Slice of a two-layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting on a plate, with the full cake in the background

Carrot Cake with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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Using browned butter in the cream cheese frosting pairs perfectly with the cake’s warm spice flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. This tender and delicious cake sets the standard for what a great carrot cake should be.

Cliff Notes:
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together separately, then combine and add carrots. Bake 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: Brown 1/2 cup butter then cool to room temperature. Using a mixer, whip the butter together with cream cheese, and a pinch of salt. Add in heavy cream and vanilla and continue whipping until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar one cup at a time, whipping well between each addition.

Make It Your Own:
– Add chopped walnuts or pecans when stirring in the carrots
– Add cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg to the frosting to echo the flavors in the cake

There are two camps of people when it comes to carrot cake. There are those who treat it as an “everything but the kitchen sink” recipe, mixing in nuts, raisins, pineapple, and even coconut; and then there are the purists who treat it more as a spice cake with character. This version is in the second camp.

You won’t find any wild ingredient list here – just a basic, straightforward, perfectly-spiced cake that is made tender and moist by the addition of freshly grated carrots. And yes – they must be freshly grated, which brings not only a sweetness to the cake, but they’ll also almost melt as the cake bakes, contributing tenderness and moistness.

But even though this is an amazing carrot cake, the real show-stopper to this cake is the browned butter cream cheese frosting. While the tang of cream cheese is still present, browning the butter brings an extra carmelized flavor while also cutting the sweetness slightly, so you end up with a perfect complement to the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in the cake.

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