This three-layer carrot cake has three cups of carrots and a cup of pineapple and the cream cheese frosting is livened up with lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.

Every birthday deserves a home-made layer cake. Making one for my daughter Lizzie gives me as much pleasure as it gives her, more really. Healthy lifestyles are super important to our family but come on… it’s a birthday and a once-a-year excuse to pull out all the stops.

Fresh garden carrots and pineapple make this cake deliciously moist.

Carrot cake ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1  1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 large free run eggs
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Pre-heat oven to 350F and grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat together the oil and sugars for 2 minutes and turn the mixer to medium-low and add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour mix in two batches and mix until just incorporated. Add carrots and pineapple and mix until just combined. Evenly divide the batter among the three pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cakes come out clean. Cool and remove from the pans.

The addition of lemon adds a nice zest and pretty colour to the frosting.

Lemon cream cheese frosting

  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla and mix until fluffy.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream ingredients.


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp large egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups butter at room temperature, cubed
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • few drops of yellow food colouring

Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk together by hand to combine. Place the bowl on the top of the a saucepan filled with a few inches of water on medium-high heat to create a double boiler. Whisking intermittently, heat the eggs mixture until it registers 160F or is hot to the touch. Once hot, fit the bowl onto your mixer and whisk the egg white mixture about 8 to 10 minutes. The mixing bowl should be room temperature and the eggs should hold a medium-stiff peak when done. Swap out the whisk for a paddle attachment and add the butter a bit at a time with the mixer on low. Once all the butter is added, turn up the mixer and beat until smooth for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add a few drops of yellow food colouring to achieve a light lemon colour.

Some assembly required

Choose which will be your bottom layer and place it on a cake plate. Spread half the cream cheese frosting with an offset spatula. Top with another layer and spread the remaining frosting. Add the final layer and ice the top and sides of the cake with the vanilla buttercream. Make the spun-sugar decoration just before serving as it will only hold its shape for a short time.

Secure two wooden spoon handles to your sink with tape.


Spun sugar

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup

Secure two wooden spoon handles with tape over your sink. Add the sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup of water to a saucepan and heat on medium-high until the mixture reaches 300F, about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare an ice bath in a large metal bowl and set aside. As soon as the sugar reaches 300F remove from the heat and submerge the bottom of the pan in the ice bath. Let it stand about a minute and then dip a wire whisk into the sugar and wave it back and forth over the spoon handles. Working as you go, gather the strands and shape into a round shape with your hands about the size of your cake and add to the top of your cake.

Your spun sugar will dissolve if you refrigerate your cake…
Lovely Lizzie Lemony Carrot Cake!