Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream
This past winter I had the best carrot cake I've ever eaten when I was out for dinner at The Aberdeen Tavern in Hamilton, Ontario. This is definitely my favourite restaurant in the whole city and every meal I've ever eaten here (which is a lot) has been exquisite.
This dinner in particular we were out with friends and all of us ordered the carrot cake and we all agreed it was the best we'd ever tasted. Unable to stop thinking about it after the fact, I decided I had to do my best to recreate it at home. I found a carrot cake recipe from The Busy Baker and adapted it myself to what you will find below. I use decidedly less cream cheese in the icing to keep the flavour very light. I also added cinnamon to the icing and maple glazed walnuts to the top to recreate the restaurant's taste!
Pottery and baking go hand in hand of course and I love using my pottery dishes in the kitchen! Perfect for this recipe is a ceramic mixing bowl, stoneware serving platter, and delicate dessert plate.
Carrot Cake Ingredients
- 2 cups of All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2 tsp of Baking Powder
- 1 tsp of Baking Soda
- 1 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 cups Shredded Carrots
- 4 Eggs
- 3/4 cup Coconut Oil
- 1 1/4 cup Buttermilk
Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing Ingredients
- 1 cup Butter (room temp)
- 1/2 brick Cream Cheese (room temp)
- 4 cups Icing Sugar*
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
If you find your consistency too think you can always thin it out with a little bit of cream.
*Many buttercream recipes call for 6 cups of icing sugar per 1 cup of butter but I tend to use a less to cut down on the sweetness
Maple Glazed Walnuts for Garnish
- 1 cup Walnuts pieces
- 2-3 tbsp Maple Syrup (enough to coat all the walnuts)
Carrot Cake Baking Instructions
- Begin by preheating your oven to 350F and preparing your cake pans. I used an 8" springform pan. This is a two layer cake however I only had one pan so I had to make two batches but if you have two pans you can cook them both together. Take a piece of parchment paper and cut it to the size of the pan and line the bottom. Next, grease the sides of the pan with a little bit of butter.
- In a large bowl add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk until they are combined.
- Shred the carrots and add them to the bowl of dry ingredients; whisk until combined.
- In a separate bowl (I recommend the Ceramic Mixing Bowl from Alisa Greve Pottery), add the eggs, coconut oil and buttermilk. Whisk until combined.
- Mix the wet and dry ingredients on low in your stand mixer until well combined and there are no more streaks of flour.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the cake pan and cool on a rack until completely cool. I will let them sit on the rack for about an hour and then put them in the fridge for a little while before applying the icing as the cakes are still very warm.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Buttercream Instructions
- The #1 thing to note when making buttercream icing is to whip the butter first without any other ingredients in the bowl. Make sure your butter is room temperature as this will be a lot faster. Using stand or hand mixer, whip until the butter is light and smooth.
- The same thing goes for cream cheese (especially when making cheesecake). Add the cream cheese to the butter and whip until the cream cheese has the same light, smooth texture and is well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon.
- Add the icing sugar one cup at a time as you blend.
- Add a dash of cream as you go if you are finding the consistency too thick.
Maple Glazed Walnuts
- Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a bowl mix the walnuts with the maple syrup so that all the nuts are coated.
- Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the walnuts are toasted and caramelized.
- Remove from the baking sheet immediately and let them cool slightly before adding to the top of the cake.
Its important for the cake to be cool or cold when icing. The first time I made this I was in too much of a hurry and the icing started to melt so I had to throw it in the freezer. If ever you think your icing is starting to melt while decorating, throw the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes.
I watched some videos on TikTok to learn some tricks on assembling a multi-layered cake and achieving the semi-naked icing look. Its hard to describe the steps in writing so I would recommend watching a video just so you see what I mean.
- With a serrated knife (I use a bread knife) cut the rounded top of the cake off so that you have a flat and level surface. Do this for both layers.
- Add a dollop of icing to the middle of the cake board or platter that you are serving the cake on. The Starry Night Stoneware Platter from Muraï Céramique is a perfect size for this cake. The dollop of icing will help keep the cake in place while cutting.
- Place the bottom layer (bottom of the cake down) onto the platter with the icing dollop in the middle.
- With a piping bag and a round piping tip (tip 12) add a layer of icing to the top of this first layer working in an inward spiral. I find this easier to get more icing on the cake than the offset spatula.
- Now use the offset spatula to smooth it out into an even layer.
- Gently place the second layer of cake ontop of the first - I recommend you do top side down so that the top of your cake is the flat bottom (pan bottom) to ensure the most even surface. Gently press on the top layer to secure it.
- Again, use the piping bag to apply icing to the top and sides. While doing the sides, its easiest to put the cake platter onto a lazy susan and spin it around as you ice.
- Use the offset spatula to smooth everything out.
- Use a bench scraper along the sides to the scrap off some of the icing if you would like the semi-naked look. Apply more and scrap it off as you go to get your desired look.
- Next, using a star piping tip, add icing dollops around the top edge of the cake.
- Last step is to sprinkle your maple glazed walnuts to the top!
- Serve & enjoy! I recommend the Gothic Window Dessert Plate from aSpire Pottery.