Best Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing | Garden to Table | Carrot Recipes Mini Series

Posted in For the Love of Food

Here in Ontario, carrots are beginning to come into season so I am doing up a little mini carrot recipe series with a few of our families' favourite garden-to-table carrot recipes for you to enjoy. 

Our hands-down favourite carrot recipe is... carrot cake with maple cream cheese icing but a close second is maple roasted carrots (we are big fans of maple syrup in this household) and then it's a delicious carrot ginger soup (it can be made ahead and frozen so you can enjoy it whenever you please). First up is my go-to carrot cake recipe with maple cream cheese frosting, because who doesn't love dessert first? This is a reasonably healthy, moist, dense and delicious cake that will be thoroughly enjoyed. Be sure to have the recipe on hand if you bring this anywhere because you will get asked for it. It really is that good. 

Best Carrot Cake & Maple Cream Cheese Icing


Carrot Cake 

3 1/2 cups grated carrots
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon  
1/2 teaspoon allspice 
3 farm fresh free-range eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (or 1/2 cup buttermilk)
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) 
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts for garnishing cake (optional)

Pick One of the Following Ingredients:
1 cup raisins (optional) OR
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple - juice drained (optional) OR
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (optional)

Cream Cheese Icing | Makes 2 Cups
While the Cake is Baking Get Started on the Cream Cheese Icing of Your Choice | Pick One Recipe 

Maple Cream Cheese Icing 

2 (8-ounce) packages of softened room-temperature cream cheese

1 cup confectioners’ sugar (if you like your icing sweeter you can add an additional 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 to 1/4 cup pure Canadian maple syrup (to taste)

Traditional Cream Cheese Icing (makes 2 cups)

2 (8-ounce) packages of softened room-temperature cream cheese
1/4 cup of 35% fresh whipping cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Best Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cake Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine grated carrots, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, allspice and cinnamon.
  4. Stir in eggs, oil, apple sauce, vanilla and optional items - pineapple or raisins and chopped pecans or walnuts.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20, reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool.
*Make with two - 9” cake pans. For additional layers, use three - 8" or 9" cake pans with thinner layers but adjust baking time accordingly

Maple Cream Cheese Icing Instructions

  1. Mix cream cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed
  2. Add vanilla extract and mix
  3. Sift in confectioners' sugar
  4. Add maple syrup to taste
  5. Mix until fluffy
  6. Chill the icing for approx 20 mins until it has set enough to hold its shape and spread smoothly on the chilled cake.

Traditional Cream Cheese Icing Instructions

  1. Mix cream cheese with a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium speed
  2. Add vanilla extract and mix
  3. Sift in confectioners sugar to taste
  4. Mix until fluffy 
  5. Icing is ready to use - no need to chill before frosting.

Tip: For a smooth seamless finish on your cake, ice the sides and top with a thin layer of icing and chill the cake for about 30 minutes. Ice the cake completely to cover and decorate on the top adding crushed walnuts to garnish should you please.

Chill cake. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Fun Note: You will have leftover icing to use for dipping or eating by the spoonful - don't worry we won't judge you.


~ Natalie

P.S. Stay tuned for our maple glazed carrots & carrot ginger soup recipes coming soon!


Best Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

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