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Pistachio Macadamia Nut Carrot Cake

Pistachio Macadamia Nut Carrot Cake

A new spin on a classic favorite. This pistachio macadamia nut carrot cake is frosted with brown sugar cream cheese buttercream.
Yield: 8-inch cake
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Assembly: 15 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake, pistachio carrot cake, cream cheese frosting
Servings: 12 slices
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


Carrot Cake:

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs room temp
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ pound carrots peeled and shredded (or grated)
  • 1 ½ cup roughly chopped pistachios roasted and unsalted
  • 1 ½ cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts roasted and unsalted

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 16 oz cream cheese room temp
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened, room temp
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar packed
  • cup confectioners' sugar sifted
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


Carrot Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and lightly flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Mix until combined.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.
  • Add flour mixture in three additions, mixing on low speed until just combined. Next, add all the shredded carrots, 1 cup of pistachios and 1 cup of macadamia nuts. Fold until evenly distributed.
  • Divide cake batter evenly between two prepared cake pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Rotate pans midway thru baking. Let cakes cool in pan for 5 minutes before unmolding. Turn cakes out on a wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add brown sugar and powdered sugar and beat until combined. Scrape down bowl as needed to ensure even and thorough mixing. Add salt and mix until combined. Chill in fridge until ready to frost cake.


  • If the cake tops are not level, use a serrated knife to trim. Place one cake layer on cake turn table. Add about 1/3 of frosting on top and smooth into even layer Place other cake layer on top. Repeat with about 1/3 of frosting.
  • Use remaining frosting to coat the sides of the cake. No need to try to keep it smooth, you will be covering it with chopped nuts. Just make sure that the frosting is even on the sides.
  • Take remaining 1/2 cup pistachios and 1/2 cup macadamia nuts and mix together. Press nut mixture into the sides of the cake until covered. Once finished, let cake chill in fridge until ready to serve. Let cake sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before slicing.


Recipe adapted from Keys to the Kitchen