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Pieces of carrot cake arranged on parchment paper with a piece turned on its side.

Small Carrot Cake Recipe

  • Author: Leanne
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 9 pieces
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


This Small Carrot Cake Recipe is a moist and tender single layer carrot cake with walnuts, warm spices and a homemade cream cheese frosting!


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrot (see note)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream cheese frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, full fat brick (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
  • 23 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Additional chopped walnuts to sprinkle on top (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly spray a 9-inch square pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom and sides with slightly overhanging parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir together the almond milk and lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes until the milk curdles.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, curdled milk, oil, egg and vanilla.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth (but don’t over mix).
  6. Fold in the carrots and walnuts.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
  9. Add the cream cheese and butter to a deep mixing bowl and beat on high until creamed together.
  10. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.  (Use more powdered sugar for a thicker and sweeter frosting).
  11. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake and top with chopped walnuts (optional).
  12. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before slicing and serving.


  1. Freshly grate your carrots by using the small holes on a box grater. Avoid larger shreds or prepackaged shredded carrots which can be dry.
  2. Walnuts are optional. Leave them out or use pecans instead.
  3. Make sure your butter and cream cheese are softened at room temperature so they cream together easily and create a smooth texture for the frosting.
  4. I like my cream cheese frosting less sweet with a more pronounced cream cheese flavor so I use about 2 – 2 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. For a sweeter and thicker froster, just add more powdered sugar.
  5. Let the cake cool completely before frosting. If the cake is still warm, the cream cheese frosting will start to melt as you spread it on.
  6. Be sure to check out the other sections above the recipe card for more detailed advice and suggestions for making this recipe.

Keywords: small batch, one layer, single layer, small carrot cake