The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I love pumpkin cake and I love carrot cake. I married two of my favorite cakes into one super soft, moist, and tender cake that’s topped with tangy cream cheese frosting.

It’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. So, so good and if you’re a fan of either pumpkin or carrot cake, this is the cake to make.

The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake!! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!!

It’s a fast, easy, one-bowl, no mixer cake recipe. I used oil rather than butter which keeps the cake extra moist and since both pumpkin and carrots make everything moister, there’s no chance of a dry cake here.

The cake is so moist, perfectly dense, and robustly flavored. There’s some texture from the carrots and from raisins. I love raisins in carrot cake but not everyone does. You can omit them, use nuts instead, or use neither.

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Make sure to grate your own carrots. The pre-packaged convenience bags of carrots have an odd texture that doesn’t do well in baking. It just takes a minute using a box grater to grate your own.

The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake!! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!!

I used a full tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice to amp up the flavor. You can reduce it if you like but there’s nothing worse than bland pumpkin or carrot cake.

The thick layer of tangy cream cheese frosting is where it’s at. It compliments the warming spices in the cake perfectly. My daughter adored this cake as much as I did and said she wants it as her birthday cake.

The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - A marriage of pumpkin cake and carrot cake into one soft, moist, tender, and amazing cake!! The tangy cream cheese frosting is truly the icing on this easy cake!!

The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I married two of my favorite cakes into one soft, moist, and tender cake that’s topped with tangy cream cheese frosting. It’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. It’s a fast, easy, one-bowl, no mixer cake recipe. The cake is so moist, perfectly dense, and robustly flavored. There’s some texture from the carrots and from raisins. You can omit them, use nuts instead, or use neither. Make sure to grate your own carrots.The thick layer of tangy cream cheese frosting complements the warming spices in the cake perfectly.

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (use the remainder in these recipes)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup grated carrots, loosely packed (grate yourself using the coarsest blade of a box grater; don’t use pre-packaged convenience bags of carrots)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup raisins, optional (or 1 cup chopped nuts, or 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup chopped nuts)

Frosting

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (lite okay)
  • 1/4 cup (half of 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Directions:

  1.  Cake – Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with floured cooking spray or grease and flour the pan; set aside. Don’t use a regular 9-inch round cake pan because it’s not deep enough and the cake will overflow.
  2. To a large bowl, add the eggs, pumpkin, sugars, oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and whisk to combine.
  3. Add the carrots and stir to combine.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.
  5. Optionally add the raisins and/or nuts and stir to combine. Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for about 45 minutes or until center is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, no batter. In the last 10 minutes, loosely drape a sheet of foil over the top of the springform pan to prevent the top from becoming overly browned. Tip – Place springform pan on a baking sheet while cake bakes as ‘insurance’ against pesky leaky springform pans. Although this is a thick batter and not prone to leaking, better safe than sorry. Allow cake to cool completely in pan on a wire rack before frosting it so the frosting doesn’t melt.
  6. Frosting – To a large bowl (or to the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment) add the cream cheese, butter, and beat with an electric mixer on high-speedy until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt, and beat until smooth and incorporated, about 2 minutes. Turn frosting out onto cake and spread into a smooth, even, flat layer using a spatula or knife. Unlatch springform pan, slice, and serve. Cake will keep airtight at room temp for up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week. I’m comfortable storing cream cheese frosting at room temp, but if you’re not store in the fridge noting cake will be more prone to drying out in the fridge.

Adapted from Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

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36 comments on “The Best Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting”

  1. This looks delicious! I have never baked with pumpkin before (*gasp* I know), but I’m more and more tempted to try it some time. :) 

  2. I’m all about texture, and I can tell that this has the best, smoothest crumb ever. Pumpkin makes the best cake, no lie. No wonder your daughter is showing the love!

  3. Pumpkin and carrot together in a cake sounds wonderful..and in my world a thick layer of cream cheese frosting is absolutely mandatory!!😊

  4. I love pumpkin cake and carrot cake too!! This looks perfect Averie!

  5. To make this cake vegan, could you replace the eggs with applesauce? Or another egg replacement?

    • I haven’t tried so not sure. This is already a VERY moist cake so adding more moisture with applesauce is a little…hmmm. But I haven’t tried so not sure. You could maybe bump up the flour but it will take some experimenting.

  6. Pumpkin cake and (my beloved) carrot cake in one?! Wow. I can’t wait to try this…probably needs to happen as soon as this weekend ;)

  7. Brilliant idea! I love both pumpkin & carrot cakes & this combination looks delicious. As soon as I get some carrots, I’ll be making it. Thanks!

  8. We don’t have Pumpkin Pie mix in New Zealand.

    What would you recommend I use to replace it please.

    • It’s not pumpkin pie mix, it’s canned pumpkin puree. If you don’t have it in the cans you’d need to roast a pie-making pumpkin (not a Halloween carving pumpkin) yourself and then puree it. There are lots of tutorials on google about how to do this. Enjoy!

  9. I´m a fan of both carrot and pumpkin cake and that cream cheese frosting looks amazing!!

  10. I adore all those raisins…and that cream cheese frosting…I’m with your daughter this is a perfect birthday cake.

  11. Ohh I love how everybody’s making recipes with pumpkin again :D You have a smart girl, requesting this for her birthday! Who needs regular “boring” birthday cake when you can have pumpkin carrot cake.

  12. This cake sounds amazing! I love the pumpkin carrot combo!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.com

  13. “there’s nothing worse than bland pumpkin or carrot cake”–ain’t it the truth? But I know this will be moist and spicy and overall terrific.

  14. What a great looking cake. Pumpkin and carrot cake is a match made in heaven. And I appreciate how thick that cream cheese frosting is!

  15. What a great combination – carrot and pumpkin – I love it!

  16. I love carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and this pumpkin version is perfect for the fall! 

  17. Not to be super awkward or anything but… I just had half a slice of both carrot and pumpkin cakes with cream cheese frosting last night for dessert, and I immediately thought that they would be so perfect combined into one. My parents thought I was strange, but it’s as if you read my mind! Or maybe you just helped plant the thought. :) That’s quite the compliment if your daughter wants it as her birthday cake!!

    • Hi Amy! Great to hear from you and yes it was THAT GOOD. Heck I even want it as my bday cake :) But not weird at all to combine them because the spices and flavors in both cakes are very similar when you stop to think about it and they just married together so perfectly!

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking — they both have cinnamon and warm cozy spices, so it just makes sense. Glad I’m not the only one thinking that! And if you do have this as your birthday cake, I really hope someone else bakes it and does the dishes for you! :)

  18. I’ve never thought to mashup pumpkin and carrot cake, but it totally makes sense!!!  I love both cakes as well, so I need to give this a try :)

  19. OMG pumpkin in my favorite cake of all time? UM, yes please! Holy moly that looks so moist!

  20. Another hit, Averie!  I knew my family would love this recipe and it didn’t disappoint.  Followed your recipe exactly and the only changes I noted for next time is to omit the salt in the frosting and dust the top with cinnamon. Now my only “dilemma” is which of your recipes to try next :-)  What do you recommend for a casual dinner party with adults?

  21. I don’t have a spring form pan–can I use two 9″ pans instead (with less baking time)?

  22. Could I double the recipe and use a bundt pan or make a 13 x 9 sheet cake?  Thanks!

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