pumpkin spice carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Sorry for being MIA the last few days guys! My boyfriend just finished up his dissertation so we took a little time out to relax and celebrate. And in true celebratory fashion, I bring you cake! Pumpkin spice carrot cake with cream cheese frosting to be precise!

I dived head first into fall aka pumpkin spice season and made this little beauty for you. It’s pumpkin, spice and everything nice. There’s even some extra veggies in there, so this cake is basically as healthy as your green kale-stravaganza smoothie.

I have always loved the combo of carrot cake and cream cheese frosting, ever since I was little and it would be my first pick at the bakery. I remember trips to Wales to visit my grandfather and my mum’s stepmother, and there was ALWAYS carrot cake involved. We would go to a Bird’s Bakery and I would pick out the slice with the biggest carrot made of icing on top. I’d take it back to their house, and eagerly wait in anticipation all day until after dinner. One time, I remember opening up the box and it was gone! My grandpa had eaten it! Oh I was so mad! Clearly I hadn’t quite got the hang of sharing at that point in time. If he was still with us now, I’d make him carrot cake every week, he loved it as much as I did.

So this is a little tribute to Patrick and to all the wonderful memories I have of spending time with him when I was younger. I don’t know if it’s the same for you guys, but certain foods hold such strong memories for me. Making them allows me a little reminiscence of those happy times.

Now I am just puzzling over what to do with the rest of my can of pumpkin that’s sitting in the fridge. I have a feeling some, dare I say it, pumpkin spice lattes might be coming up soon. Watch this space!


  • Serves: 8 slices
  • Time:
    • Prep: 40 mins
    • Cook: 38 mins
    • Passive: 2 hrs


  • cake
    • 1 cup pumpkin purée
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
    • 1/2 cup milk dairy or non-dairy will work!
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1/2 cup finely grated carrot (tightly packed)
    • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground allspice (you could replace all the spices with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
    • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • frosting
    • 6 oz cream cheese
    • 1 1/2 sticks butter
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp lemon juice


  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350 farenheit. Oil the inside of two 6-inch cake tins and line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and whisk to combine.
  3. In another bowl, combine the remaining cake ingredients. Whisk until well combined, then stir into the dry ingredients. Beat to combine and divide between the cake tins.
  4. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 35 minutes. Mine took 38, but begin checking that a skewer comes out of the cake clean at about 33 minutes.
  5. When the cakes are done, leave them to cool to room temperature in the tins. Meanwhile, get the butter and the cream cheese out of the fridge for the frosting.
  6. Once the cakes are room temperature, pop them in the fridge, still in their tins. The butter should be about room temperature by now, but still fairly firm to the touch.
  7. Put the cream cheese into one mixing bowl and the butter into another. Begin by whipping the butter with an electric whisk for about 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Now whip the cream cheese separately for about 45 seconds to smooth it out.
  8. Combine the butter and the cream cheese, whip for about 20 seconds to mix. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. I like to sift it as I add it to make sure there are no lumps. Keep your electric beaters on a low speed so you don’t end up with a huge dust cloud of sugar!
  9. Once all the sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla and lemon juice and increase the speed to high. Whisk until smooth and fluffy (3-4 minutes).
  10. Spoon the frosting into a piping bag. I didn’t actually use a nozzle, just the hole at the end of the bag, but a plain piping tip can also be used. Pop it in the fridge.
  11. Remove the cakes from the fridge and run a palette knife around each one to loosen any bits that are stuck to the side of the tin. Turn the cakes out, remove any parchment paper, and using a serrated knife, slice off the domed tops of the cakes so they are flat.
  12. Definitely eat some of the cake scraps you’ve just removed, you deserve it. Maybe smear a little leftover frosting on them. I won’t tell.
  13. Now, to frost the cake! Take a cake board or a cake stand, and smear a little frosting on so that the cake will stick to it. Place one of the cake layers cut-side down onto the board. Pipe rings of frosting onto the cake and use an offset spatula to smooth it out. Pop the other cake layer on top and repeat. Pipe frosting around the sides of the cake and smooth using the spatula. I like to get a really smooth finish by holding the spatula at 90 degrees (upright next to the cake) and spinning the cake stand whilst pressing in lightly to the cake. To get the swirl on top of the cake, place the spatula at the outer edge of the top of the cake, press in lightly and being twisting the cake stand. Slowly move your hand towards the centre of the cake and the swirl will form!
  14. If desired, decorate the cake with some grated carrot. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm up the frosting, then dig in! Glass of milk obligatory!
Written on September 16, 2017