Here’s my first attempt making a cake with frosting and this carrot cake recipe with cream cheese frosting has since been my go-to recipe whenever I crave for desserts. For my Asian readers, I’m talking about a sweet dessert cake made of shredded carrots, sometimes garnished with cream frosting. You see, the idea of carrot cake in Asia is a savoury steamed snack made of rice flour, tapioca flour and turnip, fried with eggs, black sauce, shallots, garlic and garnished with spring onions.
I was very happy the cake came out very moist and soft, and it’s also not too sweet as I reduced the amount of sweetener in this carrot cake recipe. The ingredients I used are typical of a dense moist cake, like my banana cake, except for the sugar, I have substituted with Monk fruit golden sweetener, a 1-to-1 brown sugar replacement. It’s a new sweetener product I recently discovered, which is a zero calorie sugar replacement, keto and diabetic friendly, and comes with zero glycemic index (GI). I have also substituted the confectioner’s sugar in the cream cheese frosting with Stevia sweetener in a reduced amount.
As you may know, Monk fruit or luohan guo 罗汉果, is an Asian fruit that looks like a brown ball and grows on a vine. Its extract is 250 times stronger than sucrose, and it’s traditionally used in Chinese herbal drinks for health benefits. Monk fruit extract contains no calories, nor carbohydrates nor sugar, thus helpful for people on low calorie, low carbo or keto diets, and are safe for people with diabetes.
Some tips on making the carrot cake recipe
- The carrot cake can be made a day earlier and frostings can be added the following day before serving.
- I made the frosting in advance and store it in the fridge, it is good to keep up to 2 weeks. Chilled cream cheese frosting is firmer, for easier piping, just remove from the fridge and leave it on the countertop for about 15-30 minutes before piping it onto the cake.
- To store unfrosted carrot cake, keep it covered in the fridge and bring to room temperature before serving, and it is best consumed within 3-5 days. To store for a longer period, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months, thaw at room temperature before adding the frosting.
- To store frosted carrot cake, keep it covered in the fridge for up to 2-3 days in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Bring the eggs, butter and cream cheese to room temperature before mixing.
- I replaced brown sugar in the carrot cake recipe with Monk fruit golden sweetener, as well as the confectioner’s sugar in the cream cheese frosting with Stevia sweetener, making it a healthier dessert that suits people who are trying to avoid taking refined sugar.
- My preference is to use freshly grated carrots as the carrots will remain moist when added to the cake batter. Store bought ones are usually drier.
Pin now, bake later
Watch how to make this Carrot Cake recipe on YouTube
Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting (Sugar-free)
- 250 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp all-spice powder
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- 50 ml fresh milk I used lactose-free fresh milk
- 85-200 g Monk Fruit golden sweetener or brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 400 g grated carrots about 5-6 carrots, washed and peeled
- 2 tbsp coarsely chopped pistachio optional for decoration
- 100 g chopped pecans or walnuts optional to add to cake batter
- 65 g raisins optional to add to cake batter
Cream cheese frosting
- 200 g cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 60 g unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 150 g Stevia sweetener or confectioner's sugar (this is already reduced sugar volume)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp fine salt
Make cream cheese frosting (yields 380g)
- Using a food mixer with paddle attachment, mix 200g cream cheese and 60g unsalted butter on high speed until smooth and fluffy.200 g cream cheese, 60 g unsalted butter
- Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp fine salt, and 150g Stevia sweetener (or confectioner's sugar). Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat until completely combined, smooth and creamy, and not runny.Note; If the frosting is too thin, add more sugar. If the frosting is too thick, add some milk to thin it.1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/8 tsp fine salt, 150 g Stevia sweetener
- Transfer into a piping bag (optional). Chill in fridge covered until ready to use.
Make carrot cake
- Preheat oven to 180C or 356F in a convection oven. For conventional oven, heat oven to 190C or 374F.
- Wash, peel and grate 5 to 6 carrots finely.400 g grated carrots
- Using a food mixer with whisk attachment, whisk 4 large eggs and 85g monk fruit sweetener (or brown sugar, can add up to 200g) together on high speed until ribbon stage. This takes about 5-6 minutes.85-200 g Monk Fruit golden sweetener, 4 large eggs
- Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 50ml fresh milk and whisk on medium speed. Add 200ml vegetable oil slowly while mixing. Use spatula to scrape down the batter on the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.50 ml fresh milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 200 ml vegetable oil
- In another bowl, sift 250g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp fine salt, 1/2 tsp all-spice powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder together. Mix all dry ingredients well.250 g plain flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp all-spice powder, 1/2 tsp fine salt
- Add 1/3 of flour mixture into the food mixer and whisk on low speed until incorporated. Use spatula to scrape down the batter on the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
- Then add 1/3 of grated carrots into the food mixer and whisk on low speed until incorporated. Use spatula to scrape down the batter on the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.Optional: add chopped pecans or walnuts, and raisins.100 g chopped pecans or walnuts, 65 g raisins
- Repeat adding 1/3 of flour mixture and whisk on low speed until incorporated. Then 1/3 of grated carrots and whisk on low speed until all incorporated. Then the last 1/3 of the flour mixture and the last 1/3 of the grated carrots. Do not overmix.Use a spatula to bring the batter together by scraping the side of the mixing bowl and slowly folding the batter. Note: too much mixing with whisk attachment will cause cake to be too dense.
- Grease the cake pan with vegetable oil or butter. If using a flat cake pan, line the bottom of cake pan with parchment paper. Note: I'm using a 7-inch Bundt cake pan.
- Transfer the batter evenly into the cake pan. Bake in preheat oven at 180C / 356F (convection oven) or 190C or 374F (conventional oven) for about 45 minutes.Note: If using muffin cups or 2 cake pans, bake for about 30-35 minutes. If using 3 cake pans, bake for about 20-25 minutes. To test if the cake is done baking, test the centre with a toothpick or chopstick, if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
- Allow the cake to cool completely in the cake pan on a cooling rack before frosting.
- Decorate the top of the cake by piping cream cheese frosting over it and sprinkle with chopped pistachio.2 tbsp coarsely chopped pistachio