Divine Carrot Layer Cake

A recipe from “Dulce de Leche,” an Argentinian cookbook by a Pittsburgh author.
March 01, 2017


By Olivia Kappler | Photograph by Michael Fornataro | Styling by Alyssa Otto

Dorita was known for her torta de nuez (nut cake), and I’ve come into my own bit of fame since I started making this cake with three thick layers of dulce de leche. In fact, years ago when I couldn’t find dulce de leche in our local market, this is the cake that led me to finally make my own. 

I’ve had people ask me if I use food coloring to achieve the candy-orange color, but it really is only due to the quantity of carrots in the batter. Be sure to use a food processor to shred them quickly. This is an impressive cake for a special party. For a simpler two-layer version, cut the recipe in half. The cake is superb by itself, but that much sweeter with cream cheese frosting. 

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two 9-by-1 ½ -inch round baking pans. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the carrots, oil and eggs and beat until well combined. 

Divide the batter between the two baking pans. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans, then invert the cakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely. 

Make the cream cheese frosting:

In a clean mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, beating until well combined. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining sugar until the desired spreading consistency is reached. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the frosting or at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour to set. 

Layer and fill the cake:

With a long serrated cake knife, slice each cake horizontally in half. Put one of the cake halves rounded side up on a plate and spread the top generously with 1 cup of the confectionary dulce de leche. Continue to layer and fill the cake with the remaining cake halves and confectionary dulce de leche in the same manner, ending with a flat cake layer on the top. 

Frost and decorate the cake:

When the cream cheese frosting is set, spread it on the top and sides of the cake, covering the entire cake. Decorate as desired. Cover the cake and allow the frosting to set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. The cake keeps, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. 


For the cake
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 cups (about 1/2 pound) finely shredded carrots
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 8 large eggs
For the cream cheese frosting
  • 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 6 1/2 to 6 3/4 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
For the filling
  • 3 cups confectionary dulce de leche, divided
  • Chocolate kisses, shavings of fine quality chocolate, or edible flowers for decorating the cake
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