Pound cake never tasted so good. Rich, dense and ultra moist, this perfectly spiced carrot pound cake with a cream cheese glaze puts a tasty spin on a classic dessert. For the utmost decadence, serve with a giant scoop of ice cream for a dessert everyone is sure to love.
OK, who loves carrot cake? And who loves pound cake? I know you have two hands raised. That's why you're here, right?
As you can probably guess, I love both, so I naturally had to bring the two together to make one ultimate cake.
My inspiration for this cake came when I made my buttermilk-pumpkin pound cake. The dense nature of the pound cake perfectly held up the moisture-filled pumpkin, and I just loved how those warm spices played with the subtle buttermilk tang. Instantly, I started thinking of other pound cake variations, and my brain went to my favorite carrot cake.
Of course! If this pumpkin pound cake was so delicious, how could a carrot variation not be up to the task? And trust me. This carrot pound cake certainly is.
Bonus: If you love this recipe, all check out my banana pound cake! It's truly divine.
Let's start baking. We begin by sifting together flour, salt and plenty of spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and allspice. You may notice I didn't mention baking soda or baking powder. Pound cake traditionally doesn't use a leavening. Instead, it gets its lift from lots of mixing, so that wasn't oversight.
Before getting to the wet ingredients, I like to take this time to prepare our carrots. Using a box grater, we use the smallest holes to grate our carrots like so.
We don't want to use the large holes on our grater. These small pieces of carrots meld perfectly into our cake. Otherwise, the large holes would leave us with huge carrot chunks, and no one wants that.
Now we move on to our wet ingredients. We start by beating a combination of dark brown sugar, white sugar, butter, vanilla extract and almond extract until the mixture turns light and fluffy.
As I've mentioned many times, I'm a huge fan of dark brown sugar over light brown sugar. The extra molasses adds an extra touch of moisture and richness that I love, but don't worry if you only have light brown sugar. That will also work, but my favorite is dark brown sugar.
The same goes with almond extract. I love the unique flavor it brings to the dark brown sugar and warm spices, but if you only have vanilla extract, you can use that instead and still end up with a delicious cake.
Now we add our eggs one at a time and then alternate spooning in our flour mixture with buttermilk, which is another huge moisture-maker in this pound cake.
Once we mix in all our flour and buttermilk, we beat our pound cake for several minutes. I know -- this may seem like a long time, but don't forget that we don't use leavening in this cake. At the end, we stir in our carrots, crushed pineapple and toasted walnuts.
How to Grease Bundt Pan
With our batter mixed, we're ready to grease the bundt pan. Unlike layer cakes, I like to do this right before adding the batter to make sure everything doesn't start sliding down the side of the pan.
We first generously coat the bundt pan with cooking spray, including the middle, and then sprinkle flour inside. Now we cover the top of the bundt pan with plastic wrap and give it a good shake to coat the pan with the flour.
Removing a cake from a bundt pan is notoriously tricky, but I find a well-floured pan helps my cakes come out nicely. And if you do have any spots that don't come out smoothly, you can always cover it with a little cream cheese glaze, though flouring should do the trick.
How to Test When Pound Cake Finishes Baking
Considering the thickness, it's probably obvious that pound cake takes some time to bake. We bake it for 30 minutes and then lightly tent it with foil to prevent over browning, and continue baking for another 50 minutes or so.
To make sure it's completely baked, a toothpick won't do like in your layer cakes. We need a long skewer that we poke all the way through to ensure we don't have wet batter in the middle. To be safe, I test it a few times in other areas of the cake. When the skewer comes out clean, our carrot pound cake is ready.
How to Make Cream Cheese Glaze
And now for our cream cheese glaze. It just isn't carrot cake without some kind of cream cheese-based finishing touch, you know?
To make the glaze, we simply beat room-temperature cream cheese until it's fluffy and then add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk. Once we add enough milk to give it a drizzling consistency, we can either spoon it directly on our pound cake or add it to a squeeze bottle and then drizzle it onto the cake.
For this drizzle, I prefer using a squeeze bottle as you can see from the photos. Spooning directly on the cake isn't as precise, and I think those white stripes are just oh-so pretty. But if you don't have a squeeze bottle, carefully spooning will work -- you just might have a little clean-up at the end.
And please don't ignore room-temperature distinction for our cream cheese. Have you ever tried beating cold cream cheese? It's not easy. We need room-temperature cream cheese to get the right consistency.
How to Serve
Considering that we just topped this cake with a homemade cream cheese glaze, we technically don't need anything else. A simple slice of this carrot pound cake is a treat in itself. But that doesn't mean we can't give it an even more decadent twist.
I'm a huge fan of serving pound cake and ice cream together. After the ice cream sits for a few minutes, it starts to slowly soak that dense cake, making for the most luscious bite.
I made this cake around the same time I made this Baileys ice cream for the blog, so I had to try the two together along with a healthy drizzle of my bourbon caramel sauce. Y'all, that is one unbelievably scrumptious combination. I bet my butterscotch ice cream with candied pecans would also be a delightful option.
Pound cake also makes for a tasty trifle. Simply cube the pound cake and then layer it in a trifle dish with pudding and whipped cream. Voila! Just like that, you have a carrot pound cake trifle.
Like most cakes, I find this baked treat is best consumed within the first couple of days. This is a moist cake, which gives it some longevity, but you will definitely enjoy it much more on day two than, say, day five.
How to Freeze Pound Cake
Admittedly, I prefer my pound cake fresh, but that doesn't mean it doesn't freeze reasonably well. Just don't apply the glaze before freezing. You'll need to do that after it thaws.
Once the cake completely cools, we wrap it with Press'n Seal to ensure it's airtight and then cover with a layer of foil. If you have a container big enough, you can place it in there, but if not, give it an extra layer of foil to make sure it's well-protected.
While cake is best frozen for up to three months, it's still safe to eat if you freeze it even longer. That said, the quality starts to go down, so just keep that in mind.
Grab a nice barley wine and you're in for a well-paired treat. Barley wines show off lots of caramel-forward and dried fruit flavors that blend beautifully with our dark brown sugar and spices. Considering that this is such a dense cake, we want a beer with plenty of mouthfeel, and barley wines certainly cover us there.
More of a wine fan? You can't go wrong with a Madeira with its complex, sweet nuttiness. Madeira also comes with a nice level of acidity that balances the tangy buttermilk and cream cheese while adding some brightness to our rich cake.
Oh, and as I mentioned, Baileys is delicious with this pound cake. If you decide on a Baileys pairing rather than ice cream, you'll love my Baileys Irish coffee martini for the perfect dessert cocktail.
For a delicious twist on a classic dessert, I hope you try this carrot pound cake with cream cheese glaze. I have no doubt everyone will fall in love with this super moist, flavorful cake. Please let me know how you enjoyed this recipe in the comment section and don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. You can also catch me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.
Love Baking Cakes?
- Brown butter-pumpkin cupcakes with bourbon caramel frosting and filling
- Spiced orange tres leches cake
- Apple spice cupcakes with praline filling and brown sugar frosting
Carrot Pound Cake With Cream Cheese Glaze
- 12-cup bundt pan
Carrot Pound Cake
- 1 cup walnuts
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 ½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg preferably freshly grated
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 7 eggs room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk shaken before measuring
- 1 cup grated carrots see note
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2-4 tablespoons milk
Carrot Pound Cake
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. Toast the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat until fragrant, stirring often. This should only take two or three minutes. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the 3 cups of flour, spices and salt. Sift into another bowl and set aside.
- Add the dark brown sugar, white sugar, butter, vanilla extract and almond extract to a separate large mixing bowl. Using a stand or hand mixer, cream the ingredients over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes. If using a hand mixer, it might take an extra minute or so. From time to time, scrape the butter off the side of the bowl to ensure everything is well-incorporated.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time just until combined. Once you beat in all the eggs, add about ½ cup of the flour into the batter and beat until combined on low speed. Beat in a splash of the buttermilk. Repeat the process until both are fully incorporated into the batter, ending with the buttermilk.
- On medium-high speed, beat the batter for five minutes with a stand mixer or about six to eight minutes using a hand mixer. The batter will be thick and fluffy. Stir in the grated carrots, shredded coconut, crushed pineapple and toasted walnuts.
- Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan, including the middle. The flour makes a big difference in keeping the finished cake from sticking, so don’t skip this step. I find it's helpful to place plastic wrap on top of the bundt pan after flouring and give it a good shake to make sure it's well-coated. Pour in the batter and smooth on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Loosely tent the top of the bundt pan with foil to prevent excessive browning. Continue to bake until a long skewer comes out clean, about 50 more minutes. Make sure you insert the skewer all the way to the bottom of the pan to check for doneness. Allow to cool in the pan for an hour or up to two hours. Run a knife along the edge of the bundt pan to loose the cake. Invert on a wire rack to finish cooling. Drizzle with cream cheese glaze once cool. See below for directions.
Cream Cheese Glaze
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add about ½ cup powdered sugar and beat until combined. Repeat until you use all the powdered sugar, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary.
- Add the vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk and beat until combined. If you need to thin it out, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Either pour in a squeeze bottle to drizzle on the cake or do so directly.
- Use the smallest holes of the box grater for the carrots.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.