I have a go-to, moist carrot cake recipe that I would stake my life on. It’s moist, has great texture, and has a wonderful balance of flavors. But sometimes you want something a little different, and that’s where this spicy carrot cake comes into play.
I decided to spice up my favorite recipe. I experimented with a bit of cayenne and made a spicy carrot cake with a bourbon maple cream cheese frosting.
It has the perfect amount of kick in my opinion, and really adds such a fun spin to this classic flavor.
Yield: 24 slices
Spicy Carrot Cake Base:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp cayenne powder
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups finely grated carrot
- 1 (12-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 10 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp maple bourbon
- 1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
Step 1: Bake the Spicy Carrot Cake Layers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line and lightly greasing three eight-inch, round, cake pans. Set the pans aside. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon.
Mix in the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla at a medium speed, until fully incorporated. Fold in the carrots, pineapple, and walnuts.
Pour the batter evenly between to prepare cake pans, and bake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Allow the layers to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove them to allow them to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Step 2: Make the Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting
While the cake layers cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese, until the mixture becomes light and fluffy (about 2 minutes), then mix in the powdered sugar in several installments on a low speed.
Add in a splash of bourbon between the powdered sugar installments. Add in maple syrup and salt last, and mix on a low speed until fully incorporated.
Step 3: Assemble this Spicy Carrot Cake
Once the cake layers are fully cooled, frost each layer with an even layer of frosting, and add a thin crumb coat around the cake.
Chill the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes, until the crumb coat is firm to the touch. Add a second, thicker layer of frosting, and smooth using a bench scraper. Then decorate as desired!
Tips for Making the Best Spicy Carrot Cake
- Use a microplane grater to shred your carrots into super fine pieces! It’s a bit of extra work, but it gives the cake an amazing texture
- Chill your cake layers in the freezer for about 20 minutes before assembling the cake, to make it easier to stack and frost.
- Mix your cake batter just until the ingredients are incorporated; this will ensure your cake layers are tender and fluffy
- Be sure to properly measure your flour (spoon into the cup measure then level) or use a kitchen scale to measure your dry ingredients
- Use a serrated knife to level your cake layers once they’re fully cooled, to make it easier to assemble and frost your cake
Making this Spicy Carrot Cake in Advance & Storage Tips
- Make your cake layers in advance and freeze them. It breaks the process up and makes it more approachable.
- Make your frosting ahead of time too, or save any leftover frosting! It can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Be sure to give it a good stir once it thaws to get the consistency nice and smooth again.
- A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious!
- If you cut into the cake and have leftovers, use any remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Let Me Know What You Think!
If you try my spicy carrot cake recipe, I’d love to hear what think of it! Please leave a rating, and let me know your thoughts by sharing a comment 🙂
Also please tag me @chelsweets, and use the #chelsweets on social media so that I can see your amazing creations!