A spiced carrot cake that is not too sweet and packed full of shredded carrots and apples, making it the most tender and distinctly cake-like cake you might ever enjoy. The goat cheese-cream cheese frosting just makes it better.
If you love cake, there are an endless array of flavors you can enjoy year-round. A few distinctly special cakes come to mind such as this Limoncello Syrup Lemon Cake, a stunning Buttery Almond Cake and this Mandarin Orange Sheet Cake. Make them all!
Spiced Apple Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting Recipe
Making a good carrot cake requires balancing a few variables. It needs to be sweet, but also spicy; tender but delicate; pretty, but not pretentious. This Spiced Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting takes your regular carrot cake up a few levels taste-wise.
The goat cheese addition to the cream cheese frosting adds another dimension of flavor into an already great tasting treat.
Unlike many carrot cakes, this version is not sickeningly sweet. It’s sweet enough that you know it’s dessert, but not so sweet that your teeth ache.
Ingredients for Spiced Carrot Cake
Full recipe and instructions can be found at the bottom of the page.
- all-purpose flour
- granulated sugar – sugar acts as a tenderizer so don’t cut the amount
- baking soda
- baking powder
- ground cinnamon
- ground cloves
- ground nutmeg
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- black pepper
- table salt
- vegetable oil or canola oil
- vanilla extract
- confectioners’ sugar
- eggs – size large and a yolk
- Granny Smith apple
- goat cheese – mild in flavor
- cream cheese
- unsalted butter
How To Make Spiced Carrot Cake
Step one: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three, nonstick, 9-inch round baking pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
Step two: In a large bowl, SIFT together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, unsweetened cocoa powder, black pepper and salt. Whisk to combine.
Step three: Stir in vegetable oil, lightly beaten eggs and 1 egg yolk until combined. Stir in carrots, apples and walnuts.
Step four: Divide the batter among the three baking pans. (To make sure layers are even, I weigh pans with the batter to make sure there are equal amounts in each one.) Bake for 25 minutes or until cakes pull away from pan sides and a cake tester inserted in each center comes out clean. Transfer cakes to cooling racks and let cool 10 minutes. Turn out onto racks and let cool completely.
Step five: For the frosting, beat goat cheese, cream cheese, vanilla extract and butter until smooth and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until combined.
Step six: Once cakes are cool, arrange first layer on a large platter. Spread some frosting over it, then top with the second layer and top with the third. Generously frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Press walnuts lightly into the sides of the cake. Chill before serving; about 3 hours.
- Pan preparation is paramount. Make sure your pans are nonstick and greased well. It’s optional, but, those precut parchment rounds for the bottom of your pans work great.
- Make sure you use cake pans that are exactly the same. It’s impossible to get consistent results when one pan is dark on the outside and the other dark on the inside, or one is nonstick and the other isn’t.
- Chill the cake well before serving.
Can I Freeze This Cake?
Yes. Before you frost it.
Wrap each cake layer separately with saran wrap and place in a zipped top freezer bag.
Freeze up to three months. Once thawed, you can frost as per the directions.
Storage Instructions for Carrot Cake
Because of the frosting, carrot cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator. It also tastes better when it’s cold.
Make sure while in the refrigerator, it is tightly covered. It will last up to a week this way.
Other Carrot Cake Recipes You Might Enjoy:
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Spiced Apple Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2-1/4 tsps baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsps unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs plus 1 yolk, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 cups packed coarsely grated carrots (about 3)
- 1-1/2 cups packed coarsely grated Granny Smith apples (about 4)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, more for garnish
- 11 oz fresh, goat cheese, room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tbsps unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three, nonstick, 9-inch round baking pans with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, SIFT together flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, unsweetened cocoa powder, black pepper and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Stir in vegetable oil, lightly beaten eggs and 1 egg yolk until combined. Stir in carrots, apples and walnuts.
- Divide the batter among the three baking pans. (To make sure layers are even, I weigh pans with the batter to make sure there are equal amounts in each one.) Bake for 25 minutes or until cakes pull away from pan sides and a cake tester inserted in each center comes out clean. Transfer cakes to cooling racks and let cool 10 minutes. Turn out onto racks and let cool completely.
- Beat goat cheese, cream cheese, vanilla extract and butter until smooth and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until combined.
- Once cakes are cool, arrange first layer on a large platter. Spread some frosting over it, then top with the second layer and top with the third. Generously frost top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. Press walnuts lightly into the sides of the cake. Chill before serving; about 3 hours.
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This looks wonderful!
This cake recipe looks very good and just right for us people like the Wild Boar who prefer desserts not too sweet.
It is a perfect marriage if the two are different…Hubby loves his sweets and chocolate and is very happy to eat my share of them too…he just better share the brussel sprouts with me.
Barbie with a T says
Beautiful creation. But I don’t do layers. I do sheet cake or Bundt. My layer cakes have all failed, so I quit trying. The photo of the slice of cake makes you want to take a bite right now.
Cathy at Wives with Knives says
What a beautiful cake. I’ve never added cocoa powder before. Sounds wonderful.
I’m bookmarking this one. Your photos are excellent, Cathy
Andi Sexton (rrlscrapgal) says
YUM!!! This is such a beautiful cake, and I do believe it qualifies as Health Food!!!
This cake looks crazy good…I think the goat cheese would make it taste fabulous!
Leah - Chef Maven says
Wow frosting with goat cheese? Now and only now I have learned all that I need to learn in this lifetime! That sounds so interesting! And I would agree with Andi, that yes, this IS health food! Great post!
YUM! I wish my husband liked cake, he just doesn’t, but it’s usually because it’s too sweet, so maybe he’d like this!
…and I thought the carrot cake from Costco was good…I want to try this…dang girl…how do you guys stay in shape at your home with all this yummy food…CARROT CAKE is my all time favorite cake!
My girlfriend’s birthday is coming up in 3 weeks and she just loves carrot cake. I will have to make her this one! Beautiful!
Looks perfect for Sunday dinner’s dessert! Love that you don’t have to drag out the mixer too.
The Wild Boar has very good taste. And not just in women.
Boy, you are clever. This looks impossibly good for something so easy to make. My compliments.
He doesn’t like chocolate?
Hmmm, I can understand that. I have friend that actually hate chocolate.
And I don’t mind not having chocolate cake if I know I’ll be getting carrot cake as good as yours.
3 layer cake is always better than 2 layer. I have never seen goat cheese in a frosting…but you say it’s good then I’m with you and I’m ready to try this.
Fun House Jennifer says
I love the idea of the goat cheese instead of crem cheese! I will add it to my list of recipes to try!!
i love it! i’d rather have a cake like this than a chocolate one any time.
Holy Yum! I have a tried & true carrot cake recipe, but have never found frosting that was *the one*. I can’t wait to try this! I never would’ve thought of goat cheese.
That looks sinfully delicious.
Girl, you are starving me for sweets!
My husband would love this too. Even more than cake he’s a berry pie kinda guy. The kids must get the chocolate gene from me.
Thanks for the recipe!
Queen of Planet HotFlash says
OOOMMMGGGoossshh that looks so wonderful, I’m not so sure about the goat cheese frosting but I’m going to give it a try…
Liz C. says
Carrot Cake is my absolute favorite nad has been for years. If I try this one, I’ll need to keep it quiet that I used goat cheese, lol.
Hmmm, goat cheese. That is intriguing, although I’m still undecided if it is in that “I’ll have to try that” or more the “I don’t think I’d try that” kind of a way. But yes, intriguing!
That looks fantastic. I never would have thought “goat cheese” and “frosting” in the same sentence, but I bet it’s awesome.
You had me at Goat Cheese.
Seriously, like I need something else for that addiction.
Oh yummy! The goat cheese sounds fantastic! I will definitely have to try this someday.
Carrot cake is one of my favorites and I like the use of apples, cocoa and goat cheese in this one. Bookmarked.
Carrot cake kicked up a notch, indeed!
Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer says
WOW What a wonderful recipe – I would have never thought of using goat cheese as a frosting. Thank you for sharing this treasure. This is a must make.
I’ve never heard of goat cheese in a frosting, either, but I’ll take your word for it. Sounds good, too!
WOW! That cake looks fabulous and I love the goat’s cheese. Perfect addition.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that the New Year brings you all yummy things.
Stacey Snacks says
This is an impressive cake, I love carrot cake, the goat cheese frosting is crazy good!
Wow. My heart is seriously beating faster just from looking at your beautiful, beautiful pictures. That CAKE! That frosting! The quality of your pictures! *goes into overdrive and goes to heaven*
How in the world am I ever going to get out of my fat pants if you keep tempting me? This looks so good. Yum!
Bellini Valli says
Goat cheese frosting now there is something to try in 2009. I love carrot cake..I am with the Wild Boar there since carrot cake is my favourite too!!
good heavens to betsy ross, what a cake. i doubt it could ever be topped–your hubby has good taste. 🙂
And isn’t the Wild Boar a smart one?! What an interesting cake!!! The goat cheese with the carrot sounds delicious!
I do believe I’m going to steal that goat cheese frosting from you. can’t wait to try it 🙂
Wow, this looks delish! It would have certainly been a great follow up to the Moroccon spiced short ribs I made this evening! Oh how I love that dish! Did I thank you? What, only 3 times already? I wish you a Happy New Year!
I’m getting caught up on your blog, and lordy, lordy this cake sounds amazing. I love the goat cheese addition! Carrots beware … I want this cake!
Dear God I’m salivating!
Oh my, this is my idea of a perfect cake!
Marcie Karlin says
I made this cake today, but I substituted 1/2 C. applesauce for 1/2 of the oil. It turned out very well with that substitution. The frosting with the goat cheese was one of the best I’ve ever tasted! I highly recommend this recipe.
Gen Smiley says
This looks incredible! Something that everyone could enjoy! I am both lactose intolerant and allergic to cow’s milk, so when I saw the words “goat cheese” in the title, it caught my attention right away. 🙂 The butter I can easily replace with Earth Balance butter-type spread which I often cook and bake with, but I didn’t realize this recipe would require both goat cheese and traditional cream cheese. Do you think the cream cheese could be replaced with something else?
This is an amazing cake!!! My son (and future professional / celebrity chef) found the recipe for his 15th birthday cake. It is a birthday tradition that I bake the cake from scratch they choose each year. His 16th birthday is tomorrow and he chose this cake again! This cake is tied for my favourite cake of all time! It is not super sweet and the flavors complement each other beautifully and the icing really makes it special! I am really looking forward to baking it today and eating it tomorrow!!!!! Thank you ~ we have tried a lot of your recipes and they are all so amazing!!!
This frosting mixed with the cake is an amazing duo and my new favorite cake recipe!
Doris Layhe says
Ok so this cake is amazing, but I think the frosting is the best part! OMG! Thank you!
We loved this cake! The perfect mix of sweet and tangy!