Spiced Carrot Cake

This spiced carrot cake is made with all the goodness of the classic including carrots, cinnamon, walnuts, and cream cheese frosting, but has an slightly exotic edge with the addition of chai tea and cardamom. A slightly more grown-up version of the original.

A whole two layer spiced carrot cake on a white cake stand with one slice cut from it on a plate with a fork beside it.

This spiced carrot cake isn’t the carrot cake of your childhood. It’s unspeakably better. The tender crumb and sweet carrot flavor still evoke all the comforting memories but the addition of chai tea and cardamom spices, along with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting, give it an exotic edge that makes this dessert all grown up.–Angie Zoobkoff

Spiced Carrot Cake

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H, 20 M
  • Serves 12
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  • For the spiced carrot cake
  • For the cream cheese frosting


Make the spiced carrot cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter 2 round 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Pour the boiling water into a mug and add the tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes before discarding the bags.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, and cardamom.

In a separate large bowl, thoroughly combine the sugar, eggs, and tea. Stir in the oil and then fold in the carrots until they’re evenly distributed.

Fold in the flour mixture just until incorporated, making sure there are no pockets of flour hiding near the bottom.

Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake until the cakes are browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 32 to 40 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans before turning them out onto a wire rack.

Make the cream cheese frosting

In a large bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the butter and sugar until pale and smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat until just combined.

Assemble the spiced carrot cake

Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or platter. Spoon 1/3 of the cream cheese on top and, using a spatula, gently nudge the frosting right to the edges of the cake.

Place the second cake top side down on the first to ensure a flat top. Add the rest of the frosting, spreading it evenly with a palette knife or offset spatula. Scatter the walnuts on top of the cake. Slice and devour.

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    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    I served this to my family and it was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved the cake and frosting and overall there is just something very special about a layer cake after a meal. It's an excellent, moist, easy-to-bake carrot cake. The sponge of the carrot cake was excellent—delicate and lightly spiced and beautifully risen. The chai flavoring wasn't that noticeable.

    It took 5 large carrots to get 350g which came to 3 1/4 lightly packed cups - should likely specify packed vs. not for those working without a scale. Additionally, I used the large holes on the box grater...in hindsight, I think it would have been nicer using the smaller holes so the pieces of carrot weren't so large in the final cake. Could be a preference thing but worth noting.

    The assembly was very easy. There is enough frosting if you want to frost the sides I believe there would be enough.

    This delicious, moist carrot cake was a big hit at our book club luncheon. The chai spices are a nice blend with the cardamom, adding a newer flavor that most carrot cake recipes lack. I really liked that the frosting isn’t overly sweet at all. The cake looked exactly like the picture and makes a very pretty presentation. Everyone ate just about every crumb.

    Due to the allergies of a book club member, I used toasted pecans on top instead of walnuts.


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