Molly’s Carrot Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Beauty shot of Molly Yeh's carrot cake with spiced cream cheese icing
Prep Time
1h 10 min
6 - 8 servings

Celebrate spring with a slice of carrot cake infused with bright flavours and a whole lot of spice.

Cook’s Note: Hawaij is a Yemeni warm spice blend that’s heavy on the cardamom and can be used to flavor baked goods, frosting or even sprinkled in coffee! You can make a substitute by mixing 1 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 Tbsp ground cardamom, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cloves and ¼ tsp ground cinnamon.



Carrot Cake

Nonstick cooking spray, for the cake pans
2 ½
cups all-purpose flour
tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½
tsp kosher salt
1 ½
tsp baking powder
1 ½
tsp baking soda
tsp hawaij (see Cook's Note)
1 ½
cups neutral oil, such as canola
cup packed brown sugar
cup granulated sugar
large eggs
Tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
cups shredded carrots
Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Spiced Frosting

cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
oz cream cheese, at room temperature
cups powdered sugar
Tbsp heavy cream
tsp vanilla extract
tsp hawaij
Pinch of kosher salt
Rainbow carrots, peeled into ribbons with a peeler, to decorate
rosemary sprig, leaves picked, to decorate


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment. Set aside.

Step 2

Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda and hawaij in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Whisk in the vanilla.

Step 3

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and mix until about 90% incorporated. Add the carrots and sesame seeds and mix to incorporate (and by this time, all of the flour mixture should be incorporated as well).

Step 4

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 5

Add the butter and cream cheese to a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer until smooth and combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Then add the heavy cream, vanilla, hawaij and salt. Mix until combined and smooth.

Step 6

Cover the cakes with frosting and stack. Use the carrot ribbons to roll into rose shapes and place on top of the cake. Decorate with the rosemary and serve!

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