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Carrot Cake with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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This Carrot Cake with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting is light and cinnamon-y with the creamiest browned butter frosting.

I love making Carrot Cake during the spring, especially for Easter (click here to see my other Easter recipes). Using fresh whole carrots, then grating them really makes this recipe.

Carrot cake is a moist and dense cake that is made with grated carrots and other ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, oil, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. I also like to add nutmeg and ground ginger to my carrot cake to give it more of a warm spice cake flavor.

The grated carrots add a natural sweetness and moisture to the cake, while the spices and vanilla extract provide a warm and aromatic flavor. Carrot cake is often topped with cream cheese frosting but this cake is taken up a notch with the Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. It is deep and flavorful and full of vanilla and nutty browned butter flakes.

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting Prep

The only thing you’ll need to prep ahead in this recipe is the browned butter. Make it with enough time to let it solidify before using it in the frosting. This will help the frosting have a rich, whipped consistency.

You will love this Carrot Cake with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting!

Carrot Cake and Frosting Ingredients

Here’s all you’ll need for this carrot cake:

  • flour
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • ground giner
  • salt
  • baking powder & baking soda
  • oil
  • eggs
  • sugar
  • vanilla
  • applesauce (or yogurt/sour cream)
  • carrots

For the frosting, all you’ll need is:

  • butter
  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • milk

Carrot Cake with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

This Carrot Cake with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting is light and cinnamon-y with the creamiest browned butter frosting. It's the perfect dessert for a get-together or just for your family.
I like to buy whole carrots and shred them myself – they have much better flavor and texture than pre-shredded carrots.
This recipe is written for two 8-9" cake rounds, but you can easily adapt for a 9×13" pan by upping the bake time to 45-50 minutes. Bake until the center springs back to the touch.
Shannon Lyon | Plum Street Collective
Serving Size 16


Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • cups grated carrots (buy whole carrots and shred by hand or in the food processor)

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)
  • 1 eight ounce block of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar (about 7½ cups)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5-6 tablespoons milk or cream


Carrot Cake

  • Begin by preheating oven to 350°F. Line two 8 to 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Shred carrots and set aside.
  • Mix all dry ingredients together (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, baking powder, baking soda). Set aside.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, add sugars, eggs, and oil. Mix until well incorporated.
  • Add in applesauce and vanilla. Mix again.
  • Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Then, using a spatula or large wooden spoon, mix in carrots, until evenly distributed.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for approximately 35 – 40 minutes, or until center of cakes springs bake to the touch.
  • Let cakes cool in the pans for several minutes until transfering to parchment or a wire rack to complete cooling. Release the cakes from the pans by first running a knife around the edges of the cake pan, before inverting onto a wire cooling rack.
  • Let cakes cool / come to room temperature before frosting.

Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • This frosting will take a little time because the melted browned butter must come back to room temperature/cool after cooking it. You could make the browned butter earlier in the day, or while the cakes are cooking and cooling.
  • First, add 3 sticks of the unsalted butter to a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir continuously until butter starts to bubble and turn golden brown. You want to watch it very carefully so it doesn't burn. The flecks on the bottom the pan should turn brown and the liquid butter should turn an amber color. It should smell nutty!
  • Once the browned butter is a nice ambery color, with brown flecks on the bottom, remove from heat. Pour in a heat proof bowl or container. Place in the fridge to cool, until it starts to solidify. Or you can leave on the counter until it comes to room temperature.
  • Once solidified, it's ready to make the browned butter frosting. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), add the browned butter and beat on a high speed until it's completely creamy. If the butter chilled all the way this will take longer, until the hardened pieces incorporate. Keep beating it!
  • Next add the softened cream cheese and continue beating, for 5-6 minutes, on high speed, until very fluffy and light.
  • Next add the vanilla, then alternate adding powdered sugar and a tablespoon of milk, until you've added all the powdered sugar in. Frosting should be light and fluffy. Add tiny bits of milk or cream to reach a desired consistency.
  • Once completed, frost onto completely cooled cakes. Enjoy!

 You’ll love this Carrot Cake! Be sure to tag me tag me @plumstreetcollective on Instagram if you make it. Happy baking!

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