1poundmedium carrots, 6 to 7 large carrots, ends trimmed and peeled or unpeeled (I never peel them)
1 ½cups(318g)granulated sugar
½cup(106g)packed light brown sugar
1 ½cupsvegetable, canola or other neutral-flavored oil (see note)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
8ounces(227g)cream cheese, softened to room temperature
5tablespoonsbutter, softened to room temperature
1tablespoonsour cream, light or regular
1 ¼cups(143g)powdered sugar
Toasted, chopped pecans, for garnish (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position.
Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray or lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a food processor fitted with large or fine shredding disk (or using a box grater and shredding by hand), shred the carrots for about 3 cups total.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in large bowl using a hand-held mixer OR by hand with a whisk), beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.
Reduce the speed to medium and with the mixer running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against the inside of the bowl.
Increase the speed to high (or just whisk like crazy) and mix until the batter is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.
Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain (don't overmix).
Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 32 minutes for 9-inch round pans and 40 minutes for a 9X13-inch pan.
Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert them onto a cooling rack to cool completely (the 9X13-inch cake can be cooled completely in the pan if you don't plan to invert and ice all the sides).
For the frosting (see note below about doubling for a layer cake), mix the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl with rubber spatula as needed.
Add the powdered sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
Frost the cake and garnish with toasted, chopped pecans, if desired.
Cake Pans:this cake can be made in two 9-inch round cake pans or a 9X13-inch cake pan (other commenters in the thread below have made it into cupcakes and other pan sizes, too). Frosting: I recommend doubling the frosting for a 9-inch layer cake. Applesauce vs Oil: Many commenters (below) have reported that using half applesauce/half oil (3/4 cup of each) works great.Make-Ahead: I almost always make this cake a day ahead of time. I refrigerate it fully frosted and take it out a few hours before serving to take the chill off.