Apple-Pecan Carrot Cake Recipe

Carrot cake gets a fall makeover with our Apple-Pecan Carrot Cake recipe. Top a showstopping crown of Mascarpone Frosting with swirls of Apple Cider Caramel Sauce and a scattering of pecans. Caramel sauce, rather than frosting, sandwiches together the moist cake layers.

Apple-Pecan Carrot Cake
Photo: Hector Sanchez
Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
10 servings


  • 2 1/3 cups finely chopped lightly toasted pecans, divided

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt

  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 cups peeled and grated Granny Smith apples

  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots

  • 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Caramel Sauce

  • Mascarpone Frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle 1 1/3 cups toasted pecans into 2 well-buttered shiny 9-inch round cake pans; shake to coat bottom and sides of pans.

  2. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients.

  3. Stir together eggs and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Add flour mixture, stirring just until blended. Fold in apples, carrots, and remaining 1 cup pecans. Pour batter into prepared pans.

  4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

  5. Place 1 cake layer, pecan side down, on a serving plate. Spread top of cake layer with 2/3 cup Apple Cider Caramel Sauce; top with remaining cake layer, pecan side down. Spread Mascarpone Frosting over top of cake. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Caramel Sauce over frosting, and swirl sauce into frosting. Serve immediately.

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