24-Karat Cake


carrot cake

I’m only 24 years old, but I’ve already inherited an heirloom. An heirloom recipe, that is. Last year, I praised my grandmother’s carrot cake as one of the best desserts ever. That’s saying a lot because chocolate is my favorite food. I have fond memories of that cake because it accompanied me since I was four, from birthdays to holidays to “every day.” Like I said before, it was the standard by which I compared all other carrot cakes. Sadly, my grandmother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and stopped cooking several years ago.

Up until that post, I was afraid that the cake would be a distant part of my memory. No one knew the recipe except for my grandmother. Thanks to my readers’ comments, I mustered enough courage to ask for the recipe. It seemed like such horrible timing; my grandmother was in and out of the hospital.

Finally, my aunt tracked down the recipe. My grandmother hid it in her purse for 15-20 years! Although she was frail, my grandmother laughed when she heard that I wanted the recipe. “I can still make the best carrot cake,” she said. About a month later, she fell into a coma and died.

When I made this cake, I was not disappointed. It was just spicy enough and had lots of carrot flavor. Trust me, I’ve exhausted all the variables for the best carrot cake (Nuts or no nuts? Pineapples or raisins? Cinnamon AND nutmeg? Coconut?), but this one is worth its weight in gold.

Here it is, as my mother translated it from Chinese.

Grandma’s Carrot Cake

This receipt is from Jessica Su’s Grandma. She used to bake this cake for the family and it’s enjoyed by everyone.


2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Banking Powder
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Teaspoon Cinnamon Powder
2 Cups Sugar
1 ½ Cups Oil (may reduce a ¼ cup)
4 Eggs (in room temperature)
½ Cup Crashed Walnuts
3 Cups Shredded Carrots
1 Cup Minced Pineapple
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract


  1. Shift the flour, banking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
  2. Beat the egg
  3. Mix the dry ingredients, beaten egg, oil, carrot, pineapple, walnuts, and vanilla
  4. Pour the mix in a bundt cake pan (don’t need to oil the pan)
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degree, and bake for 1 hour.


  • For cupcakes, bake for 20 minutes. Yields about 2 dozen.
  • I used 1/2 cup of oil and 1 cup of applesauce. It still yielded a moist and airy crumb. Actually, maybe a little too airy! I like carrot cakes that are denser. To combat this “problem,” I recommend using half whole-wheat flour. You may also use 100% whole-wheat pastry flour or white whole-wheat flour.

Comments (15)      Email Email      Print Print


  1. amanda said,

    This recipe not only looks amazing (and carrot cake is one of my favorite sweet things) but the post was also heart-warming and really makes me want to spend more time with the elders in my life. Thanks.

    May 31, 2006 at 3:44 am

  2. Gerald said,

    Thanks for sharing the recipe with us. It must’ve been amazing to see the recipe and her handwriting on a 20 year old piece of paper.

    May 31, 2006 at 10:48 am

  3. mika said,

    Wow, looks good. A piece of grandma still lives in this cake. Thanks for sharing a heirloom recipe.

    June 1, 2006 at 12:02 pm

  4. lorrain said,

    Grandma would be very proud of you for sharing her recipe with public. She would say, “My cake is the best good eats.” (–direct translation from Chinese).

    June 1, 2006 at 9:52 pm

  5. Boston gu-gu said,

    What a 24-Karat post. You’re amazingly creative as always, thank you for sharing your fond memories of grandmother with us. I know my mom would’ve been so pleased with your 24-Karat Cake.

    June 22, 2006 at 12:20 am

  6. Deb said,

    Lovely post. My grandma Lillie made the best coleslaw. Wish I’d gotten her recipe for it.

    June 25, 2006 at 8:05 pm

  7. jacqueline said,

    hello su
    my grandma also makes really good carrot cake- the chinese kind though. everytime i go back home during holidays, she will make them for us.
    thankyou for a wonderful post to remind us to treasure our family while we can.

    May 29, 2007 at 3:42 pm

  8. jen said,

    no offense to your grandma, i’m convinced i have the best carrot cake recipe.
    when i looked at yours i was surprised to see a shared interesting ingredient, pineapple. but my recipe uses cooked pureed carrots which i’m convinced makes it super moist. it also has coconut which gives it a nice sweet punch. if you ever want to try another one email me for the recipe.

    March 1, 2008 at 11:50 pm

  9. yh said,

    Thanks for sharing, love that you posted as is. I am sorry you had to say good-bye.

    May 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm

  10. livia said,

    i am learning about carrots for my work related lessons every tuesday and i am wondering what makes a good carrot. and i need help that .if its okay u let me know how to find out . thanks

    October 7, 2008 at 9:55 am

  11. Loreliebrh said,

    Hi Su,

    Thank you for saving my day; i was in search earlier today for a tasty, less fuss carrot cake and gladly i bump into this recipe that you inherited from your grandma. My husband love it very much. Actually, cooking meals is more of my forte and baking is more likely a secondary priority for me. So officially, i made my first bake product out of your recipe. I made a few changes with the recipe as a personal preference and used the remaining nuts as a topping and voila! it turned out to be perfect. Thank you very much..( i wish to upload the picture of it but im not sure where)..

    August 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm

  12. Jessica "Su Good Sweets" said,

    Lorelie, thanks so much! I had no idea a recipe could have such an effect on people. Unfortunately I don’t know how to let people upload pictures here, but I’m sure your cake looked great.

    August 26, 2009 at 11:42 pm

3 Links to this post

  1. Su Good Eats » Food bloggers’ potluck

    […] Dave also made Queen of Sheba cake with Scharffen Berger chocolate and cacao nib whipped cream. I’m not a fan of plain Scharffen Berger chocolate: it’s much too assertive, acidic and tannic for my tastes. Suprisingly, it worked beautifully when it was mixed in the virtually flourless cake. It was the best Queen of Sheba I’ve ever had. My only regret was not bringing more home. Not suprisingly, the recipe is from Alice Medrich. Man, my perfect meal would be Stephanie’s curry soup, Dave’s focaccia, a healthy side of beans and Dave’s chocolate cake. Stephanie of Adventures of Pie Queen brought her mother’s carrot cake. I didn’t have a chance to try any, but I have a soft spot for my grandmother’s. […]

    November 15, 2006 at 1:23 am

  2. Honeybee*Hill » Blog Archive » I want everything

    […] and we had a visit on Saturday. She wanted a carrot cake, so after searching the internet I settled upon this recipe and followed it exactly. Holy crap! That was the best damn carrot cake — and quite possibly […]

    March 31, 2008 at 6:55 am

  3. I want everything | mjhill.net

    […] we had a visit on Sat­ur­day. She wanted a car­rot cake, so after search­ing the inter­net I settled upon this recipe and fol­lowed it exactly. Holy crap! That was the best damn car­rot cake and quite […]

    May 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm