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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Grease a 9 x 13-inch glass or metal baking dish.
  2. Prepare the icing: Place the cream cheese and butter into a medium-sized bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and lemon juice, beating until light and creamy. Cover with wrap and leave unrefrigerated as you prepare the cake.
  3. Prepare the cake: Place all of the cake ingredients in the order listed into a large bowl and stir together until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and smooth it out evenly within.
  4. Transfer to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes away clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  5. Ice the cake: Transfer 2/3 of the prepared icing onto the cake and spread it out evenly across the surface.
  6. To serve: Cut the cake into either 12 or 24 squares. Serve squares as is or, decorate each with a small rosette of the remaining icing, a carrot slice and a tiny bit of carrot greens.
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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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A rich, moist carrot cake made with fragrant spices and walnuts topped with a tangy lemon cream cheese icing…

  • clock icon
    60 MIN
  • 12-24 SERVINGS
Our Best Carrot Cake

“Gonna be good” is actually an understatement. OUR BEST CARROT CAKE is fantastic!

Check this out!

– easy carrot cake recipe – just one bowl and one spoon required, and since Carol nixed my idea for multiple layers, it’s a simple slab cake.
– a perfect mix of a sweetened batter and the spiced flavours blended with the dry ingredients.
– moist and tender, as in really moist and tender.
– iced with a lemon cream cheese frosting that’s applied while the cake is still in the baking dish – love!
– made with carrots – carrots are loaded with vitamins and minerals which means they’re good for us. That means it’s okay to have two or even three pieces… truth!

Seriously, this cake is the showstopper we’ve been dreaming about. Best to PIN the recipe to a favourite dessert or cake page or BOOKMARK for easy access. SHARE it with friends so they can tell the whole world about it too. We’d also appreciate seeing pics of the main course when you make it. Use #weekendatthecottage when you post on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks!

Here’s the rundown on OUR BEST CARROT CAKE recipe:

All of the ingredients you'll need to make our carrot cake with cream cheese icing.
This cake has a wonderfully moist texture and spiced flavour profile.

INGREDIENTS

I love this photo of the ingredients because it reflects the process – straightforward and extra easy. All of the ingredients are readily available and I bet you already have them on hand. We had a discussion about the walnuts and decided to include them because, what can I say, I’m nutty. That said, we purposely made the recipe without including pineapple, raisins, and premium nuts like pecans. If your home or cottage is a nut-free zone, you can leave them out and the cake will still work fine.

All of the ingredients for the easy cake batter are placed into a large bowl, ready to be stirred together.
Place everything for the cake batter into a bowl. Stir. Bake. (Told you is was easy!)

GRATED CARROTS

This recipe is all about one of my favourite root veggies, the carrot. Carrots add great texture to this homemade cake recipe and you can grate them using a box grater or food processor, whichever you find easier. Packed with vitamins like calcium and potassium, carrots are also loaded with protein and minerals. They consistently rank high on the healthiest vegetable lists – think nutrition with every bite. Head HERE to learn about why they’re so good for us. We also love the way carrots play with the spice mix we created for this recipe.

The batter for the carrot cake placed into a glass casserole dish ready to be baked.
Don’t forget to batter the glass casserole before adding the batter.

CAKE BATTER

If you’re like me, you probably (hopefully) already have a bag of carrots in your fridge or pantry. You can use them for this recipe, but if you can, it’s preferable to track down organic carrots with the greens still attached; they taste better and have more flavor. Save those greens as a garnish – more about that in a bit. The recipe gives you the option for 2-3 cups of grated carrots, but I personally think three cups make for a tastier cake.

When assembling the cake batter, simply grab a medium bowl and rubber spatula. Then add the flour mixture, large eggs, and vegetable or canola oil and stir. One thing about the spices for this delicious cake; we went with cloves, ground cinnamon and ginger. Feel free to add nutmeg too if you’d like.

Our Best Carrot Cake fresh out of the oven.
This recipe creates a large slab which is perfect if you’re serving a crowd.

SIMPLE SLAB CAKE

Simplicity is the order of the day with this cake, and Carol was spot-on to suggest we forgo a multi-layer dessert extravaganza. That said, this entire recipe is baked and served from a large, oven-safe glass casserole. Yup, no specialty cake pans or 9-inch round cake pans required.  if you’re so inclined, have at it but our simple, straightforward approach makes this recipe a keeper! The slab concept seems especially apropos for the cottage setting because we’re serving and eating it right from the dish. Bake, ice, cut, eat… enjoy!

Ingredients for Lemon Cream Cheese Icing.
Bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature before beating the icing together.

CREAM CHEESE ICING

You’ll be able to make this easy and tangy icing recipe in no time; all you need is a small bowl and a hand or stand mixer. Then it’s a standard 8 ounces of cream cheese, butter, icing sugar, lemon juice, and a teaspoon vanilla extract. Two PRO TIPS for the icing. First, have the butter and cream cheese at room temperature before you go to make it. Second point – this icing will totally work if you tweak the recipe to make carrot cake cupcakes!

Creaming together a tangy, lemony icing
This icing can also be used on carrot cake cupcakes – hint!

FLUFFY ICING

Up at the top of this post, I mentioned how you should share it with all your friends, but now an addendum! Get a friend, family member, or even kids in on making the icing. This is a great basic recipe for first-time icing-makers and even those who might be culinarily challenged. Simply grab a large bowl and start blending everything together on low speed. The powdered sugar gets dusty so go slow until everything is combined, then increase to medium speed to get a light fluffy icing.

Ready to ice the carrot cake
You can add the icing right before serving.

THE CARROT CAKE IS DONE

Always test your cake for doneness using a cake tester or toothpick. Then remove it from the oven leaving it to sit on wire racks to cool. Once the cake has cooled you can add the cream cheese icing. It’s a forgiving icing so with a few simple, artful swipes of the icing and you’re ready to serve. I love how easy it comes up from the baking dish when you cut and serve too.

Carrot cake with lemony cream cheese incing
Such a relaxed dessert with big flavours.

As mentioned above, you can also up your presentation game by fashioning a flower from a slice of carrot and making a tiny icing rosette to hold it up. Tuck a few leaves of the reserved carrot greens behind the carrot slice, snap a pic, and post it on all your socials using #weekendatthecottage. We, and the rest of the world, wanna see it!

Squares of the carrot cake served with a topping of lemony, cream cheese icing.
Some folks (Hey, Nik!) have been known to eat two pieces!!!

Just a few final things to mention about OUR BEST CARROT CAKE. First, it travels really well, so you can make it the night before, iced and all, and stick it in the cooler or take it as is to a cottage weekend or neighbourly get-together.

Fancy cut carrots and carrot greens for garnish
A little creativity and you can add a beautiful garnish.

Second thing, the recipe welcomes experimentation and we invite you to come back for our updates or, post your own variations in the comment section below. We’re already thinking CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES and a SPICED CARROT ROLL CAKE. Stay tuned!

Our Best Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing.
Our best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. Fabulous!

If you’re here because you like cakes, you’ve come to the right place. We love cakes too! Don’t forget to check out our cheat cakes: a nutty WHISKY CAKE or a classic HARVEY WALLBANGER. You might also like this SPICED PARSNIP CAKE or our pride and joy, this TOASTED COCONUT LAYER CAKE. Each and every one is scrumptious!

The perfect balance of moist and tender in a spiced carrot cake topped with creamy lemon icing. This truly is OUR BEST CARROT CAKE. Enjoy!

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • For the carrot cake:
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 6 carrots, peeled and grated (about 2-3 cups)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • butter grease pan
  • For the lemon cream cheese icing:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • juice half a lemon
  • For garnish:
  • cream cheese icing rosettes
  • thin slices carrot
  • carrot greens

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Grease a 9 x 13-inch glass or metal baking dish.
  2. Prepare the icing: Place the cream cheese and butter into a medium-sized bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and lemon juice, beating until light and creamy. Cover with wrap and leave unrefrigerated as you prepare the cake.
  3. Prepare the cake: Place all of the cake ingredients in the order listed into a large bowl and stir together until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and smooth it out evenly within.
  4. Transfer to oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes away clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  5. Ice the cake: Transfer 2/3 of the prepared icing onto the cake and spread it out evenly across the surface.
  6. To serve: Cut the cake into either 12 or 24 squares. Serve squares as is or, decorate each with a small rosette of the remaining icing, a carrot slice and a tiny bit of carrot greens.

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