Home · Recipes · Layer Cakes Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting Author: Maryanne CabreraPublished: Mar 8, 2018Updated: Apr 7, 2023 View Recipe35 ReviewsThis post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy. Celebrate Spring with this layered carrot cake lightly frosted with brown sugar cream cheese. Minimally decorated with fresh carrots, this is an easy cake everyone can make! Let’s kick off flowers blossoming, birds singing, and picnic weather with carrot cake! Cake decorating can be intimidating. It can be overwhelming and time consuming. I’m here to hold your hand and help you. This is a SUPER easy and fast way to decorate cake. You don’t need a ton of tools, sprinkles, or gadgets. All you need to decorate this cake is fresh carrots and a plastic zip-top bag (or a piping bag). Naked Carrot Cake The term “naked cake” refers to stacked layers cake with little to no frosting on the sides. This cake is sweet enough on it’s own. Rather than drench the cake with a ton of frosting, I’ve opted to keep the sides of the cake bare. Other examples of naked cakes include: lemon layer cake, coconut cake with whipped cream frosting, and tiramisu cake. Marks of a Great Carrot Cake In my opinion, the cake should have visible specks of carrots. I use a coarse grater to shred the carrots. The cake should be soft and moist. To achieve this, most carrot cakes are made with vegetable oil instead of butter. A variety in texture makes all foods more exciting. I like to add chopped walnuts to the cake batter. Chopped almonds or pistachios also make wonderful additions. It isn’t complete without cream cheese frosting! The frosting for this cake is sweetened with brown sugar and molasses and it’s spiked with a touch of sour cream for extra tang. How to Frost and Decorate Layer Cake By using a piping bag (or plastic zip-top bag with a corner snipped off), you can evenly apply frosting to the cake layers. This allows you to add a distinct clean border of frosting along the outer perimeter of the cake. Once you’ve got your cake layers stacked, it’s time to decorate. Get some fresh bunch carrots with the top greens still attached. Wash and dry the carrots and greens. While it’s tempting to simply stick the entire carrot into the cake, I don’t advise it. You risk splitting the cake. Slice off about 1 -3 inches of the top portion of the carrot and then attach it to the cream cheese frosting. Add movement and texture by placing a few sprigs of the carrot greens on top and around base of the cake. VOILA! That’s it. Carrot cake complete. Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting 5 from 4 votes Celebrate the start of Spring with this layered carrot cake lightly frosted with brown sugar cream cheese. Minimally decorated with fresh carrots, this is an easy cake everyone can make!Yield: four 6-inch layers, or three 8-inch layers Prep Time: 20 minutes minutesCook Time: 40 minutes minutesCooling & Assembly: 2 hours hoursTotal Time: 3 hours hours Servings: 10 slices Print Recipe Pin Recipe Rate Recipe IngredientsCarrot Cake:3 cups (370 g) all-purpose flour1 Tablespoon baking soda2 teaspoons baking powder1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt2 teaspoons (7 g) ground cinnamon1 ½ cups (295 g) granulated sugar½ cup (100 g) brown sugar, packed4 large eggs (218 g)1 ½ cups (328 ml) vegetable oil½ cup (120 ml) whole milk1 Tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract3 cups (303 g) grated carrots1 ½ cups (150 g) toasted walnuts, roughly choppedBrown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:8 oz (240 g) cream cheese½ cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature½ cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed1 teaspoon molasses2 cups (212 g) confectioners' sugar½ teaspoon fine sea salt1 Tablespoon sour cream Instructions Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour four 6-inch round cake pans (or three 8-inch round cake pans). Tap out any excess flour. Line cake pans with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat together sugars, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add half of dry flour mixture to mixing bowl and stir together. Add grated carrots and continue mixing. Add remaining dry flour mixture and chopped walnuts. Mix until just combined and there are no longer any dry streaks of flour.Distribute cake batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake 6-inch cakes for 40-45 minutes (or 8-inch cakes for 35-40 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Rotate cakes midway through baking. Allow cake layers in cool in pan for 5-8 minutes. Unmold cake layers and allow to cool completely on wire racks.Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure thorough mixing. Add brown sugar, molasses, powdered sugar, salt, and sour cream. Beat until smooth and creamy.Assembly:If necessary, level cake layers once completely cooled to room temperature. Place one cake layer on cake board (or serving plate). Pipe a ring of frosting along the outer perimeter of cake. Fill in the center by continuing to pipe spiral.Place second cake layer on top. Gently press cake layer down to secure. Pipe layer of frosting. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Use a mini offset spatula or the smooth end of butterknife, to smooth the top layer of frosting. Let assembled cake chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to allow frosting to harden.Allow cake to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes to soften before serving. Decorate cake with sliced carrot and carrot top greens. Notes Store cake slices in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Warm to room temperature before eating. Omit nuts, if desired. Pecans or pistachios are a great substitute. Author: Maryanne Cabrera Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanKeyword: carrot cake, cake, cream cheese, frosting, birthday cake Did you make this recipe?Show us on Instagram! Tag @littleepicurean and hashtag #littleepicurean. Interested in other carrot desserts? Here are some favorites: These carrot cake cinnamon rolls are frosted with whipped cream cheese and topped with toasted walnuts. It’s the iconic flavors of carrot cake injected into sweet rolls! Made with ground flaxseed, grated carrots, raisins, dried pineapple chunks, and pumpkin seeds, it is a medley of flavors and textures. These whole wheat morning glory muffins are healthy breakfast treat. This carrot nut cake features two layers of carrot cake sandwiched with brown sugar cream cheese frosted with caramel buttercream.