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Carrot Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Bundt cake topped with frosting, with a slice removed, on a wooden board.
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5 from 3 reviews

An easy recipe for a moist and tender carrot bundt cake - made from scratch, without a mixer! Top it with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting for a classic springtime dessert.

  • Author: Alexandra
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes (up to 70 minutes)
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: one 9-10 inch bundt cake 1x
  • Category: cakes and cupcakes
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale

Carrot Bundt Cake

  • 19 1/8 ounces (4 1/2 cups, spoon and level) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 10 5/8 ounces (1 1/4 cups) unsweetened applesauce
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) plain Greek yogurt
  • 11 1/2 ounces (4 cups) freshly-grated carrots, divided
  • 15 ounces (2 cups, packed) brown sugar
  • 3 7/8 ounces (1/2 cup) neutral-flavored cooking oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6 ounces full-fat block-style cream cheese
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) confectioner's (powdered) sugar, sifted
  • 3-6 tablespoons milk, half-n-half, or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • heavy pinch of salt
  • cinnamon, to taste (optional)

Instructions

Carrot Bundt Cake

  1. Oven and pan prep: Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
  3. Blend the applesauce, yogurt, and 2 7/8 ounces (1 cup) grated carrots in a blender until smooth.
  4. Combine wet ingredients: In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and oil until the sugar is evenly moistened. Beat in the eggs until well-combined; the mixture should be paler in color, thick, and smooth. Add the blender mixture and the vanilla extract and whisk in until fluid and smooth. 
  5. Add dry ingredients: Fold in the flour mixture until just a few streaks of flour remain. Then, gently fold in the remaining 8 5/8 ounces (3 cups) grated carrots, just until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  6. Transfer to pan: Pour batter into bundt pan and smooth out the top surface with a spatula. Tap firmly on the counter a few times to eliminate any air bubbles.
  7. Bake and cool: Bake cake in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, until a wooden skewer or cake tester inserted all the way through to the center of the cake comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs. Cool in pan for at least 15 minutes before flipping the cake over onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Mix: Microwave the cream cheese in a microwave-safe mixing bowl for about 20 seconds, just until beginning to soften. Whisk until loosened and smooth. Add the confectioner's sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon (if using) and whisk until smooth. Add the milk or cream, starting with 3 tablespoons and gradually adding more as needed until the glaze is still thick, but slowly drips down from the whisk when lifted.
  2. Frost: Pour frosting over the top of the bundt cake and allow to drizzle over the sides. 

Notes

Ingredient notes and substitutions: 

  • To make a gluten-free carrot cake, make sure you're using a good gluten-free all-purpose flour blend that contains xanthan or guar gum.
  • For carrot cake with pineapple, try swapping the applesauce with (canned, drained) crushed pineapple.
  • Any type of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt works, but I don't recommend regular yogurt.
  • Both light and dark brown sugar will work here.
  • Oil choices: Avocado oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil are ideal.
  • Feel free to add up to 2 cups of mix-ins: raisins, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, or shredded coconut. 

Grating carrots:

  • It's important to grate your own carrots! You can do this with the large-hole side of a box grater, or a food processor with a shredding disc attachment. 

Storage and shelf life:

  • This bundt cake can be stored at cool room temperature for a day, but should be covered and kept in the fridge for longer storage (up to 5 days).
  • Carrot cake should freeze well if unfrosted. Wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil before freezing. Let it thaw before frosting and serving.

Make ahead:

  • Both the cake and frosting can be made a day in advance. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature. Store the frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Whisk well before using.