Add all your dry ingredients to a large bowl (your flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon) and mix well
Now add your vegetable oil and vanilla to your dry ingredients and mix it all in.
Next beat in your eggs one at a time into the mixture.
Grate your carrots and then add those into your batter. I like to grate a bunch of carrots (usually about 4 large ones) and then scoop that into a measuring cup to measure out the 3 cups. You do not press the shredded carrots into the measuring cup when measuring.
Now add your 3 cups freshly grated carrots to the batter and gently mix it in until incorporated.
Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 8" round cake pans - try to make each pan have the same amount of batter.
Bake for approximately 30- 35 minutes until a wooden toothpick comes out clean when stuck in the middle of the cakes. If you are using 9 inch cake pans then add a few more minutes. It will be ready when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Take pans out of oven and let sit in pans on cooling racks to cool for approx. 5 minutes.
Then turn out cakes carefully & let cool completely on the racks.
Once cooled you can frost your cakes right way or store them with parchment paper in between the layers if you are making the cake a day ahead of time.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a medium bowl add your softened cream cheese, room temperature butter, powdered sugar and vanilla
Mix on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes until it is all light a fluffy
Frosting the cake
Take ¼ of the frosting and place on one layer of the cake. Spread evenly over the cake with an offset spatula or knife.
Place the second layer of your carrot cake evenly on top of the frosting.
Repeat the step above with ¼ of the frosting and spreading it evenly over the cake.
Now add your third layer of cake on top.
Add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake.
Gently spread the frosting over the top of cake working from the middle out to the edges.
Gently push the extra frosting from the top of the cake over on to the sides.
Frost the sides of the cake until all the sides are covered in frosting, being careful not to drag the cake itself into the frosting.
Once the sides are all frosted, gently scrape away a little of the frosting from sides until you can start to see the carrot cake.
Touch up any imperfect frosting areas on your cake.
Now add your toasted walnuts to the center of your cake.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
You can make this cake ahead of time (up to 2 days ahead), including the frosting on the cake and store it in the refrigerator. You can serve it chilled or at room temperature by letting it sit on the counter for about an hour.It is great both ways!
To make carrot cake cupcakes.
First you will need to half the recipe (this will yield 12 cupcakes). To do this easily just toggle the serving size in the recipe from 8 slices to 4 slices.You will follow the recipe the same way and instead of pouring the batter into 3 cake pans, just add the batter to a prepared cupcake tin.For the baking time, bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out smooth.