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.
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.
Cardamom Spiced Carrot Cake with Ginger Frosting & Caramel Drizzle
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
make the cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line three 6″ cake pans with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix together sugar, coconut oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Carefully fold dry ingredients into wet until mostly combined.
- Fold in carrots and shredded coconut. Distribute batter evenly into prepared pans (1 1/3 cups of batter per pan).
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Add remaining frosting to sides of cake, then use a cake scraper or flat cake knife to smooth frosting out around edges.
- Pour caramel around outside crown of the cake, using a fork to help pull drippy bits down the cake. SERVE!