Pastel De Zanahoria (Carrot Cake)

The BEST Pastel De Zanahoria you’ll ever have! Fluffy & moist with real grated carrots and a Mascarpone frosting. This cake is always a hit!

a slice of Pastel De Zanahoria and the whole cake in the background

Pastel De Zanahoria is a classic favorite in Mexico just as our beloved Arroz Con Leche is. This recipe is made the classic way with fresh carrots as they are the key for a moist cake. The walnuts are a must too!

We’re using Mascarpone frosting which is not the standard one (aka cream cheese) but this one is a life changer! Try it and you’ll love it as much as we do.

Pastel De Zanahoria with a slice cut off

Ingredients

These are the ingredients you’ll need to make Pastel De Zanahoria

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound carrots grated
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Ingredients on a white table: whole carrots, flour, sugar, eggs, oil, walnuts, cinnamon and vanilla

How To Make Pastel De Zanahorias

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Grease 2 (9 x 2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease the flour the pans.

Two cake pans buttered and floured

In medium bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Sifting flour, baking soda, salt and cinammon
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. Stir in the vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
Mixing batter with a hand mixer

In a medium bowl, toss the carrots, raisins, walnuts, and the 1 tablespoon of flour.

Mixing shredded carrots with pecans, and 1 tablespoon of flour

Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula.

Mixing shredded carrots in the cake batter
  • Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for 30 to 35 more minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Two cake pans with batter inside
Two cakes baking in the oven

Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, turn out onto baking rack, and cool completely.

Two freshly baked cakes on a cooling rack

Frost with delicious Mascarpone frosting and top with walnuts if you would like.

THE MASCARPONE FROSTING

This Mascarpone frosting is light and creamy with a hint of cream cheese flavor. Once you have this one, you’ll never want to go back to using the classic cream cheese frosting. So good!

  • 12 oz mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Be careful not to over beat since it can make the frosting curdle.

Pastel De Zanahoria cut into slices

Success Tips

  • Use real fresh carrots…not the ones that come pre-shredded. Using fresh carrots is the secret to a super moist Pastel De Zanahorias.
  • I didn’t use them on this recipe but you can add raisins, shredded coconut or minced pineapple chunks if you’d like.  This batter can hold about 1/2-1 cup of add-ins.
  • If the frosting turns out runny (may be due to how you’re measuring the sugar), you can add more confectioner’s sugar until you reach desired consistency. Place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before frosting the cake. This will ensure it stays on the cake when applying it.
  • Store cake in refrigerator and bring to room temperature (if you like) before serving it.

FAQ’s

If I use two 8″ round cake pan, then do I need to adjust the temperature and baking time?

No need to adjust the baking temperature. However, you may need to add a few minutes to your bake time. To check a cake to see if its done. Insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean it’s ready!

How many carrots equal a cup?

2 carrots

We found that it took about 2.75 medium carrots to obtain 1 cup of grated carrots. When sliced or chopped, only 2 carrots were needed to reach the 1 cup mark.

Can you substitute the all purpose flour with Almond or coconut flour?

Assuming you want to make it gluten free, my preferred GF brand is Bob’s gluten-free 1 to 1 baking blend. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out!  https://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-1-to-1-baking-flour.html

A cake on top of a cake stand.

Other sweet recipes you may like

Hope you enjoy this fluffy Pastel De Zanahoria!

Take good care,

Ana

a slice of carrot cake and the whole cake in the background

Carrot Cake

Servings 12 slices
Ana Frias
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
The BEST Pastel De Zanahoria you'll ever have! Fluffy & moist with real grated carrots and a Mascarpone frosting. This cake is always a hit!

Equipment

  • Mixer
12 slices

Ingredients
  

For the Cake

  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pound carrots grated
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins optional

The Mascarpone Frosting

  • 12 oz mascarpone cheese at room temperature
  • 4 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Grease 2 (8 x 2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease the flour the pans.
  • In medium bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. Stir in the vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the carrots, raisins, walnuts, and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees, and bake for 30 to 35 more minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, turn out onto baking rack, and cool completely.
  • Place one cake on a flat serving plate, rounded side down, spread half the frosting on the top (not the sides). Place the second cake on top of the first cake, rounded side up. Frost just the top of the second cake.

Make the Cake

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cream, and vanilla together for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Be careful not to over beat since it can make the frosting curdle.

ADD YOUR OWN PRIVATE NOTES

Whenever you come back to this recipe, you’ll be able to see your notes.

NUTRITION

Serving: 1slice | Sodium: 282mg | Sugar: 57g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 189mg | Cholesterol: 52mg | Calories: 598kcal | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Fat: 31g | Protein: 7g | Carbohydrates: 76g

The nutritional information and US conversions are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee the accuracy of this data. If this is important to you, please verify with your favourite nutrition calculator and/or unit conversion tool.

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Recipe Rating




9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Ms Ana
    Can you please give me the variations for this recipe if I should add:
    a can of crushed pineapples w/ juice. thank you

  2. 5 stars
    That looks gorgeous! I’m so glad to see carrot cake back in popularity, mainly because it means there are tons of recipes to test out. I’m curious to see how well this would take to experimentation, because I’m almost always for adding lemon zest.

    1. Hi Jessica! I’m so glad too! It’s one of those classic cakes that should be with us always!!! I have no doubt you’ll love it! xo, ana

  3. 5 stars
    This cake looks awesome! I have been craving carrot cake too. I totally agree that anything goes at a wedding. It’s all about what the bride and groom want, not about what other people think they should have.

    1. Hi Laura! I think everybody loves carrot cake huh? I love non-traditional weddings where the bride and groom make it all about them (well, and good food for their guests lol). Thanks for the visit!

    1. That’s awesome Cindy! I had cupcakes too but not carrot ones. I should’ve done that! Thanks for stopping by 🙂