Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This moist, fluffy homemade carrot cake is perfect for any celebratory occasion. It’s got the perfect amount of spices and is perfectly sweetened with maple syrup making this the best healthy carrot cake recipe.

Fluffy, tender cake with a moist crumb and loaded with shredded carrots, sweetened with maple syrup instead of sugar, and topped with added walnuts for the perfect crunch. The cream cheese frosting is the perfect topping for the best carrot cake recipe.

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

What Is Carrot Cake?

Carrot cake is a popular dessert that contains carrots mixed into the batter. Many people enjoy its moist and dense texture. The cake also has a light, tangy taste that balances the sweetness of the cream cheese frosting.

Many easy carrot cake recipes include nuts and fruit. Walnuts, pecans, cinnamon, ginger, and mixed ground spice are among the most popular additions. Fruit such as pineapple, raisins, and coconut can be used for natural sweetness.

What Does Carrot Cake Taste Like?

Contrary to what its name suggestscarrot cakes hardly taste like carrots. Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are the most common spices, so carrot cake can quickly remind you of a spice cake frosted with cream cheese.

Healthy Carrot Cake made with Cream Cheese Frosting

Easy Carrot Cake Recipe

This Homemade Carrot Cake is an easy dessert for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any celebration; I hope you’ll try this delicious homemade carrot cake filled with the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. It is frosted with a sweet maple cream cheese frosting.

Why you Will Love This Recipe

This cake is so simple to make from scratch with wholesome ingredients creating a classic dessert loved by all. It’s easy to make and requires less than 30 minutes in the kitchen. Here is why I love this recipe:

  • Delicious: This homemade carrot cake is so delicious! The carrots and spices are what create the fantastic flavor. You will not find applesauce, pineapple, or raisins in this recipe.
  • Simple: This simple carrot cake recipe is so simple to make. Whisk together the dry ingredient in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Make the frosting in another bowl with a hand mixer, and the cake is ready to bake and assemble.
  • Wholesome Ingredients: The recipe calls for organic all-purpose flour and spices. Instead of using refined vegetable oil, it calls for using butter. This healthy carrot cake recipe is sweetened with maple syrup or honey instead of granulated sugar.

kitchen Essentials You may Need

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You can find my favorite kitchen essentials by clicking on the links below. While I often try to link to the exact products you see in my photos and videos, my pieces are usually vintage and thrifted. However, I try to find and link replicas as much as possible, made in the USA or by other small shops, as I believe in supporting hardworking American families.

  • Round Baking Pans: provides quick and easy release of all baked goods and minimal, easy cleanup.
  • Baking Parchment Circles: Parchment paper circles ensure your cake comes neatly out of the pan. 
  • Medium Mixing Bowl: stoneware mixing bowls are my favorite in the kitchen. These bowls are durable, usable for cooking and serving, and can be passed down from generation to generation.
  • Hand Mixer: instead of using a stand mixer, a handheld mixer works perfectly for this simple carrot cake recipe.
  • Box Grater: used to grate the carrots.
Carrot Cake Ingredients

Homemade Carrot Cake Recipe Ingredients

This is no out-of-the-box carrot cake; this homemade carrot cake recipe is made from scratch with the best ingredients for unbeatable flavor and moist texture.

I always believe in using raw, organic, or fresh local ingredients. For bulk pantry ingredients like organic flour and organic spices, I order from Azure Standard.

  • Maple Syrup: Instead of making this cake with granulated sugar, it is sweetened naturally with pure maple syrup. I love the depth of flavor that the maple adds to the cake!
  • Butter: Instead of using vegetable oils, I prefer the delicious richness that unsalted adds to the recipe.
  • Eggs and Milk: 4 farm-fresh large eggs and milk help bind all the ingredients together.
  • Flour: for this recipe, I use all-purpose organic flour.
  • Spices – Cinnamon, Ginger, and Cloves: these delicious spices give the carrot cake a warm spiced flavor.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Helps the cake to rise.
  • Fresh Grated Carrots: If you’re looking to get the best taste and texture, it’s essential to choose thin or medium carrots instead of larger ones that can be more bitter. The carrots should be grated fresh, not pre-grated, making a big difference.
  • Vanilla: the addition of pure vanilla extract adds great flavor alongside the maple syrup and spices in this healthy carrot cake recipe!
  • Walnuts or Pecans: Optional, but I like them on the outside and top of the cake for the added crunch.

Homemade Cream Cheese frosting

Creamy cream cheese frosting is undeniably fantastic on carrot cake and is quite simple to make. To make the best cream cheese frosting, you’ll only need a few essential ingredients: cream cheese, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.

  • Butter: 2/3 cup of room temperature butter.
  • Maple Syrup: There is no need for confectioners’ sugar in the homemade cream cheese frosting. The only sweetener you need is the delicious flavor of maple syrup.
  • Cream Cheese: You will need 16 ounces of room-temperature cream cheese for this recipe.
  • Vanilla: I use pure vanilla extract for this recipe for the best flavor.
How to Make Homemade Carrot Cake with Maple Syrup

How to Make Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

You’ll love this fantastic healthy carrot cake recipe! This moist and delicious carrot cake is easy to make with basic, wholesome ingredients. The recipe yields one double-layer 9″ cake

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Mix the Wet Ingredients

In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup and room temperature butter with a hand mixer or wire whisk until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until blended, then add milk and mix. Add vanilla and mix in.

From Scratch Carrot Cake

Step 3: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a separate, large mixing bowl, mix flour with salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, baking soda, and baking powder. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a big wooden spoon until all the flour mixture is evenly moistened (a few lumps are ok).

How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake

Step 4: Grate the Carrots

Peel 5 or 6 large whole carrots using a box grater using the side with the smallest holes. Fold the grated carrots into the batter.

Healthy Carrot Cake

Step 5: Butter Round Cake Pans and Add Batter

Place a very thin layer of butter in the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Then, place a round sheet of parchment paper into the cake pan. The butter will help keep the parchment paper from sliding around.

Divide the carrot cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans and spread the batter into an even layer on top.

Step 6: Bake the Carrot Cake

Bake for about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 7: Cool

Cool the carrot cake for 10 minutes in the pan and reverse onto a cake wire rack. Let the baked cakes cool entirely before frosting.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Step 8: Prepare the Frosting

Meanwhile, prepare my favorite cream cheese frosting! Cream the butter and maple syrup until smooth with a wire whisk or handheld mixer. Add cream cheese and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Step 9: Frost Carrot Cake

When the cake has cooled, frost with cream cheese icing; place a small amount of frosting on top of one layer of cake until it is even. Place the other cake on top, and spread frosting around the side of the cake layers until it is finished.

If desired, layer walnuts or nuts of choice along the top and sides of the carrot cake.

How to Make Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Tips

  • Don’t overmix. I recommend stirring the wet and dry ingredients by hand until combined.
  • Grease your pans. Otherwise, your carrot cake might stick! I use my favorite round baking pans and a sheet of round parchment paper, creating a non-stick surface that the carrot cakes will easily slide out of the pan.
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting. I know it’s tempting to frost this cake when it’s warm, but don’t do it. If you do, the frosting might melt off, and you can end up with cake crumbles mixed into the icing. You may want to chill the frosting and the cakes so that the frosting stays firm while layering.
  • Start with softened cream cheese and butter. For the best result in making the homemade cream cheese frosting, set them out on the counter to warm up for at least 30 minutes before you get to start making the recipe.
  • Grate your carrots finely. The carrots will help the cake become light and fluffy, so use finely grated carrots to blend seamlessly into the cake.
Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe

More Naturally Sweetened Desserts

If you love this classic homemade carrot cake sweetened with maple syrup and cream cheese frosting, then visit these other naturally sweetened dessert recipes!

Printable Recipe: Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 8-12

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This moist, fluffy homemade carrot cake is perfect for any celebratory occasion. It’s got the perfect amount of spices and is perfectly sweetened with maple syrup making this the best healthy carrot cake recipe.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk or half-n-half

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Mix the Wet Ingredients

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the maple syrup and room temperature butter with a hand mixer or wire whisk until smooth and creamy. Add eggs one at a time and mix until blended, then add milk and mix again. Add vanilla and mix in.

Step 3: Mix the Dry Ingredients

In a separate, large mixing bowl, mix flour with salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves baking soda, and baking powder. Mix with a big wooden spoon until all the flour is evenly moistened (a few lumps are ok). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 

Step 4: Grate the Carrots

Peel 5 or 6 large whole carrots using a box grater using the side with the smallest holes. Fold the grated carrots into the batter.

Step 5: Butter Round Cake Pans and Add Batter

Place a very thin layer of butter in the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan. Then, place a round sheet of parchment paper into the cake pan. The butter will help keep the parchment paper from sliding around.

Divide the carrot cake batter evenly between the two cake pans and spread the batter into an even layer on top.

Step 6: Bake the Carrot Cake

Bake for about 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 7: Cool

Cool the carrot cake for 10 minutes in the pan and reverse onto a cake rack. Let the baked cakes cool entirely before frosting.

Step 8: Prepare the Frosting

Meanwhile, prepare cream cheese icing, cream butter, and maple syrup until smooth with a wire whisk or handheld mixer. Add cream cheese and vanilla and mix until smooth.

Step 9: Frost Carrot Cake

When the cake has cooled, frost with cream cheese icing; place a small amount of frosting on top of one cake until it is an even layer. Place the other cake on top, and spread frosting around the side of the cake until it is finished. If desired, layer walnuts or nuts of choice along the top and sides of the carrot cake.

Notes

Carrot Cake Tips

  • Don’t overmix. I recommend stirring together the wet and dry ingredients by hand just until combined.
  • Grease your pans. Otherwise, your carrot cake might stick! I use my favorite round baking pans, and a sheet of round parchment paper which creates a non-stick surface that the carrot cakes will easily slide out of the pan.
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting. I know, it’s tempting to frost this cake when it’s warm, but don’t do it. If you do, the frosting might melt off and you can end up with cake crumbles mixed into the icing. You may want to chill the frosting and the cakes so that the frosting stays firm while layering.
  • Start with softened cream cheese and butter. For the best result in making the homemade cream cheese frosting, set them out on the counter to warm up for at least 30 minutes before you get to start making the recipe.
  • Grate your carrots finely. The carrots will help the cake become light and fluffy, so use finely grated carrots to blend seamlessly into the cake.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thank you for sharing!

2 thoughts on “Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

    • I imagine that it would although I have never made it this way. You would want to watch the bake time as that may vary with a 9×13 pan.

      Reply

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