Appalachia Appalachian Food

Granny’s Carrot Cake

granny's carrot cake

Several years ago I decided I wanted to make a carrot cake. I searched and searched online till I found the fanciest recipes you’ve ever seen for carrot cake. I tried a couple of them and didn’t like a one. Finally I did what I should have done in the first place, went down to Granny’s and got her carrot cake recipe.

As I copied down her tried and true recipe I noticed at the top it said Kay Morgan’s Carrot Cake.

In Granny’s hand written recipe book she always writes down the name of the person who shared the recipe with her. I find myself doing the same thing.

Kay and her husband were close friends of Granny and Pap’s back when I was a baby and Paul wasn’t even born. I wonder what Kay Morgan would think about us still making her carrot cake all these many years later.

Granny and Kay Morgan’s Carrot Cake

  • 2 ½ cup self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sodie (baking soda)
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups shredded carrot
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • ½ stick butter/margarine
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

old fashioned carrot cake for easter

Cake directions: Mix together flour, cinnamon, salt, and sodie-set aside.

Cream sugar and oil.
Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each.
Add dry ingredients and mix till combined.
Add carrots and mix till combined (and nuts if using)

Pour batter into 3 greased 9 inch cake pans and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or till done. Granny’s notes say you can add a little milk if the batter is too thick but I’ve never had that problem.

Let cake layers cool while the icing is made. My layers always stick unless I use parchment paper to line the bottoms. Most of the time I go with the theory that what matters is how a cake tastes not how it looks.

Icing directions: Mix cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Spread over cake and sprinkle with coconut. I only spread the icing between the layers and on the top. Granny ices the entire cake-I guess you’d say I take the easy way out.

This is the time of the year for Carrot Cakes and I have one of Granny and Kay’s sitting in my kitchen, if you lived close enough I’d share a piece with you.


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  • Reply
    Sue McIntyre
    May 4, 2021 at 6:37 pm

    I having been looking for an old fashioned carrot cake recipe. I did have a question, do I still need to use soda with self rising flour? My husband bought a “made from scratch” carrot cake recently, but it was more like a dense bundt cake. I am looking for a lighter version. Thank you!

    • Reply
      May 4, 2021 at 7:01 pm

      Sue-that’s what the recipe calls for-both self rising flour and soda so that’s what I’ve always done 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    April 4, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    Carrot cake is my brother’s favorite! Momma always made him one for his birthday . It was a lot like your recipe but momma made her’s in cast iron skillets. She made 4 or 5 thin layers. Dad was in charge of grating the carrots and always said there was a little bit of him in every bite! I miss them so much. Good memories.

  • Reply
    Brent Clayton
    April 4, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    can you do it in a 9×13 cake pan

    • Reply
      April 4, 2019 at 3:52 pm

      Brent-I think it would work just fine 🙂

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Lord, that looks luscious. If I lived closer, I’d take you up on that offer of a piece, maybe two. LOL
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Ruth Binder
    March 27, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks so much for sharing! Ruth Binder, Ohio

  • Reply
    Gina Price
    March 27, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Tipper ! Yuuuuuummmmm! Carrot cake is the best, and your family recipe is a must try !! I appreciate you, and wish you Happy Spring !

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 11:51 am

    That Carrot Cake looks delicious! I’m going to write down Granny’s and Kay Morgan’s recipe and try this thing out soon. Since I like raisins I may add some to the recipe.
    I shared an Oatmeal Cake recipe from when I worked on my first job at American Thread. A friend’s wife re-wrote and mailed it to me and said it had been about 50 years ago and she’d have to think what the ingredients were. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    March 27, 2017 at 11:38 am

    You live a little ways out of my driving range (no, I don’t play golf) but save me a piece anyway. I’ll get there if I can but don’t look for me til you see me coming.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 10:57 am

    I love carrot cake! This recipe looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing it with your readers! So yummy; I will find a reason to try this one!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 10:37 am

    Ooops! – I should proof before posting! In the second sentence the unfinished sentence so say something about the carrots being ready to pull about the time the last of the citrus (usually valencia oranges) was coming in. – – sorry about that – slight interruption. . . .

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 10:34 am

    As a farm girl growing up in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, we often had fields of carrots growing around us. It would be time to pull the carrots about the time of the last They are one of the prettiest crops to see growing – such a beautiful, lacy, green. We ate lots of carrots in lots of ways including fresh-pulled from the field. Of course, there were carrot cookies, carrot muffins, carrot breads, and carrot cakes. Mom’s and Grandma’s Carrot Cake recipe was very similar to your Granny’s/Kay Morgan’s recipe except we would grate the carrots fine and add an extra cup sometimes adding raisins, gold raising when we could get them and the pecans (which we also had an abundance of from our trees) went in the frosting instead of coconut. When we did add coconut, it went in the cake batter.
    The only carrot cake I didn’t take a liking to had ground cloves in the batter although I do like to add a little nutmeg to the cinnamon in the batter.
    Carrot Cake is definitely comfort cake!

  • Reply
    Dee Parks
    March 27, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Your cake looks delicious and I am sure I would love it so I will try the recipe this week. I love coconut, but my husband does not, so I will make it with coconut when I take it to sewing servants at church and make one at home without the coconut (or just sprinkle some on my piece) lol. I can remember my grandmother saying sodie for baking soda. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply
    Chritine Armor
    March 27, 2017 at 9:09 am

    That looks so delicious it would be worth the trip!! Is Baltimore, MD close enuf??? Chris

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    March 27, 2017 at 8:16 am

    Seems like the old recipes are still the best. Maybe it is just that what we grew up with is always better.
    My Mother always said “new fangled recipes usually leave out a smidge or lump of something .

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    March 27, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I can vouch for this cake. I’ve eaten Granny’s Carrot cake and it is the best!
    It’s really interesting how those old hand written recipes become like old friends. I can look at the hand writing on my old recipes and know who they came from. It’s like a little visit to the past.

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 8:01 am

    I’m not much of a cook , but your professional quality food photos tempt me to try some of the recipes. So far just vicarious enjoyment.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (misplaced Southerner)
    March 27, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Carrot cake is my favorite! I made one many years ago and it’s still the best I ever had. No telling where the recipe came from – or where it went. Like you, I’ve tried all kinds of different recipes, but none have come close. I do remember that there were raisins and pineapple in that cake – raisins in the cake along with pecans and drained, crushed pineapple in the icing. No reason I couldn’t add those to this recipe and I’ll bet it’s just as good or better than the one I remember.

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