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close-up of slice of carrot cake on a cake stand

Brown Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: About 12 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Decadently moist and flavorful carrot cake with a base of browned butter and a topping of cream cheese frosting! If you’re a fan of classic carrot cake, you will love this recipe.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups (about 1 lb) loosely packed grated peeled* fresh carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1 Recipe Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch or two 9-inch round cake pans (or spray with baking spray); line bottoms of pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt until well-combined. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk butter constantly as it melts, then continue to whisk as it begins to foam, then turns a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside to cool slightly.
  4. In a separate large bowl using an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat eggs on high speed until pale and frothy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; drizzle in vegetable oil until just combined, then carefully drizzle brown butter into egg mixture, followed by vanilla.
  5. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until just combined, either on low speed with a mixer or by hand with a spatula (do not overmix). Fold in carrots and raisins, if desired.
  6. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans, using a spatula to spread and smooth batter if needed. Bake cakes on center rack of oven 25 to 35 minutes, until cake tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool cakes completely in cake pans on a cooling rack.
  7. Place one fully cooled cake on top of a cake plate/stand. Top with frosting (1 cup for a 3-layer cake; 1 1/4 cups for a 2-layer cake). Top with second cake layer, then frost top again (with same ratios). Top with third cake layer, if using, then frost top and sides of cake as desired.
  8. Store cake covered in refrigerator for up to 5 days; bring to room temperature before serving.


  • Recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz.
  • *PLEASE peel your carrots before you grate them — otherwise, the peels may react with the baking soda in the batter and you’ll end up with green bits all throughout your cake. The cake will still be edible if this happens, but it’s not a good look.
  • If you love nuts in your carrot cake, you can add up to 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts to the batter before baking.

Keywords: brown butter cake batter, cream cheese frosting, moist carrot cake, carrot layer cake