This utterly delicious cinnamon-spiced carrot walnut cake that I baked in a single 8-inch pan, sliced and frosted with tangy cream cheese frosting are perfect for a small family and tiny celebrations — or in my case, a relentless craving for a carrot cake.
I love the idea of baking with vegetables as I did with my chocolate beet cake. I didn't have all the ingredients needed to make a carrot cake as per my trusted recipe sources at that moment. The moment where you are mentally and physically prepared to bake a cake to feed your sugar cravings.
That should have been my cue to stop the urge, but Nah...a post on a FB group raved about Natasha's Kitchen's Baklavarecipe. Intrigued, I went on to check her page and landed on a carrot cake recipe. Is the universe telling me that I should bake a carrot cake? Yes! 100 times!
Single layer cakes
I prefer baking single-layer cakes because you know it is just two of us around here. Making a double-layered cake for no reason other than our sugar cravings is purely detrimental to our health. Imagine all that excessive amount of butter and sugar, and no one to share them with. A giant cake sitting in the fridge and only two of us to eat it - which honestly is not hard to accomplish accompanied with Netflix. 😁 ugh... this pandemic!
I baked this carrot walnut cake a few days before Ramadan. Guess what? I did not cook lunch or dinner the following days because I wanted to relish one more wedge... one thin slice... just this one with chai... and soon I was sitting with the last piece! I couldn't believe we finished the cake within two days! Thank god for a sweet-toothed partner.
The ingredients needed for this carrot walnut cake are so simple that I bet you have them already in your kitchen or are easily available in every store.
- Eggs: I used large eggs each weighing 60gms. To bring the eggs to room temperature sooner, I put them in a bowl of water.
- Sugar: I have used regular white granulated sugar without guilt.
- Oil: I used sunflower cooking oil.
- Vanilla extract: store-bought essence also works as this is just to camouflage the unpleasant egg smell. If you don't have one, you can use a pinch of cardamom.
- Flour: I have used all-purpose flour aka maida or plain flour. I never said this is a healthy cake. 😜
- Baking soda and Baking powder: You need both!
- Cinnamon powder: Cinnamon goes well with carrots. You may replace it with clove powder, allspice, nutmeg, or even ginger powder.
- Grated carrot: Use a large hole in the grater so that the carrot shreds are not wet. The recipe does not call for squeezing out the juice etc.
- Walnuts: Walnuts are optional. Toasting the walnuts for a few minutes on the stovetop makes them taste better. You may omit this or replace it with pecans.
- Butter: for the frosting. Measure and cut the butter into small cubes and keep them in a bowl out on the counter. This will fasten the process of softening.
- Icing sugar: If you don't have you may make your own by processing the white sugar. But make sure to sieve and use to get rid of any large granules.
- Lemon juice: enhances the frosting flavour.
- Cream cheese: Use the solid cream cheese and not the spread. I have used al marai cream cheese squares. Make sure they are at room temperature before you began whisking. But if you don't have access to solid cream cheese or have only spreadable cream cheese, you may have to use cornflour to make it sturdy.
No pineapple or coconut used
This simple, small and moist carrot walnut cake recipe is made without pineapple or coconut which most recipes call for. I love pineapple and coconut they make a great pair but I wanted a pure carrot cake.
As usual with all my frosted cake recipes, the frosting quantity makes just enough to frost the carrot cake as you see in the pictures. If you love frosting, then I suggest making a double batch. I am no pro in the cake decorating department, but I get creative without piping bags. 😁
If you want to use up your carrots in a new recipe, try the popular Afghan rice and meat dish, Kabuli Palaw!
How to make?
- Keep all the ingredients measured and ready to use — room temperature ingredients, grating carrots and chopping walnuts.
- Prep the cake pan and preheat the oven.
- Prepare the cake batter and bake the cake.
- Prepare the frosting while the cake cools down.
- Slice or frost the cake only after the cake is completely cooled.
- Garnish and serve. Cover and refrigerate the remaining carrot cake.
Before I start any new baking project, I make notes because there is math involved in cutting down a recipe. To make the cake in my single 8-inch cake pan, I almost halved her carrot cake recipe. As I noticed she used very little sugar...my sugar brain was not happy so yours truly generously amped it up.🤦But your girl balanced it by cutting down the frosting. Also, chose to fold the walnuts into the batter so that they are nestled into the cake in every bite!
- How to line a round cake pan with baking paper. (how-to video)
- How to cut a cake horizontally into equal halves. (how-to video)
Why you should make this cake?
If you have never attempted baking a carrot cake, you should try this beginner-friendly forgiving recipe. You cannot walk into the kitchen and start making this cake, you need some time to bring the ingredients to room temperature. You also need a bit of patience in making the batter. But the end product will make you feel like a pro!
More recipes using cream cheese?
Carrot Walnut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake batter
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup oil
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour maida
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ cup grated carrot
- ½ cup walnuts toasted and chopped
For the cream cheese frosting
- 50 gms butter softened to room temperature
- ¾ cup icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 170 gms cream cheese squares softened to room temperature
- chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 170˚C with the rack in the middle. Grease one 8x2 inch round cake pan and line the bottom with baking paper.
Mix dry ingredients
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt into a bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together with a fork or hand whisk. Keep this aside.
Prepare the batter
- Add the eggs and sugar to a large bowl. Use a handheld electric whisk and whisk at high speed for 3 minutes or until thick and fluffy. Reduce to medium speed and whisk in the oil and vanilla extract. Next, add the dry ingredients in two to three additions at low to medium speed just until incorporated. If needed, stop and scrape the sides. Once the flour is incorporated, use a spatula and fold the grated carrots and chopped walnuts until evenly distributed into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to break any air bubbles and smooth them out. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove the cake by inverting it onto a wire rack, peel off the baking paper and let cool to room temperature on the wire rack. You may leave it as a single layer and frost it or like me slice the cake horizontally into equal halves.
Prepare the frosting
- In a large deep bowl add the softened butter and use an electric hand whisk to beat the butter until smooth. Next, add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and lemon juice and beat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Lastly, add the softened cream cheese in one cube at a time or in four to five additions while beating until the frosting is nice and smooth. Continue to whisk for about 3 to 5 minutes until no lumps remain. Cling wrap and refrigerate until needed or until chilled.
Assemble the cake
- Dab a little frosting in the centre of the cake platter so that the cake adheres. Now, place the bottom layer on a cake platter and spread enough frosting to cover the top. Place the top layer of the cake and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and around the sides. Decorate the cake with some carrot shavings and chopped walnuts. Slice and serve.
- As the carrot cake is covered with cream cheese frosting, it is not ideal to sit around the counter. The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about five days. This carrot cake is great to serve cold or at room temperature. We prefer room temperature.