Carrot Cake with Walnuts and Dates
Baked desserts International Sweets

Carrot Cake Recipe with Walnuts and Dates

Carrot Cake

“Why should vegetables be in cakes?” I heard this more than once from my kids when they were younger. Well, I have given them two so far: this carrot cake recipe and zucchini cake.

Serving carrot cake

Carrot cake recipes are nothing new, and carrot cakes are almost everywhere. We may find that making them at home is a bit of a challenge. Just like most say about chocolate cakes. We say “it is not a piece of cake” (I love the pun here). That is because we usually find that carrot cakes from our favorite restaurants are better – in looks definitely, and in taste, sometimes. That should not be the case, and our recipe here will show you and let you experience why.

The recipe I am sharing here is more than one notch worth it. Baking it is easy. It is frosting it that requires a bit of patience. Still worth it, I can assure you that.

How to Successfully Bake Carrot Cake

We are not going just to make carrot cake here, we will make it as close to perfect as possible. The best thing is, we are going to do it all from scratch!

Here are a few important points to remember in perfecting carrot cake:

  • Do not rush. As in many things, haste makes waste. This is one activity that requires a cool presence of mind. If you are in a hurry, like a few hours before a potluck lunch or dinner, you can skip this recipe and make it another day. Its flavor is enhanced when it is done a day ahead as this gets better in time. Mr. Green Eyes prefers his carrot cake in the fridge for a couple of days before enjoying it with his coffee or tea. Such patience? Hmmm.
  • Use parchment paper or wax paper to line the pan. The texture of the carrot cake comes out perfect after the paper is taken out of it. To achieve this, you will have to grease the baking pan then lining it with pre-traced paper (yeah, we trace it ourselves to conform to the size and shape of our baking pan). Grease the parchment or wax paper again before pouring the batter mixture.
  • Grate fresh carrots coarsely using a box grater. I suggest using the coarse side of the box grater because the fine grater yileds to a carrot cake that is too wet. The coarsely-grated carrots guarantee two things: moist but not wet, and the color of the grated carrots is visible on the baked cake which makes it look more stimulating. Confession: I have not tried using food processor for my carrot cakes.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing can result in a dense and tough cake. Mix the ingredients until just combined to achieve a fluffy and light texture.
  • Use vegetable or canola oil instead of butter. Oil helps to keep the cake moist and tender. It also ensures that the cake stays fresh for a longer period of time.
  • Let the cake cool completely before frosting. It’s important to let the cake cool down completely before adding
  • Add a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. Carrots and spices go hand in hand, and adding a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg to the cake batter enhances the flavor profile. These warm spices complement the sweetness of the carrots and add a cozy, aromatic element to the cake. Use fresh ground spices for the best flavor.
  • Don’t overmix the batter. When mixing the wet and dry mixtures together, it’s important not to overmix. Overmixing can lead to a dense and tough cake. Mix just until all the ingredients are combined, and there are no streaks of flour visible. This will help ensure a tender and moist texture.

Carrot Cake Recipe Ingredients

Ingredients for carrot cake recipe
  • Freshly grated carrots – manually grate them using the coarse option.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Unsalted butter or shortening
  • Baking soda and baking powder help soften the ingredients and blend them together.
  • Cinnamon powder, ground nutmeg, vanilla extract, and salt. If you were to remove one from this lineup, I suggest vanilla extract. Ground nutmeg gives carrot cake the character we know carrots cakes should be.
  • White granulated sugar or brown sugar. I used white granulated sugar in this recipe. However, three-fourths cup of each of these sugars would be best. Better yet, experiment with your preference.
  • Eggs. You would need 4 egg in this recipe. Eggs should be at room temperature.
  • Pecans or walnuts
  • Raisins. This is usually a carrot cake must-have. But I consider it optional. I replace raisins with pitted-dates, though.
  • Pitted dates. This is, of course, optional. If you were to delete dates from this recipe, please use two cups of sugar instead (i.e., add another half cup of sugar to the lineup of ingredients).

Carrot Cake Frosting

Mr. Green Eyes and kids are happy with the carrot cake as is, without the frosting. You might prefer it otherwise and I don’t blame you. Who would not love that creamy cream cheese frosting? We have the creamy frosting recipe here as well, and I guarantee you that making it is just as easy.

Ingredients for Frosting:

  • Powdered sugar (or icing sugar as it is commonly called)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Butter
  • Vanilla Extract
Frosting carrot cake
Carrot cake with cream frosting

How to store leftovers

Leftovers can be stored covered in the fridge for close to a week. It becomes better longer. Serve at room temperature or put in the microwave for no more than a minute before serving. Not bad at all to serve it cold, of course.

Cooking/Baking tips

  • Add crushed pineapple or applesauce for extra moisture. If you want an even moist carrot cake, you can include crushed pineapple or applesauce in the batter. These ingredients add sweetness and moisture without overpowering the flavors of the carrots and spices.
  • You may want to add about half a teaspoon of ground ginger along with the spice and flour mixture. Ginger provides an extra flavor to your homemade carrot cake.
  • Replace ground nutmeg with ground allspice, if you wish.
  • Cool the cakes completely before turning them out of the pans, then remove the lined paper carefully.
  • Sprinkle shredded coconut on top of the frosted cake to create a wonderful tease in the taste buds.
  • Serve with ice cream, and discover the glory!
  • You can use the same recipe to make carrot loaf cake, and reduce the amount of frosting to half. Same recipe for carrot cake cupcakes, and again, reduce the frosting recipe further – about one cup of frosting is enough for the cupcakes.
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Serving carrot cake

Carrot Cake with Walnuts and Dates

  • Author: Magida
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: International


Our 3-layer carrot cake recipe features a perfectly spiced cake loaded with carrots, pecans and dates and frosted with a tangy-sweet cream cheese frosting. It’s easy to make and guaranteed to disappear fast!



For the cake

  • 11/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter or shortening
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups peeled and coarsely-grated carrots (between 34 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)

For the frosting

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • Grease two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line sides and bottoms with parchment paper or waxed paper. Lightly grease paper. Set aside.
  • Beat sugar and butter or shortening at medium speed until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, about 45 seconds each time.
  • Mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl. Sift dry ingredients.
  • Stir in carrots with wet ingredients alternatively with dry ingredients.
  • Fold in chopped pecans/walnuts, and pitted dates (or raisins).
  • Pour batter into prepared pans scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Bake at 325°F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean. Baking time sometimes varies, so it does not hurt to check close to the 45th minute.
  • Cool pans on racks for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes and cool completely.
  • Cut the dome-shaped top of the cakes off to level them. Those fragments are for the baker to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee.

For frosting

  • Using an electric mixer, beat all ingredients in a medium bowl until smooth and creamy.
  • Spread 1/4 of the frosting on one cake layer. Then layer cake one after the other and frost them as you go ending with the last 1/4 of for the side of the cake. Cover and keep in the refrigerator.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature. You can also microwave the cake slices for about 45 seconds before serving.

Keywords: carrot cake recipe, carrot cake, carrot cake with walnuts and dates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating