Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe is kindly sponsored by Menier Chocolate, however all opinions are my own.

Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe details

TASTE: subtly sweet, warming spices and tangy white chocolate cream cheese frosting. For those wondering… carrot cake does not taste like carrot 😅
TEXTURE: The recipe has a little bit of everything when it comes to texture. Soft sponge, crunchy walnuts, creamy frosting.
EASE: requires a little effort but can be simplified depending on the decoration.
PERFECT FOR: a special celebration or as a Sunday lunch showstopper.
BAKING FACT: classic style carrot cake evolved from Medieval carrot puddings, where carrots were first boiled until soft, then mixed with spices, flour and eggs.

White chocolate flower decoration
White chocolate flower decoration

What ingredients go into carrot cake?

You’ll probably have heard the phrase: baking is a science. Never a truer statement 😅 So I always like to explain the role each ingredient plays in the recipe so you know what you can and what you can’t tweak. To make this carrot cake recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • Oil – used instead of butter to make the sponge really moist and soft. Vegetable or sunflower oil are fine to use.
  • Light brown sugar – sweetens the sponge and adds a rich caramel flavour. White or golden caster sugar can be used instead.
  • Self-raising flour – the raising agent found in self-raising flour helps the cakes rise in the oven.
  • Free range eggs – use the best quality you can find and make sure they’re at room temperature.
  • Carrots – it wouldn’t be a carrot cake without carrots! The carrots are grated and folded into the cake mixture. They add natural sweetness to the cake and create a soft, moist crumb.
  • Spices – cinnamon and mixed spice bring a lovely warming spice to the cake. Feel free to add more or less of the spices depending on your flavour preference.
  • Vanilla extract the vanilla helps lift the overall flavour of the cake.
  • Orange zest – not 100% needed but personally I love the fresh and vibrant flavour that a little orange zest adds to the sponge.
  • Chopped walnuts – the chopped walnuts add a little crunch throughout the sponge. You could swap for pecans, almonds or brazil nuts instead.
carrot cake ingredients
Carrot cake ingredients

Tips for making the white chocolate cream cheese frosting

What makes this carrot cake extra special is the white chocolate cream cheese frosting. It’s smooth, creamy, chocolatey and reaches new levels of deliciousness!

The frosting is made using four key ingredients: salted butter, icing sugar, full-fat cream cheese (don’t swap for reduced-fat otherwise the frosting will be too runny) and melted white chocolate. Follow these tips to make the perfect frosting for your carrot cake:

  1. Equipment – use an electric handheld mixer for best results.
  2. Melted and cooled white chocolate – melt the chocolate first so that it has time to cool down before you add it to the cream cheese frosting.
  3. The softer butter the better – beat the butter until super soft and pale in colour. The more you beat it the more it will lose its yellowish colour.
  4. Sift the icing sugar – sifting the icing sugar first removes any lumps, making the frosting smooth. Add the icing sugar in two stages so that it’s easier to beat into the butter.
  5. Use full-fat cold cream cheese – only take the cream cheese out of the fridge just before you add it to the bowl. The will make sure the frosting ends up being thick and spreadable.
Making white chocolate cream cheese frosting
White chocolate cream cheese frosting

Semi-naked frosting technique

This recipe makes enough white chocolate cream cheese frosting to sandwich the carrot cake layers together and coat the top and sides of the cake in a ‘semi-naked’ style. A semi-naked cake has a thin covering of buttercream or frosting on the sides, which is then scraped off to reveal some of the sponge underneath.

I decided to use a semi-naked technique for this cake so that the flower decoration would really pop and stand out. It’s also a bonus that semi-naked cakes are much easier to decorate than a fully coated cake, you don’t have to be too neat when applying the frosting and there’s no crumb-coat required. Just apply the frosting and then scrape it off until you have the desired look.

Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

3 ways to decorate the carrot cake

Another thing I love about carrot cake is that you can either dress it up or dress it down depending on the occasion. I chose to decorate the cake with a wow-factor chocolate flower (which is surprisingly easy to make), but there are lots of different ways you could decorate a carrot cake ranging from simple to showstopper. Here are 3 decoration ideas:

  1. Simple: scatter a handful of chopped walnuts onto the top of the cake and finish with a light dusting of cinnamon.
  2. Sophisticated: press chopped walnuts around the base of the cake to create a border. Pipe small carrot shapes on top using green and orange icing.
  3. Showstopper: try the gorgeous chocolate flower decoration included in this recipe. Just melt white chocolate and then spread it into petal shapes. Once the petals are dry and hard, peel them off and stick them to the cake to create a flower.

Carrot cake recipe FAQs

What size cake tin should I use?

This recipe uses 2 x 8inch round cake tins. Here is a link to the exact tins I used from Lakeland. Make sure your baking tins aren’t too shallow because the cakes will rise, the tins I used were 8cm in height.

Can I use different sized cake tin?

If you’re using 2 x 6inch round tins then bake for 45-50 minutes. If you’re using 2 x 9inch round tins then bake for 30-35 minutes.

How many slices will this cake make?

10-12 slices depending on how chunky you cut them.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes absolutely. Swap the 300g self-raising flour for 300g gluten-free flour + 1.5 teaspoons of xanthan gum (this will improve the texture of the cake) + 1 teaspoon baking powder.

My cream cheese frosting is too runny, what do I do?

Put the frosting in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. This will give the frosting time to set and thicken up a little.

How should I store the carrot cake and how long will it keep for?

The cream cheese frosting means this cake will need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped in clingfilm. It will keep for up to 3 days. 

Can I make normal cream cheese frosting?

Yes absolutely. Just remove the white chocolate and keep all other ingredients and quantities the same.

Got a question about something else? Drop it in the comments section below and I’ll reply to you asap 😊


Want to watch this recipe being made?

Carrot Cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting

Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe will teach you step-by-step how to make a delicious two-layer carrot cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting! For a wow-factor finish, the carrot cake is decorated with a white chocolate flower decoration.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Baking, British
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Carrot Cakes

  • 300 g Self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1 large Orange zest only
  • 300 g Light brown sugar
  • 300 ml Vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 3 large Eggs  at room temperature
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 200 g Carrots grated
  • 100 g Walnuts roughly chopped

White chocolate cream cheese frosting

  • 125 g Salted butter soft at room temp
  • 250 g Icing sugar
  • 125 g Full-fat cream cheese my favourite is Philadelphia
  • 60 g White chocolate my favourite is Menier White Chocolate

White chocolate flower

  • 100 g White chocolate my favourite is Menier White Chocolate
  • Sprinkles any colour and type you fancy

Instructions
 

First make the carrot cakes

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan oven).
  • Lightly grease two 8inch round cake tins with butter. Line the base and sides with greaseproof paper.
  • Stir the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and orange zest together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside for now.
  • In a separate mixing bowl beat the brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla extract together.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined.
  • Fold in the grated carrot and chopped walnuts.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes until risen, golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool for 20 minutes in the baking tins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely. 

Make the white chocolate cream cheese frosting

  • Finely chop the white chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave in 30-second blasts, stirring after each, until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  • Beat the butter until really soft and pale in colour.
  • Sift in half the icing sugar and beat until smooth. Sift in the remaining icing sugar and beat again until smooth and creamy.
  • Now take the cream cheese out of the fridge and add it to the bowl. Mix the cream cheese into the frosting until just combined, be careful not to overdo it as the frosting can quickly loosen and become too thin.
  • Now mix in the melted white chocolate until you have a smooth and creamy frosting.
  • Use the frosting to sandwich the cake layers together and roughly coat the top and sides, leaving the outside of the cake slightly exposed. This decoration technique is called a "semi-naked" cake. Save a little bit of the frosting if you are adding the chocolate flower so you can stick the petals onto the cake.

Make the white chocolate flower decoration

  • Finely chop the white chocolate and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave in 30-second blasts, stirring after each, until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  • Drop teaspoons of white chocolate onto greaseproof paper & use the back of the spoon to make petal shapes. 
  • Repeat until you have approx. 12 petals. Leave to cool and harden (roughly 1-2 hours).
  • Carefully peel off the petals and stick them onto the front of the cake using leftover frosting to create a flower shape.
  • Spread a blob of frosting in the middle of the petals and decorate with sprinkles to create the middle of the flower.
  • Slice and serve!

Notes

The cream cheese frosting means this cake will need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight contacter or wrapped in clingfilm. It will keep for up to 3 days. 
Keyword Carrot cake, Cream cheese frosting, White chocolate, White chocolate cream cheese frosting

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