Carrot-Walnut Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

4.3
(3)

This carrot cake recipe might just be our new favorite after-work-snack.

Carrot-Walnut Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke
Active Time:
15 mins
Stand Time:
10 mins
Bake Time:
35 mins
Cool Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Yield:
1 (8-inch) cake

We consider ourselves an authority on Carrot Cake (our Best Carrot Cake even got Chrissy Teigen's stamp of approval), so when we tell you that you're going to love this Carrot-Walnut Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, trust us and get baking.

This is a lighter version of your classic carrot cake; the moist spice cake gets layers of sweetness from shredded carrots, carrot juice, brown sugar, and honey, while chunks of walnuts bring a hearty crunch. Best of all, this snack cake comes together in just one bowl and can be enjoyed at any time of day.

This cake gets a double-dose of carrots, incorporating both shredded carrots and carrot juice into the cake batter. The shredded carrots bring a slightly crunchy, but still soft texture, while the carrot juice adds an extra boost of flavor, color, and moisture (no dry cakes here). Look for the bright orange drink in the refrigerated juice section at the supermarket (be sure to check that it's made only with carrots and no other ingredients). The carrot cake pairs beautifully with a homemade cream cheese frosting. Pro tip: Let the cream cheese and butter come to room temperature while the cake is cooling so they'll be ready to use for the frosting.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 large carrots)

  • cup packed light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup honey

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ cup refrigerated bottled carrot juice

  • ¼ cup canola oil

  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted, divided

Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Toss together carrots, brown sugar, honey, and salt in a large bowl; let stand 10 minutes. Add carrot juice, oil, and vanilla. Crack egg into bowl. Pierce egg using tip of a whisk, and lightly beat into carrot juice mixture. Whisk in cinnamon and baking soda. Fold in flour and ½ cup walnuts.

  2. Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 38 minutes. Remove from oven; cool in pan 5 minutes. Using parchment paper overhang, lift Cake from pan and transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely, 30 minutes.

  3. Prepare the Frosting: Wash and dry the bowl. Add cream cheese and butter; beat with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar; beat on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread Frosting over cooled Cake. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup walnuts.

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