This soft and moist Carrot Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is sweet and tangy perfection! A simple version of a classic that’s quick, easy, and sure to be devoured.
Best carrot snack cake recipe
This Carrot Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is such an easy recipe to pull together, and provides all of the classic flavors in this moist single layer cake. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a layer cake. Like a lot. But sometimes you just want maximum reward for minimum effort and that is exactly what this cake provides. I couldn’t believe how moist this cake stayed (for dayssss) and it’s oh so soft.
This carrot cake includes a small amount of orange juice (can be fresh squeezed or store bought juice) that I think really brightens up the flavor. My mom used to add OJ to her carrot cake cupcakes and I’m carrying that on! The cake also includes shredded coconut and nuts, but those can totally be omitted if you’re not into it.
Finally, the tangy cream cheese frosting is THE best. If a carrot cake doesn’t have cream cheese frosting, I’m not interested. I prefer to make this frosting with brown butter (in addition to the cream cheese), as it provides an extra depth of flavor that pairs so nicely with the warm spices in the cake. Follow my steps on How to Brown Butter to try out this method! You’ll need to use about 5T of butter to yield 1/4 cup of brown butter (which is what the recipe calls for).
Coloring the frosting is totally optional. But if you’d like to replicate the robin’s egg design, continue reading!
Making easy carrot snack cake
- Shred the carrots on a box grater using the normal sized shred, not the fine shred.
- Whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice) and set aside.
- Beat the wet ingredients (eggs, vegetable oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla) on medium speed for two minutes.
- Fold in the carrots, coconut and nuts (if using) and add to a prepared 8-inch cake pan. Check out my parchment paper tips to line a cake pan SO easily.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cake pulls away from the edges and springs back when touched. A toothpick in the center will come out with moist crumbs.
- While the cake cools, make the cream cheese frosting by beating together the room temperature butter and cream cheese until smooth, then adding the powdered sugar and vanilla until a soft, smooth frosting is developed.
- Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and serve.
Robin’s Egg Frosting Decoration
To make the robin’s egg decoration for the cream cheese frosting, add a mixture of blue and green food coloring a very small amount at a time and mix in between additions until the desired color is achieved. Spread evenly over the cake.
To make the speckles, add cocoa powder (1/2 T) and vanilla extract or vodka (1-2 tsp) to a very small bowl and mix to combine. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the alcohol. It should be a relatively viscous liquid. Dip a small, firm bristled paint brush into the mixture, then use the tip of your fingernail to spray the mixture over the frosting to create a speckled robin’s egg design. Be sure to place a dish towel or paper towels around your cake to catch the excess splatter.
Carrot Cake FAQ
Absolutely! This cake stays SO moist for days. Once cooled, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Alternatively, if you’d like to frost the cake, I suggest doing so in the pan, as it will need to be stored in the fridge and the pan will help protect the sides from air.
This carrot cake lasts for up to five days, but it won’t last you that long ?
Yes, it must be refrigerated due to the dairy in the frosting. Remove the cake (or slice) and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to one hour before enjoying.
Definitely. Omitting these items will not affect the the bake, so feel free to leave them out if you’d like. Though I highly suggest the coconut!
More quick cakes
Carrot Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8-inch round cake pan
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer
- Box grater
- Paint brush (optional)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 120g
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground allspice
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil 112g
- 3 tablespoons orange juice fresh or store bought juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- 1 ½ cups shredded carrots 150g
- ⅓ cup shredded coconut 25g, optional
- ½ cup chopped walnuts 50g, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 oz full fat cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter 57g, room temperature (browned or normal)
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar 180g
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
Robin’s Egg Decoration (optional)
- Blue and green food coloring
- ½ tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1-2 tsp vanilla extract or vodka
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease and parchment line an 8-inch cake pan. Then, shred the carrots on a box grater using the normal openings, not the fine shred.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.
- In a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat together the eggs, vegetable oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
- With the mixer on low speed, spoon in the flour mixture until it’s just about incorporated. Scrape down the sides, then fold in the carrots, walnuts and shredded coconut (if using) by hand until evenly disbursed.
- Add the batter to the prepared cake pan and smooth over. Bake in the center rack for 25-35 minutes until the edges have just pulled away from the sides and the center springs back when touched. A toothpick inserted into the center will come out with moist crumbs.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan and finish cooling on the wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- If using brown butter, brown the butter as soon as the cake goes in the oven and allow it to re-solidify to room temperature. Browning 5 tablespoons of butter will yield ¼ cup (4T).
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), cream the room temperature butter and cream cheese on medium low speed until smooth. Then add the powdered sugar one spoonful at a time until incorporated and the vanilla. If adding the blue/green food coloring, do so in very small amounts at a time until the desired color is made, mixing slowly in between each addition.
- Mix on medium speed for 1 minute, then scrape down the sides and stir once more with a rubber spatula. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake.
- To make the speckles, combine the cocoa powder and vanilla/vodka in a very small bowl and mix. Using a taught bristle paint brush, dip it into the mixture and spray it overtop of the cake by running a fingernail across the bristles.