This carrot cake recipe is amazing! A perfect harmony of spices with a soft and moist texture and the crunch of pecans. Served with a delicious cream cheese frosting it is the best carrot cake I have ever tasted.
If you don't like carrot cake, you simply haven't tried the right recipe yet! And that was exactly my case before I made this recipe.
A very popular cake, flavored with spices that remind the gingerbread. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves are used, which I chose to slightly dose in my recipe.
And to counterbalance the spicy taste we use a very perfumed brown sugar which brings sweetness to the cake.
Why use carrot in this cake
Carrot cake does not taste like a carrot at all!
It's a bit like chocolate cake with zucchini or brownie with beets. Back in the day, carrots were used because they were more easily accessible than other ingredients. It is neutral but brings a slightly sweet taste and adds a melting texture which gives even more softness to the cake.
Cream cheese frosting
Carrot cake is usually served with a creamy fresh cheese frosting called "cream cheese". This is the same cheese that is used to make cheesecake, and it goes perfectly with the cake's spices and nuts.
- 8 inch baking pan
- Pastry whisk
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
Ingredient note to make a carrot cake
- Carrot : Use about 4 medium carrots to make this recipe, you can use more or less depending on your preference.
- Flour : All purpose flour, not cake flour with yeast. Measure quantities with a scale and not with measuring cups for more precision.
- Raising agent : A combination of baking soda and baking powder is used to ensure a good fluffiness.
- Spices : The most used are cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, I voluntarily did not dose the spices much but you can increase the quantities a little if you want to have a spicier cake.
- Eggs : Use eggs at room temperature
- Vegetable oil: A neutral oil such as rapeseed oil, grape seed oil or walnut oil.
- Sugar : A combination of flavored brown sugar and granulated sugar.
- Salt and vanilla : Balances the flavors and perfumes the cake.
- Pecans : Crushed to add crunch to the texture of the cake, you can mix with almonds and walnut kernels.
A layer carrot cake
Here I chose to make 2 cakes baked separately and then assemble them into a layer cake, but you can very well divide the recipe in 2 and make only one single cake.
How to make the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Preparing the carrot cake
- Preheat the oven to 347°F / 175°C and line an 8 inch / 20 cm round pan with parchment paper.
- Peel and finely grate the carrots and set aside.
- Mix together the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown and granulated sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla and grated carrot.
- Gently fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula until the mixture is smooth and liquid.
- Finish by adding the crushed pecans.
- Pour the mixture into your prepared pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Allow cake to cool completely to room temperature.
Preparing the cream cheese frosting
- Place the chopped and softened butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy and smooth.
- Add cream cheese and continue beating on medium speed for another 2 minutes until thick and smooth.
- Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla and mix again for 2 minutes.
- Keep your frosting in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Assembling the carrot cake
- Place a first layer of cake on a serving plate and cover with a thin layer of cream cheese.
- Cover with a second layer of cake and cover the entire cake with the remaining icing.
- Decorate with crushed pecans.
Other spice cake recipes
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Carrot cake recipe with cream cheese icing
- 225 g Carrots - grated - about 4
- 240 g Flour - all purpose
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp Baking powder
- 1 pinch Nutmeg ground
- 1 pinch Ginger ground
- 1 ½ tsp Cinnamon ground
- 1 pinch Cloves ground
- 1 pinch Salt
- 3 Eggs - at room temperature
- 165 g Brown sugar
- 100 g Granulated sugar
- 190 ml Vegetable oil - grape seed, hazelnut or rapeseed
- 2 tsp Vanilla
Cream cheese icing
- 200 g Butter - softened and diced
- 180 g Cream cheese
- 200 g Confectionner's sugar
- 1 tbsp Cornstach - optionnal
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 347°F / 175°C and line one or two 8 inch / 20 cm round baking pans.
- Place and mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar and powdered sugar. Add the vegetable oil, vanilla and grated carrots.
- Fold in the dry ingredients with a spatula.
- Add the crushed pecans and mix until you have a liquid mixture.
- Pour the mixture into your pan and bake for about 35 minutes.
- Let the carrot cake cool completely at room temperature.
- Place the softened, diced butter in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat for about 2 minutes until creamy and smooth.
- Add cream cheese and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until smooth.
- Stir in confectioner's sugar, vanilla and cornstarch and mix again for 2 minutes until thick and creamy.
- Fill the inside and outside of the cake with the cream cheese.
- You can mix crushed nuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts
- Divide the recipe in 2 to make only one layer of cake
- Use room temperature eggs
- You can increase or decrease the amount of grated carrots according to your preference.
Storage:You can keep the carrot cake alone at room temperature for about 1 week, covered with a cloth or in a storage box.
It is also possible to keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months, by placing it in a storage bag or in a box.
For the cream cheese it is only in the fridge, if you use it on the cake then keep your cake in the fridge