Brown Butter Carrot Cake made with freshly grated carrots, rich butter and pecans! Easy carrot cake recipe with a fantastic cream cheese frosting, perfect for Easter!
This brown butter cake is easy to make and the depth of flavor added by browning the butter makes it uniquely delicious. This carrot cake with homemade cream cheese frosting is so addictingly good you are going to look forward to sharing this cake with everyone you know!
Simple Carrot Cake Recipe
As high-class and fancy as this cake is, it truly is simple at its core. It is made with basic pantry ingredients and topped with a homemade cream cheese frosting, there is nothing about this cake that you will not like. From preparation to your belly, this cake is just too good to resist. Once you try it you will see why it is an instant family favorite and highly requested every year.
Why you’ll love this delightful carrot cake
- Easy to make! This recipe is very simple at the core, even with the added step of browning the butter. That is not a step you want to skip, it creates a wonderful depth of flavor you will love.
- Basic ingredients. We use very basic kitchen staple ingredients to make this cake, like flour, butter, baking powder, and sugar. It is likely you have most or all of the ingredients in your kitchen to make this delightful dessert.
- Absolutely delicious! The flavors in this cake recipe are simply heavenly. The basic cake recipe creates a lovely, moist, soft cake that everyone is sure to fall in love with.
Brown Butter Carrot Cake Ingredients
Butter: You will need 7 TBSP of unsalted butter, this is almost 1 whole stick of butter.
Brown sugar: To give a depth of flavor and added sweetness, use 1 cup of packed light brown sugar.
Eggs: You will need 2 eggs to make the cake batter rich in taste.
Vanilla extract: Use 1 tsp of vanilla extract to help enhance the flavors in this cake.
Flour: The base of the cake batter is 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour.
Baking powder: You will need ¼ tsp of baking powder to help the cake puff up as it cooks.
Salt: Adding in ¼ tsp of salt will enhance the flavors in this cake well.
Cinnamon: Use ½ tsp of ground cinnamon to spice the cake nicely.
Ginger: Adding in ½ tsp of ground ginger will help to round out the spices and make this cake taste incredible.
Carrots: You will need 2 cups of freshly grated carrots for a wonderful burst of color and deliciousness in every bite.
Pecans: Use ½ cup of chopped pecans for a subtle crunch and flavor in your cake. You can simply omit this if you do not want nuts in your cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Butter: You will need 4 TBSP of unsalted room temperature butter for a nice rich frosting flavor.
Cream cheese: Use 4 ounces of room temperature cream cheese to make the frosting nice and creamy.
Powdered sugar: 1 cup of powdered sugar will make the frosting smooth and sweet.
Vanilla extract: Use ½ tsp of vanilla extract to help flavor the frosting well.
Lemon juice: To give a little added freshness to the frosting add in ¼ teaspoon of lemon juice.
Chopped pecans: Garnish the cake well with ⅓ cup of chopped pecans.
How to Make Brown Butter Carrot Cake
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.
Then, grease an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper. The parchment paper will help the cake to easily release from the pan.
Next, wash and then grate your carrots into a small bowl and set aside.
If you have whole pecans, chop them into smaller pieces and set aside. A time saving tip is to buy the pre-chopped pecans to skip this step.
Brown the butter
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add all butter and cook. (I know a large saucepan seems too big, but as the butter cooks, it foams up, so trust me on this one!)
Stir the butter gently using a rubber scraper as the butter melts, continue to stir as the butter cooks. It will first liquify, then start to bubble & foam, all while gently bubbling. Within about 5 minutes after the butter foams, it will begin to change color and brown bits will appear. It’s easier to see the brown as you stir the butter- you can see the foam turn colors in the video above. I like to cook it for about 45 seconds to 1 minute past when it changes color.
Proceed to remove the butter from heat and the foam will settle and you’ll be able to see BROWN BUTTER! Transfer it to a large bowl and let it cool until butter has solidified again. (It won’t return to the same state as it was per-cooking. It will be more the consistency of sour cream.)
NOTE: You CANNOT use margarine to make brown butter! REAL BUTTER ONLY.
Next, in the large bowl with the butter, add in the brown sugar and mix until combined.
Then, stir in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well again.
After that, fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Stir until the flour is fully combined and the white streaks are completely gone.
Now it is time to add in the grated carrots and chopped pecans. Stir to combine.
Continue to pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
Once it is finished baking, allow the cake to cool completely. This could be 1-2 hours depending on the room temperature.
In a medium size bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with a handheld mixer until smooth. This should take about 2 minutes.
Next, add in the powdered sugar and beat again for another minute.
Lastly, add in the vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix until combined. The frosting should be soft but not runny.
Once the cake has cooled completely, spread the frosting over the entire cake. If you want to, garnish with chopped pecans as well for added taste and appearance.
Slice, serve and enjoy!
Brown Butter Carrot Cake
- 7 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cup flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 cups freshly grated carrots
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 4 TBSP unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp lemon juice
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Grease an 8×8 in. pan and line with parchment paper. The parchment paper helps the cake release from the pan.
- Next, clean and grate your carrots into a small bowl and set aside.
- If you have whole pecans, chop them into smaller pieces and set aside. A time saving tip is to buy the pre-chopped pecans to skip this step.
- Brown butter: First you will need to add your butter to a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once you see brown specks beginning to form at the bottom of the pan, remove the pan from the heat. Then, pour the melted butter into a large mixing bowl.
- Cake batter: In the large bowl with the melted browned add in the brown sugar and mix until combined. Next, stir in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix well.
- After that, fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir until the flour is fully combined and the white is completely gone.
- Now it is time to add in the grated carrots and chopped pecans. Stir to combine.
- Bake: Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. Once it is finished baking, allow to cool completely. This could be 1-2 hours depending on the room temperature.
- Frosting: In a medium size bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with a handheld mixer until smooth. This should take about 2 minutes.
- Next, add in the powdered sugar and beat again for another minute. Lastly, add in the vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix until combined. The frosting should be soft but not runny.
- Assemble: Once the cake has cooled completely, spread the frosting over the entire cake. If you want to, garnish with chopped pecans as well for added taste and appearance. Slice, serve and enjoy!
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How long is frosted carrot cake good for?
If you keep your cream cheese frosted carrot cake well covered and stored in the fridge, it will last for up to 3 or 4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months in an airtight container, but I recommend freezing them in individual slices so you can simply grab and thaw one sweet serving at a time. Perfect for a treat whenever the mood strikes.
How to prevent cakes from sticking to the pan:
Make sure to grease the inside of your cake pan well and then add in a dusting of flour to help as well. For chocolate-based cakes, using cocoa powder instead of flour works well but flour is best for the lighter colored cakes. You can also use a nonstick baking spray with flour in the mix to make it a little easier as well but I’ve found that manually adding grease + flour works best as the spray doesn’t always help cakes to come out flawlessly.
Pick which category of bundt cake recipes you’d like to browse:
What is the point of brown butter?
By browning the butter you help to add a depth of flavor because as it cooks the butter gets a deep caramelized flavor that regular butter simply doesn’t have. By adding it into the recipe it only takes a few extra minutes to prepare but the flavorful end results are well worth it.
Try more browned butter dessert recipes here!
- ZUCCHINI SHEET CAKE WITH BROWNED BUTTER ICING
- PUMPKIN GINGER COOKIES WITH BROWNED BUTTER FROSTING
- BROWN BUTTER BLONDIES
- BROWN BUTTER WALNUT CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
- BROWN BUTTER BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
- BEST BROWN BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Brown Butter Carrot Cake is a lovely slice of heaven and one that everyone will enjoy! If you are looking for a delicious dessert to serve up this Spring then look no further than this easy carrot cake recipe.