Ultimate Carrot Cake with Chocolate & Cream Cheese Frosting
Celebrate the season with this delicious classic, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting! But, this recipe is like no other! We decided to add a delicious twist by swapping out the traditional raisins for chunks of maple caramel filled dark chocolate and peanut butter filled milk chocolate! Every bite is truly an irresistible experience for your taste buds — we promise you won't be disappointed!
One 8-inch 4-layer carrot cake
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2⁄3 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2⁄3 cup light brown sugar
- 1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
- 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 3⁄4 teaspoon allspice
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 dark chocolate maple caramel leaves, chilled and chopped (or 1 ½ maple caramel bars, approximately 12 squares)
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 16 ounces butter, softened
- 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 8 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 8 milk chocolate peanut butter leaves, chilled and chopped (or 1 ¼ milk chocolate peanut butter bars, approximately 10 squares)
- 1⁄4 cup coconut flakes
- 2 milk chocolate peanut butter leaves, chilled and chopped (or ¼ milk chocolate peanut butter bar, approximately 2 ½ squares)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
- In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, oil, and sugars until well combined. Stir in the grated carrots.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Gradually stir flour mixture into the carrot mixture until just combined.
- Toss chopped dark chocolate maple caramel leaves in 1 tablespoon of flour, separating larger chunks that may be sticking together. Stir half of the chocolate into the batter.
- Distribute batter evenly between cake pans. Sprinkle remaining chocolate evenly over top. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool completely on a rack. Run a knife around the edges to loosen cakes, then tip out of pans.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer) beat together butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.
- Reduce speed to low and gradually sift in confectioner's sugar. Once all sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla. Increase to medium-high speed and beat for approximately 3 minutes, until frosting is light and fluffy. Stir in chopped milk chocolate peanut butter leaves.
- Separate out 1⁄3 of frosting. Place in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Using a large serrated knife, level tops of cakes if necessary, then evenly slice layers in half.
- Place bottom layer on a cardboard cake round or your cake serving plate. Cut a sheet of parchment, wax paper, or cake acetate to 6-inch height, and long enough to wrap around the outside of your cake layer. Tape to secure in place. (This will help you build your cake and frosting layers without losing frosting to the weight of the layers above.)
- From the remaining frosting, evenly distribute 1⁄3 on top of the first cake layer. Gently add the next cake layer and repeat. Repeat once more, and then top with final cake layer. Transfer cake to the fridge and chill until frosting has set enough to hold its shape (overnight, ideally).
- Remove remaining 1⁄3 of frosting from the fridge and let soften slightly. (You want it to be spreadable, but not so soft that it easily falls off a spoon.)
- Remove cake from the fridge. Carefully snip tape and remove paper/acetate from the outside of the cake.
- Use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Top with coconut flakes and chopped milk chocolate peanut butter leaves.
- Store cake in the fridge for a half hour before serving. If you won’t be serving it the same day, let it chill in the fridge until the frosting has set, and then gently cover in saran wrap. Can be made up to 3 days in advance. Cool in refrigerator until set. Using the overhanging parchment edges, pull the bar out of the pan. Remove parchment and slice with a sharp knife.