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Perfect Coffee Cake: Carrot Cake & Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Updated on April 28, 2010

Ok, so spring has sprung, but the rain and grey clouds aren’t clearing away just yet? So even though flowers are in bloom, summer vacations are still far away and the daily trudge is still happening. In these bleak moments, you might need a little something extra to get you going—a little pick-me-up for those early spring days when coffee just isn’t enough. Perhaps in these times, a little slice of heaven is in order, non?

During the winter, I love my coffee cake to be heavy, rich and comforting. But as the skies brighten and my wardrobe begins to lighten, I want my food to be light, bright and invigorating as well! Well after many altered recipes, I’ve come up with a carrot cake that is everything that a springtime coffee cake should be! This cake is delicate and fluffy, while the fruity flavors lend a touch of tarty sweetness. The cream cheese flavor compensates for the missing buckets of sugar in the frosting, while the crunchy textures of the nuts, carrots and pineapples keep you on your toes.

A light, bright, fruity coffee is the perfect pairing for this sweet treat. And to mix it up a little, get your one-cup brewer to brew your coffee straight into your travel mugs, pack everything up into a wicker basket, and head for the nearest open green space. Your heart will thank you! A light-hearted picnic, a slice of yummy, scrummy cake and a carefree cup of coffee (sans sugar and cream, so that you can better appreciate the fruity mouthfeel, of course) is the magical springtime pick-me-up!

Carrot Cake Ingredients

2 1/4 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 c vegetable oil

3 medium carrots, grated

1/2 can of pineapple slices

1/2 c walnuts, chopped

Carrot Cake Recipe

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into bowl. Sift until you can see that spices are evenly integrated throughout powder mixture. Set aside
  2. In separate bowl, mix sugar and brown sugar.
  3. Whisk eggs into sugar mixture. Whip for about 8 minutes, until light and slightly airy.
  4. Stir in vegetable oil into sugar mixture.
  5. Pour wet sugar mixture into dry mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing evenly into center of dry mixture. Continue adding wet mixture in same manner, gradually increasing size of mixed center. (TIP: Mix the wet and dry mixture like you would when hand making pasta, this ensure even incorporation and no clumps.
  6. Once batter is thoroughly mixed, add carrots, pineapple and walnuts, one after another and mixing in between.
  7. Transfer completed batter into greased cake tin.
  8. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 40 minutes, or until cake is firm but still uncooked in center. (TIP: Check after 30 minutes when the cake is set, so that you can’t pop the air bubbles and make the cake collapse on itself.)
  9. Turn down oven to 300°F (150°C) for 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp on outside and fully cooked in center (TIP: Be sure to turn down temperature before edges brown, cake will still be uncooked in center. If you don’t turn down the oven, as your center cooks, the edges will burn.)


Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

1 pack (220g or 8 oz) cream cheese

3 tbsp butter

1 1/4 c powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla


Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

  1. As your mix your cake batter, be sure to bring your cream cheese and butter to room temperature.
  2. As your cake bakes in the oven, cream the butter evenly into your cream cheese.
  3. Sprinkle sugar and vanilla all over cream cheese mixture.
  4. Incorporate thoroughly.
  5. Keep at room temperature for remainder of bake time. (TIP: Do not chill your frosting, or else application onto cake will be difficult since cake is delicate and moist.)
  6. After cake is completely cooled, smooth frosting all over cake. (TIP: Be sure to cool the cake completely, or else frosting will melt or separate as you apply it to cake.)

Coffee and cake, coffee and cake. These two together are such a magical duo. I could have this combination day in and day out. Morning, noon or night. And believe me, with this carrot cake recipe, those proclamations are no lie. Try your hand at this recipe, and try it while sipping a fruity, light coffee like my personal favorite Caribou Coffee Daybreak Morning Blend.

Ever tried making cream cheese frosted carrot cake? How did your experiment fare? Does this recipe sound like a good springtime version of this very underappreciated cake? Share your thoughts below! And thanks for stopping by!

Check out other recipes in this series:

Perfect Coffee Cake: Raspberry White Chocolate Crumble Recipe

Perfect Coffee Cake: Kick Coffee in your Coffee Cake Recipes

Perfect Coffee Cake: Italian Pear Cake Recipe

Perfect Coffee Cake: Rose Semolina Cake Recipe

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