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Milk Bar's Carrot Cake

makes 1 quarter sheet pan of cake

Chef notes

This carrot cake is as classic as it gets. Warm baking spices, earthy carrots and sweet sugar combine to make a perfect cake. A double dose of fat from butter and grapeseed oil keeps it incredibly moist and gives the crumb a velvety texture.


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • cups shredded peeled carrots (2 to 3 medium-sized carrots)
  • nonstick cooking spray (optional)



Heat the oven to 350 F.


Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.


On low speed, stream in the oil. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and paddle for 4 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your original fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture and completely homogenous, with no streaks of fat. Don't rush the process! Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.


On very low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together, and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.


Detach the paddle and remove the bowl from the mixer. Dump the shredded carrots into the bowl and, with a spatula, fold them into the batter.


Spray a quarter sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment or just line the pan with a Silpat. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan.


Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. The cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. At 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: The cake should bounce back slightly, and the center should no longer be jiggly. Leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn't pass these tests.


Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack, or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don't worry, it's not cheating). The cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.