This mini carrot cake is moist, soft, and perfectly spiced. It’s generously frosted in a classic, luscious cream cheese frosting. This easy two layer 6-inch cake recipe is perfect for Easter and other small holiday and spring gatherings and celebrations.
If you’re looking for a mini carrot cake for two that comes together easily, this recipe is for you. This 6 inch carrot cake recipe makes a moist, soft, perfectly spiced cake. It is topped with classic cream cheese frosting.
I came up with this recipe so that you could make carrot cake whether it’s for a special occasion or not. It comes together easily and is the perfect mini size. This recipe is as delicious as my popular pumpkin carrot cake recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Warmly spiced taste and soft, moist texture that you love about carrot cake!
- It only takes minutes to stir the batter together by hand. You don’t need any special equipment to make this cake. The cake bakes up in a quick 30 minutes.
- You will love this classic cream cheese frosting. It is luscious and delicious!
- This small carrot cake recipe makes a two-layer 6-inch carrot cake.
- It is perfect for a small Easter celebration. You can also make it for just a couple of people anytime you’re craving carrot cake.
- This cake is a great make-ahead dessert. It stays moist for days thanks to the shredded carrots, oil and applesauce in the batter.
Here are useful notes on some of the ingredients needed to make this recipe for mini carrot cake.
- All purpose flour: I have only tested this cake with all purpose flour. Be sure not to dredge the measuring cup through the flour. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup to avoid using too much flour. I recommend weighing the flour using a kitchen scale for the most accurate measurement.
- Oil: Use vegetable or canola oil. Oil makes this cake super moist. I prefer a flavorless oil for this recipe. This allows the flavor of the warm spices to be the focus.
- Brown sugar: Use light or dark. Make sure to use fresh brown sugar.
- 2 eggs: Use 2 large, room temperature eggs.
- Spices: This recipe uses a combination of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice or allspice.
- Carrots: You will need 1 1/2 cups of shredded carrots. That is about 2-3 medium carrots. Make sure to grate your whole, peeled carrots at home. I don’t recommend using store bought shredded carrots.
- Applesauce: The cake batter uses applesauce to keep the cake extra moist. Make sure to use unsweetened applesauce.
- Cream cheese: Leave it at room temperature for at least an hour before making the frosting. Use full fat block of cream cheese, not the kind in a tub.
- Powdered sugar: I recommend sifting your powdered sugar. Sifting will make sure your frosting is smooth and free of lumps.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
Substitutions and Variations
- Instead of applesauce, use sour cream or buttermilk.
- Add some pecans or walnuts to the batter or as a topping. Be sure to chop nuts finely before adding them to the batter.
- Use orange and green gel food coloring to pipe carrots on your finished cake. Just mix a few spoonfuls of frosting with the colors and pipe mini carrots on the sides and top of the cake.
- For thinner layers, divide the batter between three 6-inch cake pans. The layers will bake up faster since they are thinner. Be sure to start checking them for doneness sooner.
Step by Step Instructions
Here are the directions on how to make mini carrot cake.
Step 1: Whisk to combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt).
Step 2: Mix together the wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugars and eggs. Stir in the vanilla and applesauce followed by the oil.
Step 3: Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula until just combined.
Step 4: Bake at 350 Fahrenheit for 31-35 minutes.
Step 5: Cool cakes completely. Place the cake pans on a rack. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans. Turn them out when cool.
Step 6: Make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer til smooth. With the mixer on low, add the vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Beat 30 seconds then turn mixer up to high for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Step 7: Frost the cake. Top the first layer with 1/2 cup frosting. Place top layer bottom side up. Use a spoon or offset spatula to frost. Frost the sides. Top with chopped nuts, if desired.
Step 8: Slice and enjoy. Cake can be sliced across the diameter then vertically or cut into traditional wedges.
Hint: Add more powdered sugar to the frosting til it’s the thickness you desire.
Expert Baking Tips
- Spoon the flour into your measuring cup. If you dredge the measuring cup into the flour, the flour will become compact. This can lead to a dry cake.
- Use fresh spices. Spices are the star of this miniature carrot cake. Make sure your ground spices are fresh.
- Grate the carrots. Avoid using store bought carrots. To grate your carrots, first rinse then peel them. Grate carrots using a box grater or food processor. The carrots should be small and light, not large and chunky.
- Use block-style, room temperature cream cheese. To get creamy frosting, make sure to use room temperature cream cheese.
- Sift the powdered sugar. We don’t want lumps in the frosting. Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the creamed butter and cream sugar.
Yes, but I recommend oil. Carrot cakes can be made with butter, but most carrot cakes use oil instead of butter. Oil makes the cake moist and helps it stay moist for days.
Carrot cake tastes like warm spices. Carrots have a mild flavor and most recipes use a neutral oil. Cream cheese frosting is creamy and luscious, but it doesn’t have a strong flavor. This allows the flavor of the spices to stand out.
It’s best to store carrot cake in the refrigerator. It can be left out for a couple of hours while serving. Cream cheese frosting spoils quickly and is best refrigerated.
Store this carrot cake mini in an airtight container such as a cake carrier in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Carrot cake can be frozen. Tightly wrap the cooled, unfrosted cake in plastic wrap. Freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw cake in the refrigerator for about 24 hours before frosting and serving.
More Recipes You’ll Love
Mini Carrot Cake
- ¾ cup brown sugar light or dark, packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup oil canola or vegetable
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce or buttermilk or sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon allspice or pumpkin pie spice
- 1½ cups grated carrots about 2- 3 medium carrots, 150 grams
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
Mini Carrot Cake
- Spray sides and bottoms of two 6 inch cake pans baking spray. and line pans with a round of parchment paper Spray parchment paper with baking spray. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice or pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, sugars, applesauce or sour cream, and vanilla until no lumps of brown sugar remain.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold the wet ingredients in with a spatula until just combined. Stir in the carrots until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 30-34 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.
- Keep the cakes in their pans. Place pans on a wire rack. Allow cakes to cool completely in their pans on the racks.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the room temperature butter and room temperature cream cheese on medium speed until smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract, salt and powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low for 30 seconds. Turn mixer up to high speed and beat 2 minutes until creamy. Add extra powdered sugar, if you'd like the frosting thicker.
Assembling the Cake
- Once the cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife or a cake leveler to level off the domes on the tops of the cakes to create even layers.
- Place one cake layer on a cake turntable or cake stand. Spoon a dollop of about ½ cup of frosting on the top layer. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Place the top layer bottom side up on top. Spread the rest of the frosting on top and on the sides. Decorate with chopped nuts, if desired. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to allow frosting to set before slicing.
- Cake can be sliced across the diameter then vertically or cut into traditional wedges.