Caribbean spiced carrot cake is a variation of the classic carrot cake that includes warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, which are commonly used in Caribbean cuisine. These spices add a rich and complex flavour profile to the cake, which complements the sweetness of the carrots. Coconut and pineapple are also added for extra moisture, texture and great flavour.
This recipe has been a love affair for many years. Carrot cake has been a favourite of mine and mums. We would often share a slice at a local cafe when I was young. I have then tried to recreate my ideal cake as a way to share that memory with her (and now you!). Added bonus is that this cake is perfect for Easter. You know, all those carrots and stuff!
Why this Caribbean Spiced Carrot Cake recipe is So Amazing
- The warm spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, add a depth of flavour and warmth to the cake that is comforting and delicious.
- The addition of the coconut and pineapple adds a tropical twist to the cake that transports you to the Caribbean with each bite.
- Minimal equipment, minimal mess and easy cleanup.
- It’s a versatile dessert that can be enjoyed any time of the day, whether for breakfast, a dessert or a snack.
- Make it your own, tweak the frosting as desired, add nuts or omit them.
What ingredients are needed
The Spiced Carrot Cake
- The ingredients in Caribbean carrot cake and their uses are:
- Plain flour: used as the base of the cake and to provide structure to the batter.
- White sugar: provides sweetness to the cake.
- Baking soda and baking powder: leavening agents that help the cake rise and become fluffy. I use both to help keep the cake light and fluffy.
- Salt: enhances the flavour of the cake and helps to balance out the sweetness.
- Ground cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cardamom, clove, and nutmeg: warm spices that add a depth of flavour and warmth to the cake that is characteristic of Caribbean cuisine.
- Eggs: provide structure, moisture, and richness to the cake.
- Vegetable oil: provides moisture to the cake and helps to keep it tender. I use rice bran or canola but anything with a neutral flavour should work fine.
- Milk: provides moisture to the cake and adds richness to the batter. Non-dairy should work ok.
- Lemon juice: helps to activate the baking soda and acts as a natural preservative.
- Vanilla extract: provides flavour and aroma to the cake.
- Carrot: adds natural sweetness, moisture, and a lovely texture to the cake.
- Crushed pineapple: adds sweetness, moisture, and tropical flavour to the cake.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut: adds texture and a mild coconut flavour to the cake.
- Walnuts: add texture, richness, and nutty flavour to the cake.
- Overall, the combination of these ingredients creates a cake that is rich, flavourful, and moist, with a complex spice profile and tropical twist.
Cream cheese frosting is a classic topping for carrot cake, and it’s typically made with butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a few other ingredients. Here’s a breakdown of each ingredient and its role in the frosting:
- Butter: Butter adds richness and flavour to the frosting, and helps to give it a smooth and creamy texture.
- Cream cheese: Cream cheese is the main ingredient in cream cheese frosting, and it provides a tangy and slightly sour flavour that balances out the sweetness of the cake. It also helps to thicken the frosting and give it a smooth and spreadable texture. Ensure you use ‘Block’ cream cheese rather than anything labelled ‘spreadable’. Block cream cheese has a firmer texture with less moisture content. ‘Spreadable’ often contains additional ingredients such as stabilizers or emulsifiers to help it maintain its soft texture.
- Powdered sugar: Powdered sugar is used to sweeten the frosting and give it a smooth texture. It also helps to thicken the frosting and make it more stable.
- Salt: A pinch of salt helps to balance out the sweetness of the frosting and bring out the flavours of the other ingredients.
- Lemon juice and zest: Lemon juice and zest are optional ingredients that can be added to the frosting to give it a bright and tangy flavour. The acid in the lemon juice also helps to cut through the richness of the frosting and make it more refreshing.
How to turn Caribbean carrot cake into cupcakes
- This recipe is so great as mini cakes and cupcakes! Here are some tips to set you up for success:
- Adjust the quantity: This recipe will make roughly 24-30 cupcakes. You may want to half the recipe using our recipe tool below to make
- Adjust the baking time and temperature: Cupcakes bake faster than a full cake, so you’ll need to reduce the baking time and temperature accordingly. As a general rule, reduce the baking time by about 25% and reduce the temperature by about 15°C/25°F when baking cupcakes. The cupcakes are done when a toothpick comes out clean or they spring back when lightly pressed in the centre with your finger.
- Use cupcake liners: To make it easier to remove the cupcakes from the pan, use paper cupcake liners. You can find these at most grocery stores or online.
- Reduce the size of the grated carrot: When making cupcakes, it’s best to use finely grated carrots instead of coarsely grated ones. This will help the cupcakes cook more evenly and have a better texture.
- Adjust the frosting: You may want to adjust the recipe slightly for cupcakes. Consider making a smaller batch of frosting or using less frosting per cupcake, as cupcakes have less surface area than a full cake.
- Add toppings: Consider adding a garnish or topping to your cupcakes, such as chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce.
Setting you up for success – Tips & Tricks
- Grate the carrots finely: To get the best texture and flavour in your carrot cake, be sure to grate the carrots finely. Coarsely grated carrots can result in a denser and less tender cake.
- Use room temperature ingredients: For best results, make sure that all of your ingredients, including the eggs, butter, and milk, are at room temperature before mixing them together. This will help them blend together more easily and create a smoother batter.
- Don’t overmix the batter: When mixing the batter, be careful not to overmix it. Overmixing can lead to a dense and tough cake. Mix the batter just until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Use quality spices: The spices used in carrot cake, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, play an important role in its flavour.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting: Be sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting it. If the cake is still warm, the frosting can melt and become runny.
- Make the frosting to the desired level of sweetness and tanginess: Recipes are a guide but I want you to use your own intuition and taste buds. Tweak the frosting to how you like to eat it. Start with small amounts and add more lemon and powdered sugar as you prefer. I prefer mine to be less sweet and more lemony.
Frequently Asked Questions
When I made this dish on our live cooking show, some community members asked:
Carrot cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Let the cake come to room temperature before serving.
Yes, carrot cake can be made without nuts. While nuts are a traditional ingredient in carrot cake, they can be omitted or replaced with other mix-ins such as raisins or chocolate chips.
Yes, you can use whole wheat flour to make carrot cake. However, keep in mind that using whole wheat flour can result in a denser and more hearty texture, and the flavour of the cake may be slightly different than if plain all-purpose flour was used.
Carrot cake can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled. It pairs well with cream cheese frosting, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream. We enjoy a slice of carrot cake with a cup of coffee or tea.
Yes, carrot cake can be made in advance. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer bag, then thaw before serving.
Yes, carrot cake can be made without eggs by using a store-bought egg substitute or something like applesauce, mashed bananas, or yoghurt. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavour of the cake may be slightly different than if eggs were used. This has not been tested by me.
Looking for more yumminess?
Caribbean Spiced Carrot Cake
- 2 20cm/8 inch aluminium cake tin
- hand mixer
- 2 bowls
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 325 g (1½ cups) white sugar
- 10 g (2.5 tsp) baking soda
- 5 gm (¾ tsp) baking powder
- ½ tsp (0.51 tsp) salt
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp (1.01 tsp) ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp (0.51 tsp) ground cardamom
- ¼-½ tsp clove
- ½ tsp (0.51 tsp) ground nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 165 g (¾ cups) vegetable oil I use rice bran or canola
- 190 g (6.7 oz) milk room temperature
- 1½ tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp (2.03 tsp) vanilla extract
- 250-260 g (2 cups) carrot finely grated
- 225 g (7.94 oz) can crushed pineapple drained very well
- 35 g (½ oz) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 100 g (3.53 oz) walnuts chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 200 g (0.88 cups) lightly salted butter room temperature
- 250 g (1¼-1½ cups) block cream cheese room temperature. I never use ‘spreadable’ cream cheese in my baking as it has additives that keep it soft and ‘spreadable’ this can cause it to lose its shape in cooking.
- 2-2½ cups (2.64 cups) powdered icing sugar use desired amount to create ideal sweetness level. I use a lower amount.
- pinch salt
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice and zest use the desired amount to create the ideal level of tangyness
- walnuts chopped
- unsweetened shredded coconut toasted
- Line two 20cm/8-inch round cake pans with baking paper and lightly grease/spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside
- In a large bowl, using a whisk or hand mixer, combine the eggs, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla, mixing together until combined. Don’t worry if the liquid separates, it will come together later.
- Slowly add the flour mixture, stopping to scrape down the bowl. Mix batter just until flour mixture is incorporated.
- Fold in the grated carrot, pineapple, coconut and chopped nuts.
- Divide the batter among the two prepared cake pans.
- Bake at 160 c/350f degrees for about 30 minutes, or it has browned, the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan and has a springy texture to the touch.
- Let cakes rest or 10 minutes before removing cakes from pans and allowing to cool complelty on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl add butter, salt and cream cheese. Using a hand mixer, beat together with vanilla and slowly incorporate icing sugar on low speed. Add lemon juice & zest beat well. The forsting should be very smooth and fluffy.
- Once cakes are at room temperature or refrigerate for 20-30 mins then, spread the frosting on one layer then add the next.
- Frost top of cake and also sides if you wish. Add nuts and toasted coconut for garnish.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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Former operating room Nurse and self-taught home cook + IT Engineer passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. We create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
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