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+ servings
Carrot cake bread with cream cheese frosting sliced on a wire rack.
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5 from 5 votes

Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting

The secret to the incredible texture in this carrot cake loaf is ground walnuts! They give the exterior a crisp crust while keeping the center of the cake moist and nutty. The best carrot loaf ever, especially with homemade cream cheese frosting!
Prep20 mins
Cook1 hr 5 mins
Cooling Time10 mins
Total1 hr 35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baking with carrots, carrot loaf, cream cheese frosting, how to make cream cheese frosting, spring desserts
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 505kcal
Author: Ari Laing

Equipment

Standard 9x5 inch loaf pan
Nonstick baking spray

Ingredients

For the carrot loaf

  • 6.3 oz all-purpose flour 1 ⅓ cups + 1 Tbsp, divided
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2.5 oz walnuts finely ground (see instructions), ~½ heaping cup
  • cup raisins
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups carrots grated

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • generous pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar sifted (important for no lumps!)

Instructions

  • Prep the loaf pan. Preheat oven to 375 F and place rack in the middle of the oven. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick baking spray, then set aside.
  • Combine the dry ingredients. Sift together 6.3 oz (~1 ⅓ cups) flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, and ½ tsp Kosher salt, then set aside.
  • Finely grind in the walnuts. To grind walnuts, either place in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until a fine powder or place in a sealed Ziplock bag and smash with a rolling pin. Place 2.5 oz (½ cup) crushed walnuts in a small bowl with ⅓ cup raisins, then toss with remaining 1 Tbsp of flour and set aside.
  • Prepare the wet ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat ¾ cup brown sugar and 3 eggs together on medium speed until very shiny and smooth, about 5 minutes. With the mixer still running, slowly drizzle in 1 ¼ cup canola oil and 1 Tbsp vanilla. Scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Fold in the dry ingredients. Carefully fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Add finely ground nuts, raisins, and 1 ½ cups grated carrots, then fold once more until evenly distributed. 
  • Bake the carrot loaf. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, then bake for 60-70 minutes, or until evenly browned and a cake tester inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean with few crumbs.
  • Cool, then serve. Place pan on a cooling rack and let sit for 10 minutes, then remove loaf from pan (it should release easily when turned over) and place on the rack to cool completely. 
  • Make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer) beat 8 oz room temperature cream cheese and 8 Tbsp softened butter on high until very smooth and completely blended, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tsp vanilla extract and a generous pinch of Kosher salt, then reduce speed to low and slowly add 1 cup sifted sugar. Continue to beat until sugar is incorporated and frosting is creamy, about 2 minutes. 
  • Serve with cream cheese frosting. Spread a generous even layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the cooled carrot cake loaf. Serve with additional frosting, as desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 505kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 123mg | Sodium: 408mg | Potassium: 238mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 4834IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 2mg
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