Maple Carrot Cake
Calling all carrot cake lovers, you are going to fall in love with this Maple Carrot Cake recipe!
Moist maple carrot cake layers are glazed with maple syrup and frosted with maple cream cheese frosting for an amazing dessert that is sure to become a favorite!
This Maple Carrot Cake is based on our tried and true homemade Carrot Cake Recipe, but the addition of maple extract, maple syrup glaze, and maple cream cheese frosting really brings it to another level of deliciousness.
While this would be an amazing layer cake no matter what time of year, the maple flavor makes it perfect for fall and winter celebrations! (You can find a full roundup of our favorite fall cakes here: The Best Fall Cake Recipes!)
Table of Contents
How to Make a Maple Carrot Cake
You can find the full, printable maple carrot cake recipe further down in this post, but here is a quick rundown of our steps!
The mixing process and order is a bit different than most of our other cake recipes. For instance, the electric mixer is just used to combine the first group of ingredients, and after that, everything is stirred in and incorporated. Another difference is that there is no butter in this recipe-- only vegetable oil.
It's a very simple cake recipe to follow, but shredding the carrots, chopping the pecans, draining the pineapple, etc. adds on a few minutes! It's totally worth it. I promise, you are going to love this recipe.
- Preheat and Prepare the Pans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour three 8 inch cake pans (we also line the pans with parchment to prevent sticking).
- Flour Mixture: Whisk together for 30 seconds the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set Aside.
- Sugar, Eggs, Oil, Extracts: In the bowl of your mixer, add 2 cups sugar , 4 eggs, 1 cup oil, 3 teaspoons maple extract, 1 teaspoons vanilla extract. Mix 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed until well blended and light colored.
- Flour Mixture and Add-Ins: With a spoon (or rubber spatula) stir in the flour until moistened, then add the carrots, pecans crushed pineapple and coconut.
- Divide the batter between the three prepared 8 inch cake pans.
- Time to Bake!: Bake 33-35 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Baking times may vary- peek in around the 30 minute mark and adjust time as needed.
- Cooling: Allow the cakes to cool in their pans on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before turning out.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
There's nothing like cream cheese frosting with carrot cake! For this recipe, we changed things up a bit to add an extra boost of maple to our cake, with a maple cream cheese frosting!
This recipe is based on our favorite easy cream cheese frosting recipe, but with a little maple extract and maple syrup mixed in. It has wonderful flavor and works perfectly as our filling and frosting!
The recipe is a combination of softened unsalted butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, a pinch of salt, maple extract, and maple syrup. This is such a creamy and flavorful recipe!
Cream cheese frostings are softer than other frostings. For this reason, you may find that you need to chill the bowl of frosting, piping bag, or even the cake if it becomes too soft while you are assembling or decorating.
Assembly of the Cake
Place the first cake layer on the cake plate or pedestal. Brush maple syrup over the top. I used a pastry brush to apply a thin layer.
Spread with a layer of maple cream cheese frosting.
If you have any trouble spreading the frosting over the maple-glazed cake layer, you can pipe it on with a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped away.
Then, spread the piped frosting with an offset spatula. For me, the thin layer of syrup sank right into the cake.
Repeat the above steps with the second and third cake layers.
Fill in any gaps between the cake layers, and spread the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of maple cream cheese frosting. (This is the crumb coat).
I like to chill my crumb coated cakes in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm everything up before applying the second coat of frosting. (Or you can refrigerate for a bit longer).
This is an optional step but I find it really helpful to decorate cakes when they are chilled.
Decorating the Cake
Decorate the cake however you like! After frosting the cake with the second coat of frosting (after crumb coating), I combed it around the sides with my metal cake comb.
I then used my offset spatula to make swirls of frosting on top, and piped a braided border using a medium sized star tip 21. (Here's a quick video on star tip piping!)
I just love all of the good things happening in this cake- so many flavorful ingredients! Here's a closeup of our slice ;0) - Yummm!
More Classic Cake Recipes
Carrot cake is a classic go-to recipe that will always be a favorite no matter what the occasion. We love it so much!
Favorite Maple Cake Recipes
If you love cakes flavored with maple, we have a few more to share with you! Some of our most popular are our Maple Pecan Cake from Scratch, Maple Toffee Cake, and Maple Pecan Cake- Doctored Cake Mix.
If you are fan of pound cake recipes, we also have a great Maple Pound Cake with caramel glaze! These crowd pleasing recipes are perfect for any fall gathering!
Enjoy the Recipe!
Maple Carrot Cake Layers
- 2 ½ cups (325g.) all purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups ( 400g ) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil (218g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons maple extract
- 2 cups (180g) grated (small pieces) carrots (do not use packaged pre-shredded carrots, they are too dry)
- ¾ cup (92 g) chopped pecans
- ¾ cup (50g) coconut (optional)( we used Baker's Angel Flake sweetened coconut)
- 1 (8oz.) can crushed pineapple, put in a strainer and let the liquid drain off….I press with a fork to remove not all, but a bit more liquid.
- Maple Syrup
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 sticks (226g) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 2 8oz packages cream cheese (453 total gram weight) softened very slightly. Use full fat cream cheese. Do not use reduced
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
- 2 teaspoons (8g) maple extract
- 6 to 6 ½ cups (690g to 747g) powdered sugar, adding more if necessary
Maple Carrot Cake Layers
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line the bottoms of 3 (8 inch) or 2 (9 inch) round pans with wax or parchment paper, grease with shortening and flour the paper and pans for easy release when turning out……carrot cake has a tendency to stick so be sure to use the paper.
- Whisk together for 30 seconds the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set Aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add 2 cups sugar , 4 eggs, 1 cup oil, 2 teaspoons maple extract, 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed until well blended and light colored.
- With a spoon stir in the flour until moistened, then add the carrots, pecans crushed pineapple and coconut.
- Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Refrain from opening the oven door or touching the center of the cake to test for doneness until very near the end of baking time or it could cause the cake to sink slightly in the center. Baking times may vary- peek in around the 30 minute mark and adjust time as needed.
- Makes 6 ½ cups batter
- Cool cake layers in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack then turn out. Cake should be completely cooled before assembling/frosting.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cut the butter into ½ inch slices and add to the bowl of your mixer, mix on medium speed until smooth
- Cut the cream cheese into pieces and add to the butter, mixing on medium speed until well blended.
- Add the maple syrup and maple extract
- Gradually add powdered sugar and mix until well blended. Do not over mix or beat above medium speed . If beaten too long it will become very soft. If this happens, just put in the refrigerator for a short while to firm it up a bit, then frost the cake.
- This frosting will pipe best if used while chilled. You can make in advance, refrigerate and when ready to use let it soften slightly and remix. Do not microwave to soften.
Assemble the Cake
- Place the first cake layer on the cake base or pedestal. Glaze the top of the cake with a thin layer of maple syrup. (I brushed the syrup over the top using a pastry brush).
- Next, spread a layer of maple cream cheese frosting over the top. (If the syrup is too wet, you can pipe on the frosting with a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped away- then spread with offset spatula). For me, the syrup sank right it and it wasn't an issue.
- Top with the next cake layer and repeat. Top with the third cake layer and crumb coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting (this is the crumb coat).
- At this point, I like to chill the cake in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm everything up before applying the second/final coat of frosting. I combed my cake around the sides with a cake comb and then added a braided border around the top with a star tip 21.
*Because of the cream cheese frosting, you will need to refrigerate this cake until within a few hours of serving.
Cream cheese frostings are on the softer side- if at any time it becomes difficult to work with, while assembling or frosting the cake, just pop the bowl, piping bag, or even the cake in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes to firm things up.