Carrot Cake With Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

Turn the classic layer cake into a crowd-friendly sheet cake.

Southern Living Carrot Cake With Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting cut on serving platter

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Stylist: Mary Clayton Carl Jones

Active Time:
25 mins
Cool Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 55 mins

A little bit of maple goes a long way in making this carrot cake irresistible. Its subtle and caramelly notes are a tasty match for the raisins, pecans, and of course, shredded carrots that are in each slice.

Jordan almonds are the perfect shape for the cake’s carrot motif, but in a pinch you can also use orange chocolate-covered peanuts or even orange slice fruit candies for a similar effect.

We arrange the "carrots" in neat rows, like a garden, and scatter assorted green sprinkles to resemble little sprouts, but feel free to get creative (or allow the kids to) and create your own arrangements.

And, if you don’t have a piping bag to create the carrot tops, a plastic zip-top bag will do the trick.


Carrot Cake

  • Baking spray

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. ground ginger

  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3 large eggs , at room temperature

  • 1 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 4 large carrots , peeled and shredded (2 cups shredded)

  • 1 cup toasted walnuts , roughly chopped

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins , roughly chopped

Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened

  • 1 ( 8-oz. ) pkg. cream cheese , softened

  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 cups powdered sugar , sifted

  • Green food coloring gel

Additional Ingredients

  • Orange candy-coated almonds (such as Jordan almonds)

  • Green candy sprinkles in assorted sizes


  1. Prepare the Carrot Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13- x 9-inch baking pan with baking spray, and line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, baking soda, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large liquid measuring cup.

  2. Pour egg mixture into flour mixture; stir to combine. Fold in carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

    Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; cool completely, about 1 hour to 1 hour, 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, prepare the Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat butter in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese; beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add maple syrup and vanilla; beat on medium speed until well blended, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low; add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating until well blended. Add remaining 1 cup powdered sugar, and beat until smooth and combined. Chill until ready to use.

  4. Reserve 1/8 cup of the frosting in a small bowl. Stir in green food coloring, and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small writing tip; set aside. Spread remaining Maple-Cream Cheese Frosting over cake.

  5. Arrange candy-coated almonds on top of cake in rows. Pipe leaves onto 1 end of each almond with reserved green frosting. Garnish with sprinkles.

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