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Gingerbread Carrot Cake with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting!


Gingerbread Carrot Cake with Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting!

I'm going to keep this one short, folks, since I know we're all over our heads busy this time of year. And really, we should just focus on this absolutely amazing cake. We start with a hearty spiced carrot cake packed with ginger and molasses, from one of my favorite blogs - Lady and Pups. I've topped it with my favorite go-to cream cheese frosting spiked with a bit of cardamom and a variation on the ginger fries recommended in the original recipe. 

Believe me - if you love ginger as much as I do, you're going to want to start frying up ginger sprinkles on a regular basis! Absolutely genius. 

Gingerbread Cake Recipe, Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting

This cake is really pretty darn easy to make, and it stores in the fridge over night making it an impressive and convenient holiday dessert! Packed with all the spices we crave this time of year, there really is no going wrong here. 

So, here you are! Gingerbread carrot cake, cardamom cream cheese frosting, and ginger sprinkles. All the holiday dessert you've ever dreamed! 

Gingerbread Carrot Cake 

10oz (or about 2 small) carrots, grated finely 

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 

1 Tbsp cocoa powder

2 1/2 tsp ground ginger 

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

/4 tsp ground allspice 

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 

1 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp baking soda 

1/2 tsp salt 

12 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly 

1 cup molasses 

3/4 cup dark brown sugar 

1/3 cup cane sugar 

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger 

2 large eggs 

3/4 cup whole milk 

  • Prepare two 8 inch round cake pans by buttering and flouring the edges, and lining the bottom with a round of parchment paper. 
  • Toss grated carrots with flour, cocoa, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl whisk together melted butter, molasses, sugars, fresh ginger, and eggs until smooth. 
  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the milk and carrot mixture into the wet ingredients. Continue folding until the mixture is just incorporated. 
  • Divide batter between two cake pans, using a spatula to smooth the batter in each pan. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Carefully run a knife around the edge of each pan to separate the cake from the walls of the pan, then let the cakes cool for about 20 minutes in the pans. 
  • Turn the cakes out of the pans and let cool completely on a cooling rack before frosting. 

Ginger Sprinkles 

3 inches fresh ginger 

3/4 cup vegetable oil 

  • Prepare a space to place your cooked ginger by setting a few layers of paper towel over a plate or baking sheet. 
  • Peel the ginger, then slice it into shoestring pieces as thin as you possible can. 
  • Combine ginger and oil in a small pan, and place over medium heat. Allow the oil to heat to a temperature where it is bubbling gently with the ginger. If the oil ever starts to smoke, be sure to turn it down! 
  • Continue cooking the ginger in the hot oil until it starts to crisp up and turn a golden brown.
  • Scoop ginger out of the oil using a slotted spoon, and place it on the paper towel to cool. Alternatively, strain oil through a fine mesh sieve into another container then place ginger on the paper towels. Either way, I definitely recommend straining your oil and saving it for later use (it'll have a nice gingery flavor!). 

Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting 

16 oz cream cheese, softened 

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened 

1/3 cup maple syrup 

1 Tbsp vanilla 

6-7 cups powdered sugar 

3-4 Tbsp whole milk 

1/8 tsp cardamom 

  • Start by whipping the cream cheese for about 1 minute, using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. It should start to get just a little fluffy. 
  • Add the butter and continue to whip for another minute or so, again allowing the mixture to fluff up a bit. 
  • Add syrup, vanilla, and cardamom and continue mixing until just combined. 
  • Add about 2 cups of the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Then alternate adding sugar and milk. First add about 1 cup of sugar and mix to combine, then about 1 Tbsp of milk and mix to combine. Continue this process until the frosting reaches a good consistency, or you've used all your milk and sugar. 
  • Finally, whip the frosting for about 4 minutes until it is light and fluffy. 

Assembling the Cake 

Once you have all of your pieces ready, this cake is a synch to assemble! Make sure to peel the parchment paper off of the bottom of your cakes, and take a moment to slice the top off of one cake should the tops be rounded (so they stack nicely!). 

  • If you did slice the top off one cake, use that one as your base. Set it on the plate or cake stand you intend to serve the cake on. I like to use three strips of parchment paper, about 4 inches wide to keep the plate clean. Slip them just a bit under the cake, working your way around so that the entire base of the cake has parchment between the cake and the plate. 
  • Scoop  cup or so of the frosting onto the top of the layer. There will be no shortage of frosting, so go heavy if you're a frosting lover. Smooth with an offset spatula. 
  • Set the second layer on top of the frosting, and frost the entire outside of the cake. 
  • Use the ginger sprinkles to decorate the top of the cake however you like! 


spiced apple cake with caramel


spiced apple cake with caramel

Apple cake just might be my very definition of fall. When the apples ripen and the summer days start to cool enough that I'm overly excited about my oven all over again, it's this apple cake that I always want first. It is sweet and decadent, but also full of fruit - so I'll go ahead and say it makes a great breakfast (though it definitely won't keep you full all morning). So if you're a fan of pie for breakfast, this may just be your new go to for the fall! 

This apple cake mixes a hearty (half) whole wheat cake spiced with ginger and nutmeg with a hefty serving of apples to create a perfect fall cake.

First we gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, carefully folding them together with a rubber spatula to create a thick batter. 

Half of the batter goes into the bottom of our pan, then a thin layer of apples are placed in the middle of the cake to bring some apple richness throughout the entire cake. 

Next comes the rest of the batter and that hefty serving of apples, then your ready for the oven. Putting this many apples on our cake will keep the cake super moist (maybe event too wet in some folks minds... but I sure love a moist cake!). If you want a less moist but still absolutely amazing cake, use a bundt pan! 

Then we just need to bake it, for quite a long time, until the center is fully cooked. And voila - cake! 

I know I'm using a glass dish that differs from the suggested 8x8 size in these photos. I highly recommend you use a metal 8x8 baking dish. The cake will cook more evenly, and not have as thick of a bake line as mine did (the darker edge where the cake is touching the pan). 

But whatever you do use, the cake will be delicious, and you will rejoice!

Last but not (by a long shot) least, I couldn't help but top this apple cake with a drizzle of the easiest caramel you've ever laid your hands on. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the slow gentle process of caramelizing a hefty serving of cane sugar to create a luscious caramel... but I also understand that not everyone feels so comfortable melting sugar. If you're feeling adventurous or love making caramel, my recipe can be found buried in this lengthy recipe for brownie ice cream sandwiches (yes, I put a layer of caramel in them... because obviously brownies and ice cream wasn't enough decadence).  

This caramel I'm sharing here, on the other hand, requires basically no work and no worry. If you're having a lazy day, but also really want a helping of caramel sauce for your cake, your ice cream, or your spoon - this is it my friends. You're welcome. 

The cake recipe was adapted from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen

Apple Cake 


2 large apples, cut to a small dice 

2 cups + 2 Tbsp cane sugar 

1 Tbsp cinnamon 

1 Tbsp vanilla 

1 cup vegetable oil 

4 eggs 

2 Tbsp lemon juice 

1 1/2 cups white flour 

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour 

1 Tbsp baking powder 

1 tsp salt 

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg


  • Prepare an 8x8 square baking dish by buttering and flouring it. 
  • In a small bowl, stir together apples, cinnamon, and 2 Tbsp sugar. Set aside. 
  • In a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Start by whisking together eggs, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Once combined, add in the remaining 2 cups of sugar and whisk to combine. 
  • Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl until evenly combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until all the flour clumps have been incorporated. 
  • Pour about half the batter into the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle a very sparse layer of apples over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the thin layer of apples, then cover the top with the remaining apples. 
  • Bake at 350 for about about 75 minutes, or until the center is cooked. 
  • Drizzle entire cake with the caramel, or each slice as you're serving. 

Super Simple Caramel Drizzle 


1 cup brown sugar

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

pinch of salt  


  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine as the butter melts. 
  • Continue stirring and cooking until the mixture starts to boil lightly. Let it boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly. 
  • Remove from heat, pour into a glass container, and let cool completely before using.