Karen's Carrot Cake

Currently playing at the Lyric Stage until February 9, The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter centers around Della, a Southern baker who values her traditional roots, as she is faced with the task of baking a wedding cake for her deceased best friend’s daughter and her soon-to-be wife. What is The Cake without the obvious? Our own Karen MacDonald, who plays Della, is also a talented baker and shared her special carrot cake recipe with us!


For the cake-

  • 2 ½ cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 2 cups of grated carrots (4 large carrots)

For the cream cheese frosting-

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring all ingredients together by hand.
  2. Add your vegetable oil and melted butter to the bowl, using a hand mixer to combine all of the ingredients together.
  3. Add one egg at a time to the mixture. Pour in one tablespoon of vanilla, and mix well.
  4. Take your grated carrots and add them to the mixture, using a spatula to mix all of the ingredients.
  5. Grease two 8-inch pans and flour the sides. Line the pans with parchment paper on the bottom, then fill the two pans with the mixture. Bake for 40 minutes. After removing both pans from the oven, let the cakes cool for 15 minutes.


  1. In a stand mixer, beat the unsalted butter and cream cheese, making sure both ingredients are at room temperature.
  2. Add vanilla and salt to the mixture. Afterwards, add the powdered sugar gradually.


  1. Level the tops of each cake with a knife or cake leveler. Top one of the cakes with frosting and smooth it down into an even layer. Place the other cake on top and frost the top and sides of the cake.
  2. For an extra sprinkle of pizzazz, do crumb coating on the frosted cake. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Do a final frost and decorate the cake as you wish. Slice up and enjoy!

Catch more scrumptious-looking pastries and see Karen MacDonald as Della in Lyric Stage’s production of The Cake, running through February 9.

Photo: Cake design by Lauren Corcuera