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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Perfect for any occasion, this Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Canadian Living is one of the best carrot cakes you will ever taste!

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on cake stand.

This Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is by far the most delicious carrot cake I've ever tasted. The cake is dense, moist, lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and includes shredded carrots, dried coconut, crushed pineapple and pecans.

The cream cheese frosting has a touch of lemon juice which gives it a nice tang and makes this cake taste absolutely amazing!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on platter.

How to Make it

The recipe for this cake is adapted from Canadian Living's Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing. Here's an overview of the ingredients and steps needed to make this carrot cake, you will find amounts in the recipe card at the end of this post.

Ingredient Overview:

  • All-purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour - or you can use just all-purpose flour.
  • Ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg
  • Baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Brown and white granulated sugar
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Eggs
  • Oil - vegetable or other light tasting oil
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Grated carrots
  • Crushed pineapple - canned
  • Shredded coconut
  • Toasted pecans

For the cream cheese frosting you will need:

  • Cream cheese - brick-style
  • Unsalted butter 
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Heavy cream, half & half cream or milk
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Icing sugar

Steps Overview:

  • Pre-heat oven and grease and flour two 8-inch round pans or line one 9×13 inch cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour with cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • In second large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, eggs and oil, until there are no lumps.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a large spoon until evenly incorporated.
  • Add the grated carrots, crushed pineapple, shredded coconut and pecans.
  • Divide the batter evenly into two round pans or one rectangular pan. Spread the top so it’s smooth.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes and then run a knife around them before inverting the cakes onto a wire rack to cool.

Tip: Toasting the pecans before adding them to the cake batter will enhance their flavor and texture. To toast raw pecans, simply preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pecans evenly on a baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes, stir and toast for 3 to 5 minutes more until pecans are fragrant and their color deepens. Remove from the oven and let cool before chopping.

To make the cream cheese frosting:

  • Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add lemon juice, heavy cream or milk, vanilla extract and salt. Beat until incorporated. Add one cup of icing sugar at a time, beating in between additions. Beat the frosting until smooth and frost cake.
A slice of carrot cake on a dish.

How to Prep Ahead

This cake can be baked up to a two days ahead of time and frosted on the day you plan to serve it. Make sure to wrap the cooled cake layers in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

Unfrosted cake layers can also be frozen. Bake and cool layers then wrap in plastic wrap. Place the layers in a large freezer safe container or into freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw cake layers overnight in the refrigerator. Prepare the cream cheese frosting and assemble cake on the day you plan to serve it.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting on platter with slice removed.

How to Store

This cake keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Simply cover any leftover frosted cake or store in an airtight container before refrigerating it.

All of my taste testers found this version of the carrot cake just as delicious as the original. But you can judge for yourself, here is the original recipe for the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from Canadian Living.

If you love carrot cake but want something easier and quicker to make and with fewer calories take a look at this Carrot Muffin recipe for muffins made with carrot purée. If you prefer to use grated carrots, these Whole Wheat Carrot Muffins and this Healthy Carrot Bread are both delicious and healthy recipes!

More Cakes to Try

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Author: Adapted slightly from Canadian Living
This moist and dense Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is one of the best carrot cakes you will ever taste, the cream cheese icing is simply amazing!
4.86 from 7 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 558 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour Or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ pure maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil or other light tasting oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup drained canned crushed pineapple
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chopped toasted pecans

Frosting:

  • 8 oz. package regular cream cheese One package brick-style, softened
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. heavy cream you can also use milk or half & half cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 cups icing sugar**

Instructions
 

For the cake:

  • Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
  • Grease and flour two 8 inch round pans or one 9×13 inch cake pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine both flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
  • In another bowl, beat brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, eggs and oil, until there are no more lumps.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a large spoon until evenly incorporated.
  • Add the grated carrots, crushed pineapple, shredded coconut and pecans.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the two round pans or the one rectangular pan depending on what you prefer. Spread the top so it’s smooth.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 28 to 30 minutes, for the 8 inch round pans and about 35 to 40 minutes for the larger 9×13 inch pan.
  • Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes and then run a knife around them before inverting the cakes onto a wire rack to cool.

For the Frosting:

  • In the bowl of your mixer, on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  • Add the lemon juice, heavy cream, and vanilla extract, beat for 1 more minute then add the salt and one cup of icing sugar at a time until you have the desired consistency, I used 4 cups of icing sugar.

Notes

  1. The cake can be baked up to two days ahead of time and frosted on the day of serving. 
  2. Toasting the pecans will enhance their flavor and texture. To toast raw pecans, simply preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pecans evenly on baking sheet. Toast for 5 minutes, stir and toast for 3 to 5 minutes more until pecans are fragrant and their color deepens. Remove from the oven and let cool before chopping.
  3. When making layered cakes I always like to weigh my pans so that I know I have the same amount of batter in each, this way you get even layers.
  4. When using the icing for a layered cake it is better to add more icing sugar to have a stiffer icing which holds better on the sides of the cake. However, if you are serving this cake in a 9×13 inch pan, 3 cups of icing sugar is sufficient for the frosting.

Nutrition

Calories: 558kcalCarbohydrates: 85gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 308mgPotassium: 279mgFiber: 3gSugar: 67gVitamin A: 3775IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 72mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Carrot Cake, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Tried this recipe? Have any questions, comments or suggestions? Leave a comment below!Mention @sweetandsavourypursuits or tag #sweetandsavourypursuits!

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Recipe Rating




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Maria Dernikos

Monday 9th of February 2015

This is such a wonderful combination.

Sweet and Savoury Pursuits

Monday 9th of February 2015

Thank you!

Lily

Sunday 15th of June 2014

Thanks for visiting my blog, really glad to meet you, love your recipes, new fan!

Ayesha

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

this look so yummy.....all that creamy goodness!! :)

Sweet and Savoury Pursuits

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

Thanks! It's really the best I've tried.

Rana

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

That is the best carrot cake I ever tried!! Moist and delicious!!

Sweet and Savoury Pursuits

Tuesday 22nd of April 2014

Thank you Rana!

eclecticoddsnsods

Monday 21st of April 2014

both combinations i love, one to try x

Sweet and Savoury Pursuits

Monday 21st of April 2014

Thanks! I would love to know if you give one a try!

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