This carrot cake is super moist and full of flavor! It has finely shredded carrots, brown sugar, warm spices, and toasted pecans. It’s topped with a brown butter cream cheese frosting (after trying it with brown butter, you’ll never want to go back to the classic— it’s so good!!)
I’ve shared this cake with many friends and family, and have been told several times that it was the best carrot cake they’ve ever had!
I usually make a big layered carrot cake, but I wanted to share a scaled down single layer version to make it more approachable. Especially since many people are just baking for their families or very small gatherings nowadays!
This cake comes together fairly quickly! You’ll begin by toasting the pecans and allowing them to cool while preparing the batter. You will also prep your carrots by peeling and finely grating them. Then simply sift your dry ingredients in one bowl, mix your wet ingredients in another bowl, and then combine them along with the chopped pecans and shredded carrots.
To make the brown butter for the frosting, begin by placing the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. The butter will melt, then begin to foam and sputter. Keep going until it turns an amber color, has a nutty aroma, and brown bits begin to form along the bottom. This whole process usually takes about 5 minutes, be careful not to burn the butter. Turn off the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl.
To use in this cream cheese frosting recipe, allow the brown butter to cool completely and solidify. You can prep this ahead of time or you can speed it up in the fridge or freezer, but make sure it’s at room temperature when you use it.
Single Layer Carrot Cake
- 1/2 cup of pecans
- 1 & 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt (use half the amount if using table salt)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1/3 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar, packed
- 2 eggs, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup of finely shredded carrots, lightly packed
Preheat over to 350 F
Place the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for 6-8 minutes, or until fragrant. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Chop into small pieces.
Line the bottom of an 8” cake pan with parchment paper and grease the pan with nonstick spray or butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.
In another medium bowl, add the oil, butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar, mix to combine. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just barely combined. Fold in the carrots and the chopped pecans. Pour the batter intro he prepared pan and bake for about 26-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean.
Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack.
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter, browned and solidified at room temp (see above notes)
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
- 1 & 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a medium bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the brown butter with the cream cheese for a few minutes until ver smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla, salt and a cup of the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth. Add the remaining powdered sugar and beat again until smooth.
Make sure the cake is completely cool before frosting.