This carrot cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting is easy to put together and really hits the nostalgia spot that only a carrot cake can. This is the perfect Easter cake, or whatever occasion you would like to make it for. It’s cake, right?
Tools to make the Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
You’ll need two bowls to mix the cake in, two 8 inch pans. You’ll need a mixer with paddle attachment (for the brown sugar cream cheese frosting), cooking spray, baking foil, parchment paper, and a scale. You’ll also want some sort of cake board. I usually like to go one size bigger than what I’m making. You can get these at Walmart or craft stores. A cake turn table is helpful, some people even use a lazy Susan. I always use an offset spatula while decorating. You’ll also want a baking tray and bowl if you’d like to make the crumbles.
To Make the Carrot Cake Layers
Making this couldn’t be easier. You don’t even need your mixer for the layers, just two bowls. In your larger bowl put all of your dry ingredients. In your smaller bowl, whisk your eggs then add all the other wet ingredients including the drained pineapple and shredded carrots and combine it well. Then add all the wet to the dry and fold it together until it’s well combined.
Prepare two 8 inch pans with baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment. Weigh out your batter into the pans to make them even and cover with foil. Bake at 330 degrees for about 55 minutes or until your cakes are done. You can tell they’re done when they just start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool and then remove them from the pans. Once totally cool, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze them. Do not refrigerate. Cake in a fridge will dry out (unless it’s sealed in frosting), whereas the freezer will freeze the moisture in. Freezing the cake makes decorating much easier. Crumbs don’t move around, the frosting firms quicker and keeps the cake from wiggling around and sliding.
For the Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
This brown sugar cream cheese frosting is super easy to put together. You need to use blocks of cream cheese, not the tubs. Put the brown sugar, cream cheese, and butter into your mixer with the paddle attachment, mix it on medium for about 5 minutes, or really just until it’s lightened up and fluffier. Then start adding in your powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. I used 5 cups because I like my frosting a bit softer, you can add 6 cups if desired. Once that’s incorporated add your vanilla and salt and combine it well. If for some reason you aren’t a fan of cream cheese frosting you can try my Faux Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe.
For the Crumbles
Let me be honest here, I like the crumbles. My children promptly spit them out. I always like crumbles though. Making them is super easy, just put all the ingredients together. Mix them up. Put the mixture on a baking tray and squeeze the mixture together with your hands to make it clump together. If it’s not clumping add a little more oil. Bake it at 320 for about 15 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool.
Assembling this cake is, cake. Just kidding, but it is easy. Get your cake board. A cake turn table is really helpful at this point but not totally necessary. Put a dollop of frosting on the cake board and set your first cake upside down on the board. Add buttercream to the top of the cake layer and smooth that out evenly with an offset spatula. Add the second cake layer upside down to the top. Seal the sides of the cake. Make a quick crumb coat of frosting and put the cake in the fridge to firm up the frosting.
Then make a final coat of frosting and decorate as desired. Cream cheese frosting can be hard to smooth, so an easy swirl around the cake with your spatula can be nice. Top it however you want. If you made the crumbles that is nice around the top with some added sprinkles. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 8 inch cake pans
- oven thermometer
- stand mixer for buttercream
Carrot Cake layers
- 100 g well chopped pecans
- 300 g all purpose flour
- 120 g sugar
- 300 g brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt 5 g
- 1 TBS baking powder 14 g
- 1 tsp cinnamon 2.6 g
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 2.6 g
- 4 oz carrot puree, baby food 113 g
- 10 oz crushed pineapple weight taken after draining
- 4 eggs
- 160 g oil, like canola or vegetable
- 1 tsp vanilla extract 5 g
- 4-5 freshly shredded carrots 195 g
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 oz softened cream cheese from a block 1.5 blocks
- 6 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 1 TBS vanilla extract 13 g
- 1/2 tsp salt 2.5 g
- 5 cups powdered sugar 24 oz (plus 1 cup (4.5 oz) more if you like it a little stiffer)
- 2 cups brown sugar 14 oz
Carrot Cake Crumbles
- 50 g flour
- 20 g sugar
- 20 g brown sugar
- 25 g oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- handfull chopped pecans
- 1 TBS orange sprinkles optional
Carrot Cake Layers
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl, big enough to hold all of your batter; pecans, flour, sugar, brown sugar salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Beat your eggs in a separate bowl. Then add and combine all the other wet ingredients into the eggs, I like a whisk for this; Carrot puree, crushed pineapple, oil, eggs, vanilla, and shredded carrots.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry and fold it together until it is combined. Don't over mix.
- Pour about 28 oz of batter into each pan that has been prepared with baking spray and is lined with parchment. Then cover the pans with foil, this helps the cakes bake more evenly.
- Bake until done, mine took about 55 minutes. The cake is done when it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely then remove then from their pans carefully.
- To make decorating easier, wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze, I prefer to decorate from frozen.
Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
- Fit your mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the brown sugar, softened cream cheese, and softened butter. Turn the mixer to medium high, let it combine until lighter in color, about 5 minutes.
- Add the confection sugar 1 cup at a time and combine. I added about 5, but if you don't want it as soft add another cup.
- Add the vanilla and salt, let it combine thoughly.
Carrot Cake Crumbles
- Preheat oven to 320 degrees.
- Add all the ingredients into a bowl and combine.
- The ideal texture for the crumbles is when the mixture will stay in clumps when you squeeze it together.
- On a baking tray, clump together the mixture using your hands. You want lots of little clumps.
- Bake for about 15 minutes.
- On a cake board, put a small dollop of buttercream and put the cake top side down on the board.
- Smooth buttercream on the top.
- Add the second cake layer and seal the sides. Coat the whole cake in a thin layer of buttercream to lock in any crumbs. Refrigerate that for about 15 minutes before your final coat of buttercream. You want to refrigerate it until the frosting is more firm, however long that is.
- Add your final layer of buttercream, smooth and decorate it as you wish. An easy swirl design is great because cream cheese frosting is notoriously hard to smooth, and can then be topped with crumbles and some more sprinkles if desired.