Nutty Carrot Cake with Zesty Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more details.

In a personal quest to learn to make more and more items from scratch we began two days after Christmas using my new KitchenAid mixer to make the first of hopefully many homemade birthday cakes to come—a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting for my birthday! It was so delicious that I decided to experiment a little this time around and make one for my husband’s birthday!

Nutty Carrot Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or a combination all-purpose and whole wheat flour)
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil (substitute ¼ cup oil for ¼ cup applesauce to reduce calories and maintain moisture)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (or corresponding measurement for sugar substitute)
  • 3 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • Zest from ½ an orange
  • 3 cups carrot, grated (or pureed in food processor)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare #2 9 inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour to prevent sticking.
  3. In a large bowl or using a KitchenAid mixer & bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and orange zest.
  4. In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix. Slowly add to wet ingredients in mixing bowl until combined.
  5. In a food processor or using a hand grater, shred carrots and mix into the cake batter.
  6. Next add the chopped pecans, mix again and distribute batter evenly between the two cake pans.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. (oven temperatures vary so watch carefully to prevent overcooking)
  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest and cool for 15-20 minutes.
  9. At this time they should be cool enough to carefully turn out onto a cooling rack or other surface to finish cooling. Do not frost until completely cooled.
Zesty Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients 3 cups confectioner’s sugar 8 oz cream cheese, softened (I used ⅓ less fat but choose your preference) ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter ¼ tsp ground nutmeg Zest from ½ and orange 2 tsp pure vanilla extract Zesty Cream Cheese Frosting Instructions In a large bowl beat mixture using a hand mixer or a KitchenAid mixer until smooth and creamy. Chill before frosting cake.


  • To construct cake place one round cake on a platter and spread with ¼ of frosting. Top with second round cake and use remaining frosting to cover top and sides of cake. Garnish if desired and either chill before serving or serve as is. Store leftovers in refrigerator.
  • Use more or less orange zest for additional citrus flavor.

Make sure you check out my other easy recipes! Plus if you are looking for cooking supplies, check out my Choozon Deal Club- The Kitchen Gadget Habit.

The following two tabs change content below.
Ashley is a happily married stay at home mom to a beautiful little girl and a little boy. Ashley and her husband come from a small town and enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like GREAT FOOD. They love to try out new recipes and experiment in the kitchen together, but also enjoy reading, painting and photography.

Latest posts by Ashley @HowtoHaveitAll (see all)