This Mini Carrot Cake is a smaller version of a classic spiced carrot cake made in one bowl for easy preparation! It is has a moist and tender crumb, can be made without cream cheese frosting, and is simple to make ahead of time with freezing options.
I love carrot cake! If you are with me on that, check out these Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies for perfect, individual cake sandwiches or this Carrot Cake Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for serving a larger group.
Tell Me About This Recipe
- moist, light, and fluffy carrot cake with classic spice flavors and carrot pieces
- 2 6-inch layers create a small carrot cake for serving a smaller crowd
- made in one bowl and a whisk for quick and easy preparation
- made without cream cheese frosting
Small Carrot Cake Ingredients
- Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil can be substituted with another unflavored oil. It is the base structure of the cake and creates a moist cake that stays moist.
- Granulated Sugar & Light Brown Sugar: Both sugars work together to impact sweetness, structure, and moisture.
- Eggs: 2 room temperature eggs create a structured cake with a soft texture.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract rounds out the flavor of the cake.
- Sour Cream: Room temperature sour cream can be substituted with Greek yogurt and creates a light and tender crumb.
- All Purpose Flour: Plain, white all purpose flour creates a light cake when measured properly. Read “Expert Tips” below for more recommendations.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Both leavening agents ensure the cake rises and has a fluffy and light texture.
- Salt: Salt brings out sweetness and enhances flavor.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Ginger: Together, these three spices create the classic carrot cake flavor.
- Chopped Carrots: What’s carrot cake with carrots. You’ll want to finely chop your carrots, but no need to grate them or make them too thin!
Step by Step Process
STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 6-inch round pans with parchment paper and spray the paper and sides of the pans with cooking spray to ensure the cake layers come out cleanly.
STEP 2: In a large bowl, whisk wet ingredients together until smooth. This includes vegetable oil, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, room temperature eggs, vanilla extract, and room temperature sour cream.
STEP 3: Next, pour all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger into the bowl of wet ingredients. Mix only until combined.
STEP 4: Then, pour the chopped carrots into the batter. Use a wire whisk to mix until the carrots disperse throughout the batter.
STEP 5: Divide the batter between the two prepared 6 inch pans. Bake for 28-35 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs. Allow the cakes to fully cool before decorating.
STEP 6: Next, prepare the buttercream frosting by mixing butter and powdered sugar together with a stand or hand mixer. Beat on low speed before switching to high speed until smooth.
STEP 7: Pour heavy whipping cream into the frosting. Mix on high speed for 3-5 minutes to beat air into the buttercream. The buttercream will be lighter, softer, and smoother. Decorate the cake as desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can make this cake in 2 8-inch pans or an 8×8 inch square pan.
Yes! I have used pre-shredded carrots in this recipe with great success. However, fresh carrots will provide more flavor and moisture.
Carrot cake uses oil for a moist cake that stays moist. There is no need to use butter in this recipe!
You can store this cake tightly wrapped or in an airtight container-
- at room temperature for up to 3 days
- in the fridge for up to 5 days
- in the freezer for up to 4 months
If freezing the decorated cake, pop it in the freezer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Wrap the cake in a couple layers of cling wrap before placing back the freezer. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Expert Tips & Tricks
Room Temperature Ingredients: Use room temperature eggs and sour cream in the cake batter for the lightest, fluffiest cake. In the frosting, using room temperature butter will create a softer buttercream.
Measuring Flour: Use a kitchen scale for most accurate measuring. If you do not have a kitchen scale, use a spoon to transfer flour from your container to your measuring cups. Then, use a knife to sweep across the top of the cup to level the peak.
Cooling: Do not remove your cakes from your pans for at least 30 minutes after being removed from the oven. Do not stack or frost until the layers have fully cooled.
Mini Carrot Cake is a smaller version of a classic spiced carrot cake made in one bowl for easy preparation! It is has a moist and tender crumb, can be made without cream cheese frosting, and is simple to make ahead of time with freezing options.
For the Cake
- 1/2 cup (100g) vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup (105g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (120g) light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs (100g), room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup (60g) sour cream
- 1 1/4 cup (175g) all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup (110g) chopped carrots
For the Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups (275g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 cups (360g) powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45g) heavy whipping cream, room temperature
For the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 6-inch pans with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper and sides of the pan with cooking spray to ensure the cakes come out of the pans cleanly.
- In a large bowl, use a wire whisk to combine vegetable oil, granulated sugar, packed light brown sugar, room temperature eggs, vanilla extract, and room temperature sour cream together until smooth.
- Pour all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger into the bowl. Use a wire whisk to mix only until you see the flour pieces disappear into the batter. Mixing past this point could lead to dense cake.
- Whisk chopped carrots into the cake batter until evenly dispersed before dividing the batter between the two pans.
- Bake the cakes for 28-35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown in color, the centers look firm and set, the middle of the cake bounces back quickly when poked with your pointer finger, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs. Allow the cakes to cool for at least 30 minutes in the pans before transferring to a wire cooling rack or plate to finish cooling. Do not assemble or decorate until completely cool.
For the Frosting & Assembly
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the room temperature butter and powdered sugar together on low speed until the powdered sugar begins to incorporate. Then, mix on a higher speed until smooth.
- Pour heavy whipping cream into the frosting. Beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes until light in color and soft.
- If desired, transfer the frosting to a piping bag or zippable bag with the corner snipped off for more control.
- Frost the top of one cooled cake before placing the other layer on top. Decorate the cake as desired.
- Store at room temperature for up to 4 days, in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months tightly covered or in an airtight container.
Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature ingredients will allow the batter and frosting to come together more evenly. This results in a lighter, moister cake and a smoother, creamier frosting.
Mixing: Do not overmix when adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients when making the carrot cake batter. Doing so could lead to a dense cake.
Pan Size: You can make this recipe in an 8×8 inch baking dish or two 7 or 8 inch round cake pans. Baking time will vary, so keep an eye on the cake and follow the baking cues in the instructions.
Keywords: Mini Cake, Mini Carrot Cake, Small Carrot Cake, Buttercream