Everyone needs a Moist Carrot Cake Recipe in their stack of go to recipes! This coconut carrot cake is neither too sweet nor overly rich, its just the right blend of subtle flavors to create an irresistible version of the familiar classic. A simple two layer spice cake with cream cheese frosting that you can make and devour all year long.
*This Recipe is Sponsored by Watkins. All thoughts and text are my own. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make Two Cups Flour possible.
Carrot Cake is usually seen predominantly in the Spring, but I say there shouldn’t be any seasonal rules when it comes to enjoying cake!
Most traditional carrot cake recipes are made with a mixture of nuts, pineapple, and raisins in the batter. I’ve actually never preferred this combination even though I love the base flavor. So, of course I had to put my own spin on the filling.
My rendition of carrot cake is super moist with hints of banana, dried figs, and shredded coconut! Staying true to a creamy topping, I made a softer version of cake frosting with cream cheese, ricotta cheese, honey, and a little vanilla. The not too sweet icing adds just enough lightness to the warmer spices. Once you make this homemade carrot cake you’ll be baking it for every occasion.
Carrot Cake Spices
All the cozy flavor from the perfect blend of spices is what creates that nostalgic homemade Carrot Cake taste. I partnered with Watkins to share with you my Moist Carrot Cake Recipe inspired by all my fond memories of eating spiced cake with vanilla frosting during family holidays.
All Watkins products are free from artificial dyes, high-fructose corn syrup, added MSG and other artificial ingredients. Which means I can always feel comfortable knowing only quality spices are going into my cakes.
I love lots of flavor in my carrot coconut cake so there is plenty of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. All three create a lovely blend without being over powering.
How to Make Carrot Cake Moist
The use of coconut oil, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, mashed banana and freshly grated carrots all create the perfect combination for a moist cake. Coconut oil has a soft flavor that doesn’t over power the spices. Brown sugar helps to sweeten, add moisture, and gives a richer flavor.
Maple Syrup because that hint of maple is always so lovely. Mashed Bananas pairs so nicely with carrots and coconut, plus it replaces part of the oil needed. Finally, freshly grated carrots have a bit of their own wetness, that packaged grated carrots don’t offer.
Cream Cheese Ricotta Icing
For this recipe I chose to make a carrot cake frosting alternative by mixing up a smoother option of cream cheese icing. The difference between frosting and icing is mainly the texture. Cake frosting is thick and is used to cover all sides of the cake. Whereas a cake icing is used more between the layers and just on top, leaving the sides exposed.
I prefer this ratio of cake to icing since this is such a moist cake. The light blend of cream cheese, ricotta, honey, and vanilla are so lovely that each bite is perfectly balance with cake and icing.
Tips for Homemade Carrot Cake
- Measure the flour by either spooning into the measuring cup and leveling off with a knife. Or my preferred method of weighing your flour with a kitchen scale. Too much flour and the cake won’t have the right texture.
- Keep the sugar ratios the same. Having more brown sugar than granulated sugar is what creates extra moisture.
- If you would like to swap the coconut for nuts and the figs for raisins go right ahead. Just keep to the same measurements.
- Prep your cake pans with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Weigh the cake pans once you’ve added the batter, to ensure you’ve evenly divided them into two equal layers.
- Bake cake layers on middle oven rack.
- Don’t open the oven door until close to the final baking time to prevent layers from sinking.
- Check cake layers for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs remove pans from the oven.
- Allow cake layers to completely cool in the pans on wire rack before inverting and removing.
- Assemble cake only after it has completely cooled.
How to Store Carrot Cake
Carrot cake is best stored in the refrigerator using an air tight container or wrapped in aluminum foil to prevent drying out. A moist cake will stay fresh up to one week when properly stored in the fridge.
If you would like to freeze your carrot cake, don’t add the icing. Simply wrap the layers twice in plastic wrap then slide into a freezer safe plastic bag. Frozen cake will stay fresh for up to 4 months. Thaw frozen layers to room temperature before icing and assembly.
Moist Carrot Cake
- 2.5 Cups (313 grams) All Purpose Flour
- 2 teaspoons Watkins Organic Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Watkins Organic Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Watkins Organic Nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 Cup (220 grams) Dark Brown Sugar
- ½ Cup (100 grams) Granulated Sugar
- 4 Eggs
- 1 Egg Yolk
- ¾ Cups (171 grams) Mashed Banana
- 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
- 2 teaspoons Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup (224 grams) Coconut Oil melted, cooled
- 2 Cups (200 grams) Grated Carrots fresh carrots
- ½ Cup (42 grams) Shredded Sweetened Coconut
- 1 Cup (128 grams) Chopped Dried Figs
Cream Cheese Ricotta Icing
- 8 ounces Cream Cheese room temperature
- ½ Cup (112 grams) Ricotta Cheese room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons Honey
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract – Watkins All Natural Original Gourmet Baking Vanilla
- 4 Cups (480 grams) Powdered Sugar
- Extra Shredded Sweetened Coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180 C). Prepare two 9 inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Place eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, mashed banana, maple syrup and vanilla extract into a separate large bowl. Hand whisk together until smooth.
- Add in room temperature melted coconut oil and whisk until mixed in.
- Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy rubber spatula and mix until just combined. Don't over mix the batter.
- Fold in the carrots, coconut, and figs in intervals.
- Scoop the cake batter into the two prepared cake pans dividing the batter evenly.
- Bake at 350°F (180 C) for 30-35 minutes on the middle rack. Check for doneness when the tops of the cakes have a slight spring and a toothpick inserted into the center of each one comes out clean.
- Transfer baked cake layers to a wire cooling rack for 25-30 minutes or until completely cooled.
- Run a small sharp knife or offset spatula around the edges of the cake and invert the cooled cake layers to remove.
- Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of each layer.
- Place a single layer on desired cake dish. Top with cream cheese icing, sprinkle with shredded coconut.
- Place second layer on cake and repeat by covering the top of cake with icing and a sprinkling of shredded coconut.
- Slice and serve.
Cream Cheese Icing
- Using an electric mixer with whisk attachment on high speed, beat together cream cheese and ricotta cheese. Mix in the honey and vanilla extract.
- Reduce speed to low and slowly spoon in powdered sugar. Whip on medium high speed until smooth.
- Store icing in the fridge.