Love it or hate it, spicy-sweet carrot cake is here to stay. A cake for the not-so-sweet-toothed, these cream cheese and carrot-filled creations often pop up in the spring, particularly around Easter.
But since there’s never not a good time to enjoy deliciously moist cake packed with spices, nuts, and decadent cream cheese frosting, we’re strong advocates for year-round carrot cake—scratch that: carrot everything.
From doughnuts to tarts to French toast bakes, these carrot cake-inspired recipes prove that these signature flavors were meant to be enjoyed in far more ways than one.
Cardamom Carrot Cake With Kombucha Frosting
Some of us want to enjoy carrot cake in its true form: cake. Traditionalists, we see you. But before you make one of five identical carrot cakes brought to the Easter brunch this year, consider taking a tangy, mind-blowing, probiotic twist.
One Green Planet’s Cardamom Carrot Cake uses coconut sugar and applesauce to create a moist, rich sponge that’s cut through the middle by bright cardamom and carrot flavor. Thanks to the kombucha, cocoa butter, and powdered sugar frosting, this flavorful cake is also 100% vegan.
Carrot Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting
Cakes can be a headache to transport, serve, and store conveniently. Cupcakes offer a practical solution without sacrificing any flavor. And in our new, post-2020 world, cupcakes are also some of the most sanitary dessert choices.
This carrot cupcake recipe covers all the bases with a traditionally flavored, moist sponge, fluffy cream cheese frosting, and a charming marzipan carrot decorated with cocoa powder and parsley.
Carrot Cake Ice Cream
Put leftover carrot cake (or cupcakes) to good use with this no-churn, toasted walnut carrot cake ice cream. No fancy ice cream makers necessary; just a mixer, square or loaf pan, and a night in the freezer.
All kinds of leftover cake can be used in this handy recipe, which means you’ll never have to toss those last pesky slices of cake again.
Substitute traditional cream cheese frosting with an entire cream cheese cake with this decadent carrot cake cheesecake recipe. Even carrot cake naysayers will have a hard time not reaching for a piece of this creamy dessert.
This recipe uses fresh orange zest and ground ginger to add a tart bite to the otherwise sweet flavors; take it one step further by subbing ground ginger with grated ginger root, doubling the orange, and adding half that amount of lemon zest.
Carrot Cake Roll
Cake rolls’ cylindrical shape and trademark frosting swirl can seem daunting for baking newbies. Luckily, this carrot cake roll recipe from Dessert Now Dinner Later offers the perfect option for first-time cake rollers that turns this challenge into a cinch.
Adding chopped walnuts, pecans, raisins, and pineapple to the spiced, carrot-filled batter creates a moister (and more easily rollable) sponge. Follow the recipe’s extra tips and tricks to a T, and you’re bound to have picture-perfect, swirled slices every time.
Carrot Cake Tart
Pillsbury’s carrot cake tart recipe uses a refrigerated pie crust for effortless assembly. It’s also garnished with an irresistible trio of whole praline pecans, drizzled caramel syrup, and carrot curls (for effortless eating).
While this recipe calls for light corn syrup, we recommend sweetening the tart with date syrup instead. Not only is it a way healthier option, but the sweet, chocolatey flavor of Medjool dates perfectly complements the carrots, raisins, pecans, and light brown sugar in the tart.
Carrot Cake-Stuffed French Toast Bake
What’s not to love about this recipe? Between the cinnamon raisin bread, carrot cake frosting, and rich maple syrup, there are few better ways to start the day than with a carrot cake French toast bake.
Despite its decadent appearance, this French toast dish is wildly easy to make. One mixing bowl, one casserole dish, and 15 minutes are all that’s needed to assemble this d-i-v-i-n-e dessert (er, breakfast).
Healthy Carrot Cake Cookies
It’s hard to believe that a carrot cake condensed into a cookie could ever be healthy for you, but the future is now, folks, and the aptly named Ambitious Kitchen is leading the way in carrot cake innovations.
These delicious, chewy oatmeal and carrot cake cookies take only 20 minutes to make and are bursting with coconut, raisins, pecans, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Plus, each cookie weighs in at only 130 calories, which we’re not unconvinced isn’t black magic.
Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies With Coconut Cream Cheese
A slightly more decadent take on the carrot cake cookie, carrot cake whoopie pies are made of two pillowy soft carrot cake mix cookies sandwiching a fluffy, coconut-filled cream cheese frosting.
Enjoy these sweet treats at room temp, refrigerated, or frozen. Experiment with different flavor possibilities by using red velvet, devil’s food, or one of our personal favs, funfetti boxed cake mix.
Carrot Cake Doughnuts
Skip the Dunkin’ drive-thru this weekend; try homemade carrot cake doughnuts instead. This recipe does require a few deep-frying steps, but the knockout combination of fresh orange zest, shredded carrots, nutmeg, and cloves is well worth the extra effort.
The recipe as-is yields a slightly drier donut. We recommend adding a teaspoon of vanilla extract, half a cup of unsweetened applesauce, and a quarter less salt for a richer, more cake-like texture.
Carrot Cake Apple Cobbler
Combine the best of two classic desserts, carrot cake and apple cobbler, into one show-stopping dessert that requires less than 30 minutes of prep time. Two desserts for the price of one is what we call working smarter, not harder.
This is a classic boxed cake mix cobbler, making it a great go-to recipe for novices and pros alike. We recommend adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of orange zest into the glaze to help the apple, carrot, and cinnamon flavors really pop.
Creamy Carrot Cake Smoothie
Gluten-free, vegan, creamy, and delicious: this carrot cake smoothie recipe checks all the boxes and then some. The blend of bananas, carrots, dates, dairy-free milk, and vanilla protein powder is amazingly healthy, considering it tastes like a slice of cake blended into a glass.
Plus, this nutritious smoothie takes only five minutes to make. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to one month, meaning you can make large batches when your produce is at its peak flavor.