Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

April 21, 2014

Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes. Or maybe it’s just my love for cream cheese frosting. Either way, this carrot cake has it all. The batter a classic carrot cake recipe made with vegetable oil, which makes for a really light and fluffy cake. The addition of ginger in the frosting was something I thought might complement the cinnamon and nutmeg– and I was right– it’s perfect. I generally find cream cheese frostings absurdly sweet (most recipes call for a whole box of powdered sugar), so I cut the sugar way down. The frosting is sweet but you can still taste the tanginess of the cream cheese– just how I like it. But the thing that excites me most about this cake is the tomboy or naked cake style. Frosting cakes has always been a pain to me so I just love this rustic style. The key is to have even layers and the key to even layers are . . . cake strips! I had no idea that these even existed until recently, but they absolutely work. Simply soak them in water and wrap them around the pans and you’ll never have to trim the top of a domed cake again!

Carrot Cake

Cake ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature,
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups of coarsely grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans

Frosting ingredients:

  • 16 ounces of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of freshly finely grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sift flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt on a large piece of parchment paper. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat vegetable oil and sugar until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, until each is incorporated. With the mixer on medium speed, gather your dry ingredients on the parchment paper in the shape of a cone and start adding the dry ingredients to the wet batter in the mixer bowl. Using the parchment paper helps with keeping the dry ingredients from spilling over the bowl. Stop mixing when ingredients are incorporated. Fold in carrots and nuts.

Carrot cake batter

Prep 3 8-inch pans by buttering the pans and placing a round piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. Wrap each pan with cake strips to make sure you have even and level layers. Place pans in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Allow cakes to cool in the pan until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto a rack, remove the parchment paper, and allow to cool completely on a rack.


To make the ginger cream cheese frosting, combine all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until smooth.

Ginger frosting

To assemble the cakes, place the first layer on a cake stand and using a piping bag without a tip, pipe a thick circle around the edge, fill the inside with concentric circles and smooth with a spatula.

Bounty paper towels

Add another layer and repeat frosting until you have three layers. I made the top layer of frosting thicker. Smooth the top with a clean spatula.

Carrot cake layers

To sprinkle chopped nuts in the corner of the cake in a crescent shape. Add carrot tops.

Carrot cake decorations

Bounty paper towels

Carrot cake

Take a huge slice and enjoy!

Carrot cake slice

(images by HonestlyYUM)


Still my go-to carrot cake recipe, making it for my brothers birthday today!

Was really excited to make this. Made cupcakes instead of cake. They fell a bit, but not sure if that was the recipe or my adaption into making them into cupcakes not cake. I found the cupcakes in the back of the oven rose better where it was hotter than in the front of the oven. (No I did not open the oven)

My biggest issue is that they had quite the taste of baking soda. I liked that they weren’t too sweet, but the bitterness of the baking soda wrecked it for me. I didn’t even bother to frost them 🙁

The cake is a lighter and airier cake so that may have been the issue. I didn’t have that problem with the baking soda though! Perhaps the measurements were off? Sorry to hear that!

Im going to try this recipe. Thinking about making the carrots out of icing or using carrots curls. Not sure yet. But i like your recipe and you have a wonderful sense of humour.

Hi, It look beautiful!! What kind of oil did you use? I’m thinking about using coconut oil, do you think it will work? Thank you!!!

Is it just me or does the slice on the plate have raisins in it? Don’t see it in the recipe ingredient. I like raisins.

This is a great recipe. I made this cake for my cousins birthday. I subbed out the ginger for cinnamon and nutmeg since she doesn’t like ginger. Everyone at dinner loved the cake.

Do you think I could use melted butter instead of oil? It looks amazing but I have no oil :/

Hi Karen, I just wanted to stop by your lovely blog to thank you for this amazing recipe! I made it for my son, Rory’s first birthday party today, and it was an absolute hit! Every single person commented on how tasty it was. I have never mak a cake from scratch before, so now I’m feeling like a master chef. Thank you so much for sharing.

I’m going to try this recipe, thanks for pinning, it has half the sugar of my cc recipe and a tad more oil. I like trimming the sugar amount down and this might be the recipe for my new cc. and will gladly try the frosting too.

So I’m in the process of baking this cake and I had enough batter to fill only 2 pans, not three…

I find that so weird since I know for a fact that they are 8 in rounds.

The batter split between the three pans barely covers the bottom of the pan– less than halfway up the pans. But don’t worry they rise quite a bit in the oven!

This looks so beautiful and I know it tastes delicious. I have a recipe that sounds exactly like it that I have had for over 40 years. You did a great photo-shoot!

Absolutely gorgeous. I love the addition of ginger in the frosting.

This is such a great idea! My boyfriend loves carrot cake, so I think I’ll make this next month for his birthday!

can i just say: AMEN to cake strips. they are a godsend.

i’m kinda on the fence about carrot cake, but the addition of the ginger to the CC frosting is genius.

Aren’t they the best? I can’t believe I’ve only just discovered them!

I can’t remember having a better carrot cake. Now, to find another occasion to have it…

Leave a Reply

Link Love