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This is my perfectly moist, spiced, and flavorful Pecan Carrot Cake, topped and filled with a layer of delicious & sweet cream cheese frosting.
Pecan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
This is my forever favorite carrot cake recipe. I published it on my blog a few years ago and decided it’s time for clearer recipe instructions and some updated pictures. Many of you love this recipe too, so let’s roll up our sleeves and rev up our mixers!
Pecan Carrot Cake is perfect for Fall birthdays, and a great addition to your Thanksgiving dessert menu- Have you planned your Thanksgiving menu, yet?
Carrot Cake Ingredients:
The ingredients you need for this Fall cake are simple and I bet you have quite a few of them already in your kitchen! The full recipe is below, but here is a quick overview:
Dry Ingredients: all purpose flour, brown and white sugar, baking powder and baking soda, spices (nutmeg & cinnamon) and pinch of salt.
Wet Ingredients: Eggs, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, unsweetened applesauce (which can be substituted for more oil), and fresh grated carrots.
Cream cheese frosting: block cream cheese, milk, unsalted butter, vanilla extract and confectioner’s sugar.
Let’s Make it!
(Full recipe at end of this post, with a printable option.)
- Whisk the dry ingredients except sugar in medium size bowl.
- Whisk the wet ingredients plus sugar with an electric mixer.
- Combine wet & dry ingredients.
- Fold in grated carrots.
- Pour batter into two prepared 9×13-inch cake pan.
- Make cream cheese frosting.
- Let the cakes cool down.
- Assemble and frost-sprinkle chopped pecans before layering if desired.
- Sprinkle with more chopped pecan on top and enjoy!
- Try not to be sad when the last piece is gone!
Tips for Making a Moist Carrot Cake
Carrots: The most important tip for making this pecan carrot cake recipe is to grate your own carrots. Do not buy packaged, pre-shredded carrots from the grocery store, as pre-shredded carrots tend to be dry and rough. For this recipe I used two cups of grated carrots which was about 2-3 large whole carrots. I used my food processor fitted with a shredding disc for this step- so easy and quick!
If you love this carrot cake, try these carrot cake cookies next.
Frosting: When you make the homemade cream cheese frosting the cream cheese needs to be at room temperature. If the cream cheese is too cold, it won’t whip up properly and won’t blend in well with the other ingredients.
Applesauce: This recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of applesauce and 1 a cup of vegetable oil. I highly recommend you use applesauce, but if it’s not accessible, you can substitute for an additional 1/4 a cup of oil.
Cream Cheese Frosting for Carrot Cake
In my opinion, cream cheese frosting pairs best with carrot cake’s flavor and this frosting recipe is really simple. You need block-style cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, a splash of milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to offset the sweetness. The result is a seamlessly and is silky smooth frosting. If you’re looking to pipe decoration with this cream cheese frosting, chill it in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. This guarantees the creamy frosting will hold its shape.