I rarely say this but this is the best carrot cake with cream cheese frosting recipe that you will ever taste. It’s easy to make, the cake is super soft and delicious, and that cream cheese frosting on top gives it that ‘wow’ factor.
I still remember the first time I had carrot cake. We were over at my friend Hira’s place and she offered it to us. I was super skeptical at the idea of a vegetable in a cake, but the first bite of that cake was a revelation. The carrots had just about melted into the cake; it was sweet but not sugary sweet and super soft. And that tangy creamy cheese frosting on top complemented the cake so well. Absolutely delicious.
I got the recipe from her, and since then this cake is a regular in my baking rotation. I would wait for winters when carrots are in season – beautifully red, sweet and fresh. Then I would treat myself by buying the best quality cream cheese for the frosting because you just can’t have carrot cake without cream cheese frosting.
How to make carrot cake with cheese frosting?
- Start off with making the batter for the cake. Whisk oil and sugar, followed by the eggs. Then add the carrots followed by your preferred flavorings – walnuts or raisins, cinnamon or nutmeg, orange marmalade or orange zest, perhaps some toasted coconut or maybe just everything together. Fold through the flour, pour into the pan and bake till done.
- Prepare the icing by beating cream cheese, butter and icing sugar together. Fold through the lemon zest and vanilla essence. Set it aside and then lick the spoons. The icing is THAT good!
- Once the cake is cool, spread the frosting over cake, and serve.
This recipe does make for a fairly large cake. Not that I mind, because it means I can enjoy carrot cake for the entire week.However, when I do make it, I keep half for home, and take the other half to work or distribute it to friends. They love it!
Have you ever made carrot cake with cream cheese frosting? What’s your favourite add-in to the cake?
If you are looking for other dessert recipes, do try out the following:
Would love it if you could try out and rate the recipe, and let me know how it was in the comments below!
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour / maida
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 tablespoons marmalade if not available, use ½ teaspoon orange zest
- 3 cups freshly grated carrots
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- ½ cup shredded coconut toasted
Cream Cheese Icing
- 250 grams cream cheese softened (at room temperature)
- ½ cup butter softened (at room temperature)
- 1.5 - 2.5 cups icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
Butter / oil a 13 x 9 inch rectangular baking tray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper or baking paper. Butter/oil and flour paper; tap out excess flour.
Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk with a fork and set aside.
In a large bowl beat oil and sugar with a hand beater or stand mixer for about 2 minutes till combined. The mixture will be quite liquid and grainy, but some of the sugar will have dissolved.
Add eggs one by one, beating for about 30 - 40 seconds after each addition.
Add cinnamon powder and orange marmalade. Mix. At this point set aside the mixer. The rest of the ingredients will be mixed with your hand using a spatula.
Add carrots followed by the walnuts and coconut, and fold through.
Add the sifted flour and fold through.
Pour batter into the prepared baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for 40 - 50 minutes till skewer inserted in centre of cake is clean, and the top is golden brown.
Set aside the cake to cool.
Cream Cheese Icing
Sift about 2 - 2 ½ cups icing sugar into a bowl
Make sure that the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature and cut into cubes.
Place the cubed cream cheese into a large bowl.
Beat with an electric whisk for about a minute till creamy.
Add cubed butter, a few cubes at a time, while beating till mixture is creamy.
Add icing sugar, ½ cup at a time, and beat till required consistency and sweetness is reached. Add vanilla essence and lemon zest at the end, and fold through.
If you feel the cream cheese icing is too hard, add a few tablespoons of milk.
Once the cake is cool, cover with cream cheese frosting. Cut into squares and enjoy.
- Shredded or grated carrots are quite similar, and both will work in the recipe. Carrots can be grated by hand or in an electric food processor.
- For the cream cheese icing, it’s important to make sure that the cream cheese and butter are at room temperature, otherwise they won’t beat properly. They should be soft, but not melting.
- If you don’t have a 13 x 9 inch rectangular baking tray, you can use other baking pans, just adjust baking time accordingly. The amount of batter will be enough for two 9-inch round cake pans, or 22 - 24 cupcakes.
Options for playing around:
- If you don’t have orange marmalade, you can substitute it with orange or lemon zest.
- I am not a fan of raisins, but people do enjoy raisins in carrot cake. If you want to use raisins, reduce the walnuts to ¼ cup or eliminate them altogether and add 1 cup of raisins.
- Another optional ingredient is nutmeg - only a pinch though as the flavour, especially if grated fresh can be overpowering.