Spiced Carrot Cake

with bourbon caramel cream cheese frosting

This is truly the best carrot cake we have ever eaten.  The mildly spiced cake is offset by an extremely decadent and slightly sweet bourbon and caramel cream cheese frosting that truly sings.

Forget the normal tangy sweetness that accompanies this sweet treat, it is all about the sweet burn of bourbon and caramel that blend together with the “spiced” carrots mixed in.  No rum raisons or crushed pineapples were used in this recipe – hell no!  Just the aromatic mixture of ginger, Vietnamese cinnamon and some awesome cake spice that we picked up at Penzey’s on our way home from the store the other night (bought on a whim may we add!).

Cake Spice is probably my new winter mix that I am obsessed with.  It is a mixture of nutmeg, clove, allspice, cinnamon, and ginger that adds just the right amount of seasoning that elevates this cake from being just good to phenomenal!

And the frosting!  We cannot forget about the frosting!  It is truly one of the most delicious frostings we have been lucky enough to create here in the GTFO Kitchen!  Addicting doesn’t even come close to describing our feelings on what this frosting adds to this sweet treat of delight.

Ingredients: Yields an 8 – inch spiced cake

 Spiced Carrot Cake

  • 1 lb. Carrots, coarsely grated
  • 1 c. Walnuts, chopped
  • 1 c. Buttermilk
  • 2 ½ c. All- Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp. Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • ½ tsp. Cake Spice
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • ¾ c. Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ c. Vegetable Oil


Bourbon Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 c. Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 2 packages of Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 4 ½ – 5 ½ c. Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Bourbon
  • 2 Tbsp. Whipping Cream
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Jar of Sander’s Caramel Sauce


Adapted from Bon Appetit’s “BA’s Best Carrot Cake” recipe 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat two 9″-diameter cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; lightly coat rounds with nonstick spray.
  2. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes; let cool. Combine carrots and buttermilk in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, cake spice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; mix until smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35–45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool 10 minutes. Run a knife around sides of cakes and invert onto wire rack; remove parchment. Let cool completely.
  5. While cake is cooling prepare the frosting by allowing the butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes. Combine butter and cream cheese in a mixer. Beat on a medium high speed until its light and fluffy.
  6. Slowly add powdered sugar one cup at a time, until each cup is incorporated. As the frosting thickens, add bourbon, one tablespoon at a time.
  7. Add heavy whipping cream and vanilla last. Incorporate into frosting and then increase speed to medium high and beat for additional 2-3 minutes to whip air into the frosting.
  8. Refrigerate the frosting for at least 30-60 minutes while cake cools.
  9. Once the cake has fully cooled and the frosting is chilled, frost the cake. Add the walnuts to the sides of the cake.  Decorate with top of the cake with frosting carrots or leave plain.
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