spiced carrot cake on a cake stand

Alex and I spent a fab date night out this weekend. We feasted on charred leeks with romesco, vegetable carpaccio, roasted cauliflower with a lemon tahini, grilled octopus, and more. And even after all that delicious food, we still came home, sat at the kitchen counter, and ate this cardamom spiced carrot cake right off the cake stand.

Oh how I love my boyfriend.

In another life, I would love to decorate wedding cakes. Or at least design them. Like this one. A few hours before we devoured it, it absolutely made my day to put this together, layer by layer. Of course, there was a lot of spatula-licking involved (half the fun in decorating a cake), but that’s besides the point. Or is it…

Naked cakes, or cakes with minimal frosting on the outside, are my favorite. Though visually stunning, they are remarkably easy to make. If you can scrape frosting off of a cake, well, you can make a naked cake. I made this cake with three 6″ cake rounds. It’s my new favorite size to bake a cake with. Your cake ends up looking like a centerpiece in a cake museum. Total love.

spiced carrot cake on cake stand next to slice of cake

Tips for making cardamom spiced carrot cake

Although easy to make, there are a few things to keep in mind when making this carrot cake recipe with ginger frosting:

Use unsweetened coconut — Double check the ingredients list on your shredded coconut to confirm that there’s no sugar added to it. If you use sweetened coconut in this recipe, the texture will be a little off and it will be way too sweet.

Use room temperature ingredients — For both the carrot cake layers and the cream cheese ginger frosting, you need to use room temperature ingredients. Room temp ingredients ensure that the cake layers bake evenly. And when making frosting you need the butter and cream cheese to be warm enough to whip up and become light and fluffy.

Let the cake layers cool — When making this spiced carrot cake, allow plenty of time to let the cake cool completely before frosting it. If you try to frost a warm cake, you’ll just wind up making a mess!

Add plenty of frosting between the cake layers — I know this is a naked cake, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the frosting between the cake layers. Add a generous amount of frosting between the carrot cake layers so you get a mouthful of the creamy ginger frosting in every bite.

slice of spiced carrot cake on a plate

XO!

Print

Cardamom Spiced Carrot Cake with Ginger Frosting & Caramel Drizzle

  • Author: Sarah Fennel
Scale

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

For the caramel

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I use Challenge butter!)
  • 6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

make the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 6″ cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, coconut oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Carefully fold dry ingredients into wet until mostly combined.
  4. Fold in carrots and shredded coconut. Distribute batter evenly into prepared pans (1 1/3 cups of batter per pan).
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

make the caramel

  1. Make the caramel while the cake is baking. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to occasionally stir the sugar, getting to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Once the sugar is fully melted and turns a medium gold hue, remove from heat immediately and stir in butter. The mixture will violently bubble. Use your spatula to stir the butter and sugar until they melt together completely.
  3. Next, pour in the heavy cream. Use your spatula to stir until everything is combined. Place back on the stove for about 30 seconds, stirring the whole time. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

make the frosting

  1. To make frosting, whip butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer on high speed for 1 minute. Lower speed and add in powdered sugar, ginger, salt, and vanilla extract, mixing until combined.
  2. Place the first layer of cake onto a cake stand, then top with a heaping 1/2 cup of frosting. Spread to edges, smoothing evenly. Repeat with second and third layer.
  3. Add remaining frosting to sides of cake, then use a cake scraper or flat cake knife to smooth frosting out around edges.
  4. Pour caramel around outside crown of the cake, using a fork to help pull drippy bits down the cake. SERVE!

More cake recipes from Broma Bakery:

Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout Cake

Best Chocolate Blackout Cake Ever

Super Fudgy Mocha Layer Cake

Chocolate Chip Cake

45 comments

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Carrot cake and cardamom?! Sounds divine! I’ll definitely be trying this recipe soon 🙂

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This cake is just so pretty! Looks delicious too, especially that drizzle. 🙂

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A show stopper for Thanksgiving. Such an interesting spice combo too!

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you can decorate my wedding cake.

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at one point this summer, i was making cake every week, so i started using 6″ cake pans; it makes it a little easier to not eat so much cake! and completely agree that dreaming up new cake ideas is the most fun (: love that you added a bit of coconut to the cake, too!

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Gorgeous photos, as always. I’ve never tried carrot cake with cardamom, what a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to try this ?

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1) i’m obsessed with cardamom. 2) carrot cake is my favorite cake 3) naked cakes win. 4) LOVE, love, love this!

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Where is the beautiful cake stand from?
A beautiful (and tasty) cake like this sure needs the right companion!!!!
Love the idea with adding ginger and cardamom.

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Gosh this looks absolutely perfect!

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This sounds absolutely perfect and needs to be my 30th birthday cake! It will!

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Oh my goodness! Obsessed with every part of this cake. And yay caramel drizzz! I posted a caramel cake on my blog today too haha. I think it’s a fall thing 🙂 🙂 Love, love, love this carrot cake!

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Goodness gracious Sarah! This cake looks absolutely divine…and that caramel drizzle is for real though 🙂

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This is seriously so lovely. You and Alex seriously make me LOL on snapchat. Couldn’t get enough of those crazy yoga moves ha!

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Sounds like the ultimate date night – ALL the food, and finishing with cake. Love how light and bright your photos are here too!

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This cake looks beautiful! The perfect fall dessert, I’d say!

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Beautiful carrot cake! It sounds delicious!

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You had me at caramel drizzle.. what a beauty!

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Wow, the pictures of this carrot cake make it look yummy!

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I so want to make this for my Friendsgiving but wondering how many it serves? Would it work to use two 9 inch pans instead? I don’t own any 6 inch pans (yet). It sounds delicious.

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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Yes, two 9 inch pans would be fine! This will serve a crowd. The 9 inch cakes will probably bake in 20 minutes instead of 30. Just check for doneness around then!

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I want to make this in the morning to serve that night, what steps should complete ahead and which do you think I can wait to do just before? Should I wait to put the caramel drizzle on until the very end? If so, can I make the caramel drizzle ahead of time and just put it on right before serving?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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Hi Emily! So glad you’re going to make this cake! I would bake and frost the cake ahead of time, but wait on the caramel drizzle until the end, as you suggested. Enjoy!!

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to add to emily’s question and just for clarification, will the caramel remain pourable if it were to be made hours ahead of time and then poured on the cake right before serving? or does it have to be made and poured within 15 minutes? i was thinking of making this for christmas eve dessert and bringing it to my sister’s house about 20 minutes away. in theory i could assemble it there (actually might be safer!) but i’m stumped about the caramel sauce having never made it before (eep!). thanks in advance!

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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Hi Aisling! I would make the caramel before and put it into a microwave-safe container (like a mason jar). Then, once you’re at your sister’s house, heat it up for 15-20 seconds in the microwave, stir it up, and it should be pour-ready!

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THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! so looking forward to making this!! and glad i have the ability to make the sauce ahead of time in case i screw it up….ha!

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i made this for christmas eve dinner and it was a hit! i made the sauce (why was i so scared of caramel?) but decided to just do a light drizzle and leave the rest for folks to put on themselves. the frosting and cake were perfection and perfectly sweet on their own. i ended up making 2 8-inch layers as i didn’t have 6″ tins. i pulled them out around 20 minutes because my toothpick came out clean but they were still wobbly and undercooked when i tried to unmold them. i stayed calm and put them back in for about 10-15 minutes and they finished up nicely. i think 30 minutes would have been fine. i definitely recommend this recipe.

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everything about this cake screams “make me”! Do you have any suggestions for a different drizzle — have a not so much of a fan of caramel in my life.
You are amazingly gifted. Love your website

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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Thank you so much Kim! I would omit the drizzle entirely. The cake is just as good without it 🙂

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to achieve this gorgeous look with the frosting, as you have done with so many other of your cakes, do you freeze your cake rounds before frosting them? Or does allowing them to come to room temperature suffice? making another one of your cakes for my mom’s birthday, but she will SO MUCH APPRECIATE THE LOOK OF THIS FROSTING. THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

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^ (yikes, who knew that last bit was going all-caps…)

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This cake is amazing!! My first ever layer cake and it turned out great, I 1 and a halfed the recipe and made it in 8″ tins

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Thoughts on adding the traditional raisins and nuts to this cake???

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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OH YES

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Hi Sarah! I’ve made this cake a few times before and have received nothing short of rave reviews. I was wondering though, can I use the same recipe to make cupcakes and just shorten the baking time? Should any other adjustments be made?

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Hi Sarah!! I’ve made this cake a few times before and have received nothing short of rave reviews. I was wondering though, can I use the same recipe to make cupcakes and just shorten the baking time? Should any other adjustments be made?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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Nope, just shorten the baking time 🙂

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Should I use a bread knife to cut the round humps off the top of the cakes after they’re cool?

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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Yes, use a serrated knife 🙂

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This was delicious. Last time I made caramel sauce it was kind of a disaster so I skipped that step. Still delicious. I also used spelt flour because it’s easier for me to digest, and it worked just fine.

Sarah | Broma Bakery
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so stoked to hear spelt flour worked too! That’s awesome.

You should give the caramel sauce another swing–it’s SO worth it.

Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Quick question. If I plan to make the cake a day ahead of time, should I wait to do the caramel sauce until the last minute? I’m making this cake for my supper club and am SO EXCITED!

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Hey Laura! Great question! I would recommend waiting to do the caramel sauce closer to serving just so that it doesn’t harden or end up sticking to anything!

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