Cardamom Carrot Cake with Allspice Cream Cheese Icing

Baking, Dessert | February 4, 2016 | By

Okay, so we’ve established that I didn’t grow up eating many of the dishes I love now.  Of course I love what I did grow up on.  In fact, I probably have more of an appreciation for many of the rustic, simple dishes of my parents’ homeland now more than ever.  One of my goals this year is to document many of my mom’s recipes (since I only have them written down on scraps of paper) and give them the honour they deserve (in my humble opinion)  So you may see some of these pop up every once in a while.  

One of the desserts that I discovered as a teenager/adult was carrot cake.  I love all the incarnations of this baked good.  But of course, the spicier versions are the best!  There is a debate as to whether there should be walnuts or not.  Pineapple? Raisins?  You know, I’m happy to settle the debate:  The more the merrier! But I would rather it not be so sweet with sugar that the natural sweetness of the carrots and pineapple get lost.  Through the years, I have used so many different recipes in search of that perfect storm of sweet, texture, moist, and spicy.  Finally nailed it.  Then came the ultimate icing to wrap said cake in.  Again, not too sweet, the tang of the cream cheese should still be there.  And ever the spice lover, I finally decided that a touch of allspice and cinnamon in the icing (but not too much) was what I was craving.

Every kitchen should have a go-to carrot cake recipe at hand.  Perfect to entertain with, it can easily transform into breakfast!  Why not use the same batter to make breakfast muffins?  Sprinkle some of my homemade gluten-free Buckwheat Granola on top of each muffin before they enter the oven, and the perfect topping has been achieved.  Then you can just grab one in the morning and head out the door.  Or if the kids are having friends over, make cupcakes.  Difference between muffins and cupcakes?  The second ones are iced!!! Ice your cupcakes and sprinkle some toasted coconut over the icing and you are now the talk of the town. 

So, here is a recipe that is the jack of all trades. Easy to whip together.  In fact, make a couple of cake rounds and keep them in the freezer if you know that company is headed your way later in the week.  Retro, classic, carrot cake.

carrot cake 2

carrot cake 3

Cardamom Carrot Cake with Allspice Cream Cheese Icing
A moist, spicy, carrot cake classic, with a warmly spiced cream cheese icing.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Carrot Cake
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 3/4 cup kefir (or buttermilk)
  3. 3/4 cup vegetable oil (canola, sunflower or grapeseed)
  4. 1 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 5 dashes of cardamom bitters (optional)
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 2 cups AP flour
  9. 2 tsp baking soda
  10. 2 tsp ground cardamom
  11. 2 tsp cinnamon
  12. 2 cups shredded carrots
  13. 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  14. 1 cup walnuts, chopped small
  15. 1 8 oz container of crushed pineapple and juice
  16. 1 cup raisins
Allspice Cream Cheese Icing
  1. 1/2 of a 8 oz (or 1/2 of 250 grams) pkg of cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  3. 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  4. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 3-4 cups of icing sugar
  7. 2 tbsp milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 8x12" pan
  2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom and cinnamon.
  3. In a large bowl combine the eggs, kefir, oil, sugar and vanilla. Add the bitter if using. Add flour mixture. Mix until all incorporated.
  4. In a medium bowl combine the carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins.
  5. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in the carrot mixture, Fold in well.
  6. Pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 1 hour. Remove when skewer comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool completely on rack before icing.
  1. In a stand mixer add the cream cheese, butter, spices and vanilla extract. Mix until completely smooth. Add the icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Stop when you have enough or it is sweet enough for your liking. If it is too thick use the milk to thin it out. Wait until cake is completely cool to ice.
  1. I use this recipe but don't stick to the square or rectangular pan for baking. I have used 6" or 8" rounds or springform pans, and of course muffin tins. Fill the size you want to use appropriately, and if there is leftover batter, fill a mini muffin tin!
  2. If you use 6" rounds, you can bake up two layers and put icing in between. I would put a thin layer of apricot preserves in between as well!
  3. I top my iced carrot cake with toasted flaked coconut. It adds a lovely texture and fragrance.
Adapted from Sam's Famous Carrot Cake
The Lemon Apron


  1. Leave a Reply

    Hayden Mallard
    May 16, 2016

    I really like your webpage. How does someone stay up to date
    on your most current postings?

    • Leave a Reply

      May 16, 2016

      Hi Hayden, there is a button on the left side of the Home page where you can click to become a subscriber. You will get an email of all my posts and they are added to the website. Thanks for asking. Have a great day.

  2. Leave a Reply

    February 4, 2016

    How has it taken me this long to visit you on your blog? I love your IG feed and I’m excited to poke around here, too! I love carrot cake – I have a recipe I’ve been making forever that includes currants and pecans. I love all the beautiful additions you include in yours! Brava!

    • Leave a Reply

      February 5, 2016

      Awww, Hi Annie 🙂 So lovely to have you pop by! Thanks so much for your kind words. Isn’t carrot cake the best?! Wow- never would have thought of adding currants tho! Pecans would be a lovely change from walnuts. That’s the great thing about carrot cake- it lends itself to all sorts of personalizing, eh?! Looking forward to exploring your world as well!

  3. Leave a Reply

    February 4, 2016

    I have never had carrot cake with pineapple but that sounds great!!! I can’t wait to see more of your Mom’s recipes on the blog as well. There is something so special about sharing family recipes with people. I always love reading your stories!

    • Leave a Reply

      February 4, 2016

      Awww, thanks so much Michele. I think with my mom’s health failing, I want to ensure that I pay honour to all her hard work and ingenuity. We ate well, if simply at times. She made everything so tasty, and really taught us to appreciate gardening, not wasting anything. I hope to be just like her one day! I hope you can make this. I’m not sure how you would replace the kefir or buttermilk. But you know what you can use, I’m sure. All the best, hugs, Jen

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