Pumpkin Pie Spiced Carrot Cakelets with Buttercream and Walnut Dust

I love tiny little desserts, who doesn’t? They are perfect for parties, most not requiring cumbersome utensils to eat or serve. Everyone just dives in for a bite. These sweet little cakelets are no exception. Just grab ’em and go. 

While the Fall season is looming on the calendar, the weather here in Oregon has been unseasonably warm, about 90 degrees at the moment. I cannot complain, we have had a beautiful wine grape growing season. It should be an epic harvest, with lots of big and bold fruit flavors and plenty of sugar to ferment into alcohol.

However, even with the warm weather, I still have pumpkin and apple on the brain. It’s hard not to, as I witness the leaves slowly changing color outside my office window. Soon the rains will come and I will be dreaming of a warm weather vacation. You really need one when you reside in the Pacific Northwest.

Carrot Cakeletsx
Anyway, I made these cakelets in my Nordic Ware Mini Bundt-Brownie Pan. I love this pan. I love the idea of creating little bites of cake in this pan. But, I have a question, I love Nordic Ware and all of their really cool pans. But, no matter what I have tried, I never get those perfectly edged cakes like they have in their pictures. 

I have tried various methods of greasing the pans, cooking spray, cooking spray with flour, Crisco with flour ~ applied several different ways. Yet, my cakes always lack the perfect edge. Does anyone know the secret? Is there one? I’d love to know because I LOVE all my festive Nordic Ware pans. All comments appreciated!

And this my friends, is my new favorite baking ingredient, pure vanilla bean paste. Do you hear the angels singing? Vanilla bean paste is made by infusing the actual vanilla bean into a mix of water, vanilla extract, sugar and a thickening agent to make this yummy product.

It is full of visible vanilla bean seeds and can be substituted for a vanilla bean (1 Tablespoon = 1 vanilla bean). An equal quantity of paste can also be used in place for an equal quantity of vanilla extract. So, all of those recipes you would love to have speckled with the appearance of the seeds, here’s your answer. You can thank me later. I currently have five jars in my pantry, the shelf life is two years. However, I’m hoping my stash makes it through the holidays.

Aren’t these darling? This is why I love this pan. The flavor possibilities for mini bundts are endless. I did use my food processor to shred the carrots, using the fine shredder attachment. The carrots are shredded so finely, you can’t even see them in the cake. If you don’t have a food processor, make it a priority to get one. It makes certain jobs in the kitchen so easy!!

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Pumpkin Pie Spiced Carrot Cakelets with Buttercream and Walnut Dust

Recipe from: Inspired by a Nordic Ware Recipe | Serves: 24 cakelets



  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Buttercream

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Walnut Dust

  • 1/8 cup walnuts, shelled (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour pan. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla bean paste. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Slowly add to wet mixture until fully combined. Do not overmix. Stir in carrots.
  • Pour half of batter into prepared pan, about 2/3 full for each cake. Bake 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes in pan and invert cakes onto a cooling rack. Wash and prepare pan again. Repeat with remaining batter.
  • For frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Place a dollop of frosting on each cake or use a pastry bag to pipe out frosting.
  • Place walnuts in a plastic bag. Use a rolling pin to pulverize them into dust. Sprinkle on top of buttercream.

See the specks in the buttercream? That’s the lovely vanilla bean paste. Pretty, isn’t it?

My husband loves carrot cake so I’m always making a different version. Here are a couple others to try:

Triple Layered Spiced Apple Carrot Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting
Alton Brown’s 18-Carrot Cake

Post a Comment

12 Comments and 10 Replies

  1. Mary Beth Elderton 1

    These look heavenly! I’ve never used vanilla bean paste. I am trying my hand for the first time at making vanilla extract–I have a vanilla beans in vodka right now that should be “done” about early December. I wonder if there is a way to make the paste at home?

    • Cathy 2

      I think it would be easy to make. Probably lots of instructions out their on the internet.

  2. Barbie with a T 3

    How very cute these little cakes are! Good flavors too. This time of the year brings out all those spicy pumpkin yearnings, and these should fill the void!!

  3. These look incredible! I love that cakelet mold.

  4. NancyC 7

    Those are so cute and look so yummy! :)

  5. I can’t handle this amount of amazing!! Oh my oh my!

  6. Susan 11

    These look amazing!Whomever does your photography has a great eye! Good baking is a real work of art….

  7. So yummy and I am printing this now because I want to surprise my kids tomorrow after school. They will call me again supermom! Yay…

  8. bellini 14

    Walnut dust sounds magical.

  9. Pumpkin, carrots, buttercream, walnuts??! Weeee!!!

  10. Patty 18

    They look gorgeous and I love the pure vanilla bean paste too;-)
    I don’t know what to say about the sticking pans, sounds like you’ve tried everything??
    Does everything you bake in these pans stick? Sounds like the pans;-(

  11. Ann 19

    I just came across this recipe and it sounds amazing. I love anything pumpkin so I am going to try it, even after the holidays.

    I just picked up the Nordicware mini bundt pan and the packaging states to brush the pan with solid vegetable shortening and dust with flour or cocoa or use baking spray with flour in it. Have you tried the banking spray with flour? I haven’t used that in baking before but before I go out and get some, I wanted to see if you tried it first and if that still didn’t allow the whole shape to form.

    • Cathy 20

      I love the baking spray with flour. However make sure to clean your aerosol sprayer after each use or it gets clogged.

  12. Tracy 21

    they’re adorable, but if one doesn’t have the cute pans, any adaptation needed for one regular bundt cake?


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