carrot cake for wedding cake, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • megan @ whatmegansmaking
    January 23, 2013 at 4:53 am

    I love carrot cake too, but I’d add some crushed pineapple and walnuts into mine… ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t go wrong with Jenny’s recipes!

  • Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
    January 23, 2013 at 5:05 am

    Oh this looks amazing! I love carrot cake and this looks like just the perfect cake to enjoy it!

  • Amanda @ The Dormestic Goddess
    January 23, 2013 at 5:19 am

    I want…no, I *need* this in my life! Ohmygoodness, this looks too good. And I’m totally on board with the whole raisin/pineapple debacle. Bad things shouldn’t happen to good cakes.

  • Beth
    January 23, 2013 at 5:20 am

    Buttermilk makes everything better! Can’t wait to try another loaf cake. Your peppermint choc loaf cake is so delish that it is now my go to choc cake recipe. Maybe this will be my new go to carrot cake recipe.

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan
    January 23, 2013 at 5:35 am

    This is totally do-able as a breakfast food, right?! If a cake has veggies, it’s healthy enough to eat anytime. Love that jar with the chalkboard tag in the background!

  • Angela @ Happy Fit Mama
    January 23, 2013 at 5:56 am

    I absolutely love carrot cake. Of course the cream cheese frosting makes it all the better. Too bad hubs is NOT a fan of it at all. Maybe I should make this to try to convince him one. more. time. how good it is! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Melissa
    January 23, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Mmmm I always forget how much I love carrot cake. I also love making carrot cake cupcakes from a carrot loaf recipe. It helps me portion out the food I would otherwise gobble up!

  • Alisha @ Alisha's Appetite
    January 23, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Thick cream cheese frosting it all it took for you to say. I’m dying to make this! And I LOVE that you want to do carrot cake for your wedding- super unique! Your guests won’t forget that!

  • joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    January 23, 2013 at 6:40 am

    I’ve never seen carrot cake in loaf form – brilliant! Makes it seem like a health food, too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Amy Walters, aDESIGNdock
    January 23, 2013 at 6:46 am

    I’m not usually a Carrot Cake kinda gal, but with frosting like that, how could I possibly resist?!

  • Erica {Coffee & Quinoa}
    January 23, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Yum! I love the idea of a carrot cake wedding cake – so much tastier than the typical white cake with raspberry!

  • Pippa@sundaysupperswithpippa
    January 23, 2013 at 6:48 am

    I completely agree. Sometimes I add walnuts to my carrot cake, but in general I don’t like raisins in carrot cake and definitely no pineapple!

  • Ashley L
    January 23, 2013 at 6:57 am

    Easiest way to mess up a carrot cake: addin
    g raisins and pineapple. Thanks for the easy recipe!

  • Jana @ Happy Wife Healthy Life
    January 23, 2013 at 7:08 am

    This looks amazing! Carrot Cake is one of my favorites, but the best part of all is the thick cream cheese frosting! Yum yum yum! Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Carla
    January 23, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Awww, you had to do to this to us, Jenna??? (looks really good! haha). I like the idea of a thick cream cheese frosting – excited to try it.

  • Kristin @ Iowa Girl Eats
    January 23, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Oh yum. Oh yum. Oh yum!! I HEART dense and moist loaf cakes, and you’re right – nothing beats a good, thick, cream cheese frosting. What an awesome recipe – thanks for sharing, Jenna!

  • Makenzie Ann
    January 23, 2013 at 7:22 am

    This looks amazing Jenna ๐Ÿ™‚ haha now I really want to make some carrot cake…and it’s my brothers bday tomorrow so mom already baked a German Chocolate one…but can you really have too much cake?? doubt it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Sarah @ Yogi in Action
    January 23, 2013 at 7:32 am

    I love carrot cake! I will definitely be making this.

    And I love that your wedding cake will be carrot cake- I hope you actually do that. Chocolate and vanilla are way overdone!

  • Jill
    January 23, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I love carrot cake! And who wouldn’t love it as a loaf cake with thick slab of cream cheese frosting?! Delish!

  • Sydney
    January 23, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Looks heavenly! I agree, carrot cake is so much better without the raisins and pineapple ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to try this this weekend! Do you think you could get away with substituting applesauce for some of the butter? I think it would make a lovely addition!

    • jenna
      January 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      Not sure about the applesauce substitution because I haven’t personally tried that. Sorry!

      • Sydney
        January 23, 2013 at 6:29 pm

        That’s okay, thanks anyways! If I try it I’ll be sure to let you know how it turns out!

        • Rebecca
          January 25, 2013 at 9:20 am

          I think I’m going to use 1 stick butter, 1/2 cup pineapple yogurt (I love the pineapple/carrot flavor combination) and up the buttermilk to 1 C to make up for the last 1/4 cup of butter that I’ll leave out….we’ll see how it turns out in the end.

  • allie@sweetpotatobites
    January 23, 2013 at 8:15 am

    i love carrot cake and this loaf is a great idea! agree with the other comments that adding in raisins and pineapple can be too much.

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In
    January 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

    YUM! My parents had spice cake at their wedding…which I’m pretty sure is just carrot cake without the carrots. It’s a fav!

  • Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
    January 23, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Carrot cake has been my favorite since I was a kid.

    Do you know the history behind carrot cake? Not to be a nerd, but it’s pretty interesting!

  • deva at deva by definition
    January 23, 2013 at 8:26 am

    I love carrot cake – cream cheese frosting is DIVINE. and carrot cake is so yummy for breakfast!

  • Desiree
    January 23, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Oh my I’m RUNNING to the store right now to pick up buttermilk and cream cheese to make this. Just what I need on this day. Plus my son is allergic to nuts so this cake will be perfect for him too. Thanks for sharing Jenna.

  • Amy James
    January 23, 2013 at 8:39 am

    That was my wedding cake choice, love it. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Emily
    January 23, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Oh, I’m drooling. Carrot cake is the bomb.

  • Tess Marks
    January 23, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Making this tonight!

  • Elisabeth
    January 23, 2013 at 8:49 am

    This is my kind of carrot cake! I like nuts in carrot cake, but like you, I HATE pineapple & raisins in it…they just DO NOT belong there ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Mary @ The Kitchen Paper
    January 23, 2013 at 8:57 am

    YUM! I’m doing my own desserts (with the help of my mom and aunts!) for my wedding, and am basically going to use every pan I have: which includes a bunch of loaf pans! I’ll put this on my list of possibilities (have to try it first, and I’m sure I’ll love it!) for wedding desserts!!

  • Caroline L.
    January 23, 2013 at 9:01 am

    AMAZING! I love loaf cakes and carrot cakes and this just sounds perfect all around!

  • Sallie
    January 23, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Jenna, I also had carrot cake as my wedding cake and a chocolate cake for a groom’s cake. Everyone loved them! I still think carrot cakes are very unusual to see at weddings and a really nice surprise for the guests. Plus, the top of the cake that we saved for our first anniversary was so good! Not like some of the dry-er white cakes. Yum, yum! Good choice!

  • Kristin
    January 23, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Yum!!! I am drooling!

  • a farmer in the dell
    January 23, 2013 at 10:38 am

    carrot cake is my favorite! it’s what we had as our wedding cake!

  • Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats
    January 23, 2013 at 11:03 am

    yum! Ive only recently developed a love for carrot cake..this looks delish! I love things with frosting..lots & lots of frosting!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    January 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I am a carrot cake purist too – I love the simplicity of this cake. The thick layer of cream cheese frosting just takes this over the top. My mouth is actually watering right now!

  • Morgan
    January 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Have you ever had zucchini cake? I am a die hard carrot cake fan and while the zucchini cake isn’t the same, it still my #2 when paired with cream cheese frosting ๐Ÿ™‚ my grandma makes it all the time and I will have to get the recipe for you.

    • jenna
      January 23, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      I’ve had zucchini bread, not cake, but it sounds amazing! Yum.

  • Tara@Sugar Spice and Bacon
    January 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Mmm looks delicious! And sounds like a great book too!!

  • Colleen
    January 23, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I love carrot cake! It holds a very fond and funny memory for me….while my husband and I were dating in college he knew I loved carrot cake so he tried to make me one. Only he didn’t have a grater to shred the carrots so he used a veggie peeler! lol! Let’s just say it was very stringy!

  • Diane
    January 23, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Sorry but that is just a crazy recipe with too much butter! You can make a very moist cake wth half that amount or with oil.

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    January 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I love carrot cake too and ask for it for my birthday cake every year! And I agree – I don’t like any funny stuff in mine either haha.

  • Alissa
    January 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Mmmmm carrot cake is my favorite too! Also contemplating it as the wedding cake flavor for my wedding next year, I mean you can’t go wrong with carrot cake can you? I’ll have to try the recipe, looks delicious!

  • Katy
    January 23, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Now I have a craving! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl
    January 23, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Carrot cake is my absolute favorite!! This looks so, so good :).

  • Megan | Eats Daily
    January 23, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I used to DESPISE carrot cake and my family loved it. My brother would always request it for his birthday and I was always so upset. I tried it a few years ago though and completely changed my mind…it is so good! I really like this recipe, it seems simple enough and there aren’t any nuts thrown in! Thanks!

  • Annie L.
    January 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    my boyfriend got me a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and berries on top for my birthday last year, best cake ever!!!

  • cecile
    January 23, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    I love carrot cake. Always made mine in a round pan never in a loaf pan. Will have to try this one!

  • Laurie {Simply Scratch}
    January 23, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I love, love, love carrot cake… and that thick cream cheese frosting is perfection! Jenny’s cookbook is full of so many recipes I want to make… I think I’ll start with this one ๐Ÿ™‚

  • The Food Hound
    January 23, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Carrot cake was our wedding cake!! Don’t be afraid!! It’s a killer idea!! And this looks amazing, BTW.

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.
    January 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I love carrot cake too! It’s just so heavenly. And the more frosting, the better!

  • Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog
    January 24, 2013 at 6:35 am

    This cake sounds delicious – so does the frosting! I was very adamant about choosing my favorite cake (red velvet) as our wedding cake, so yeah for your carrot cake! Enjoy!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    January 24, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I love carrot cake too! It’s my all time favorite. This quick version sounds like such a delight. Great recipe!

  • bnw
    January 24, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Would you do anything different to make these cupcakes? Please let me know!

    • Taylor
      January 24, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      I would just bake them for a much shorter amount of time. Try 20 minutes and then go longer if a toothpick comes out wet.

  • Elizabeth Johnson
    January 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

    I live in a little Scottish village and cannot get my hands on any buttermilk, can I substitute milk for buttermilk?

    • Rebecca
      January 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

      I live in Mexico and can’t get buttermilk either. For a substitute I always just use the same amount of whole milk minus a tablespoon or so and add 1 T of vinegar to the milk. Let that sit for a few minutes and you’ll see the milk start to curdle and thicken like buttermilk. Always works perfectly for me.

  • Herble Pills Store
    January 24, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Carrot cake is my favorite this looks so sooooo good

  • Sheryl (Mimi)
    January 25, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Jenna….Made this and took it to work, not a crumb left, was so good. I added a cup of nuts, love me some pecans, thanks for sharing, and good luck with the wedding plans!!

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  • Marie
    January 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Just one more bride who had carrot cake with cream cheese frosting as the bottom tier of our wedding cake. The guests loved it! Friends had another huge carrot cake at our couples shower, too. Sadly, one birthday I had four different carrot cakes from family, friends and work. After being a sport and eating a piece at each gathering, I can no longer stomach it.

  • irritable bowel syndrome
    January 28, 2013 at 12:07 am

    always ask for it for my birthday cake every year…crazy about carrot cake..

  • Todd
    January 28, 2013 at 8:05 am

    This is the first time that I have seen your blog and after reading your post about Carrot Cake, I will be adding it to my favorites. You had me hooked with these three lines, “Iโ€™ll tell you what Iโ€™m not wild about though, and thatโ€™s carrot cake loaded down with weird stuff like pineapple and raisins. thanks. Just give me carrot cake, plain and simple, and Iโ€™ll love you forever. I have a Carrot Cake recipe that I tweaked and have been using for the last 12 years and as you mentioned, no Pineapple, Raisins or nuts.

  • Jamie
    January 28, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Made it. Devoured way too much yesterday. Not sure whether to love you or hate you for posting this recipe but wow – SO GOOD! Many thanks. = )

  • Condory
    January 30, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Hey can anyone maybe tell me how does coffee shops get their carrot cake frosting so hard? I can only do the normal fluffy soft one. PLZ PLZ PLZ if anyone can tell me let me know!!!

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      March 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Have you checked out the recipes on the King Arthur Flour website? I just took a baking class there and they are an amazing resource.

    January 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    carrot cake is so sweet.i like it

  • Ringing in your ears
    February 1, 2013 at 3:33 am

    Oh this looks amazing! ๐Ÿ™‚ haha now I really want to make some carrot cakeโ€ฆ

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    February 13, 2013 at 3:42 am

    Do you take the cake out of the loaf pan while hot or after it has cooled?

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    March 14, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Funny … we just signed up for a CSA share and are now drowning in organic carrots … this recipe came just in time!!!!! Off to baking loaves of carrot cake bread.

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  • Laura Dembowski
    August 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    This looks super yummy, and it was posted on my birthday – a sure sign I should make it asap ๐Ÿ™‚

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    August 29, 2013 at 3:00 am

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  • Jacqui
    October 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

    I have a feeling I’m the only person who has EVER actually made this recipe. The cake in the picture is NOT the cake you will get if you make this. The cake you will find in your kitchen upon completion of this recipe is nowhere near that dense. It is light and crumbly and totally falls apart. That is not even close to the worst part, I should have edited the recipe with my common sense which the person who wrote this recipe obviously does not have. WAY TOO MUCH butter and buttermilk involved. There is way too much batter, I didn’t even put all the batter in the cake pan but it still liquified and bubbled over making a huge smokey, charcoal, STINKY mess in my kitchen not to mention the hours of oven cleaning I now have on my chore list. I wanted to strangle someone after re-reading about how it will make your house smell nice or whatever, yeah if you think the smell of smoke filling your house and the smell of burnt black cake batter is appealing. I had to set up fans and open all the windows even though it was cold and raining and I still got a headache from all the smoke. This recipe could easily make 2 smaller loaves not 1 9×5. I followed the recipe EXACTLY, I am a homemaker and I spend all my time in the kitchen. I have baked countless cakes, cookies and pies from scratch and have never had any issues. I make dinner from scratch every night and am always using new recipes I find online. I have been cooking for decades and have a good sense for what works and what doesn’t. I only have myself to blame for following this recipe from this Jenny person that I have never heard of, I really should have gone with Martha Stewart or someone trust worthy. After putting a foil lined cookie sheet underneath this unfortunate disaster cake in my over to catch the obscene amount of falling cake batter I finished baking. After removing the cake from the pan I trimmed the parts off that had cooked over the edges and let it cool, it was so crumbly I knew it was going to break apart during frosting so I put it back in the pan with foil around it and left it in the fridge for a few hours to set, I made the frosting with 1 3rd less butter (I had already wasted so much expensive butter on the damn thing) and it came out very tasty. It didn’t drip but it wasn’t super thick as promised. I had added more cinnamon and a little nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice to the batter and the cake came out tasting pretty good but certainly not worth the nightmare. I made this cake yesterday and actually had some for breakfast this morning, It is pretty good like I said but I would never trust another recipe from this person and recommend that anyone attempting these obviously amateur recipes proceed with caution and with their common sense on full blast.

    • jenna
      October 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      That recipe is straight out of my friend Jenny’s cookbook and has been tested by both me and her with great results. I’m so sorry it did not work for you!

  • SouthernBelle
    October 20, 2013 at 7:16 am

    And also the weather and temps outside plays into factor as well.

  • kristal
    November 21, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Made this yesterday and it was met with rave reviews at work today.
    It did take longer to cook…closer to 80 minutes.
    It was absolutely delicious, moist and very tender.

    Thanks for sharing the great recipe.

  • Carrie
    November 21, 2014 at 9:38 am

    I know this post is almost two years old at this point, but I just wanted to leave a comment saying that this cake turned out really well for me. I almost didn’t make it because of a previous commenter’s negative review, but I decided to risk it anyway, and I’m so glad I did. I hope other people on the fence about making this recipe will give it a shot, because it worked perfectly in my home kitchen. My only tip is to make sure you only put 2 sticks of butter into the cake batter itself, as the recipe text says–the remaining 1/2 stick of butter is for the frosting!