Make Ahead

Carrot Cake with Cardamom

April  5, 2021
13 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8-10
Author Notes

I have been cooking with cardamom a lot lately. Everything from cakes to soup! Enjoy this scrumptious cake! —hollyshaner

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Hollyshaner is from Florida and a food blogger at
WHAT: A carrot cake with a ton of character.
HOW: Mix up your cakes, whip up your icing, layer, and slice.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Some carrot cakes seem promising -- but are dry, crumbly, and tasteless. This is not one of those carrot cakes. The yogurt and carrots give the cake moisture, and the hint of cardamom makes it shine. We ended up adding the sugar in the frosting to taste; if you prefer your frosting on the not-so-sweet side, you should do the same. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • Cake
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 orange, zest of
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup yogurt, plain
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 16 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch salt(optional)
  1. Cake
  2. In the bowl of mixer, with paddle attachment, beat sugar and eggs until light yellow. Add vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon. Add carrots and orange zest and toss to coat.
  4. Add flour mixture, alternately with yogurt and oil, to egg mixture. Stir only until just combined.
  5. Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans. Pour batter evenly into pans. Bake until golden, about 50-60 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.
  1. Cream Cheese Frosting
  2. Cream butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar. Beat well. Add vanilla.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • KKD
  • chezjenne
  • Ally
  • charles
  • Elise Fahrer
    Elise Fahrer

41 Reviews

Aura June 17, 2023
I cannot wait for you, but shall you wait for me? 365 Animals and 176 mouses. 128.6.1 128.15.4
KKD April 5, 2023
Wonderful cake that lets the cardamom come through. Strongly suggest using freshly ground. I added over a teaspoon of cardamom and it was wonderful. I do not share the concerns about too much carrots.
chezjenne March 7, 2022
I used 2.5 cups of shredded carrots and added a cup of walnuts and a cup of golden raisons. Everything else I kept the same and WE LOVED IT. The cardamom flavor with the orange zest and cinnamon was PERFECTION. Thank you so much for this wonderful take on a lifelong family favorite. My sister was thrilled with her Birthday Cake. :D
chezjenne March 7, 2022
By the way, my family and I found it "dense" in the best possible hearty carrot-cake full of goodness way. I think less oil, supplemented by the full-fat Greek yogurt really made for an excellent crumb/texture.
Ally April 5, 2021
I followed the recommendation of the previous comments and only used 2 cups of shredded carrots, and also squeezed some excess water out after shredding. Otherwise made it exactly as written. The cake was not at all dense and so moist! Great flavors too. Definitely making this recipe again!
Shane January 15, 2021
This cake is dense, flavorful, aromatic, and an elevated counterpart to the summertime classic I grew up enjoying. I cannot stress enough how important the citrus is to the flavor profile, and how well it pairs with cardamom and the bright-earthiness of carrots. I highly recommend this recipe.
charles December 4, 2020
As I am a big cardamom fan, I really liked this cake. I also added some nutmeg as I think it goes well with the cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom. The orange zest was a nice touch. I didn't have an issue with it being too dense and the yogurt helped with flavor and moistness. I will make it again.
Nina-Lucia N. November 12, 2018
This cake was so dense. Not sure if it was the ratio of flour or the amount of carrots? Gonna make it again with a different vanilla base and add other ingredients. Wouldn't recommend this if your looking for anything close to fluffy.
parksgirl February 11, 2018
Everyone who ate this cake praised it. I thought it was Ok. I am not sure how you measure 4 cups of carrots then shred them (which is how this is written) so I winged it. Based on this round, next time I will shred the carrots first and add two loosely packed cups. I will double the cardamom and I will flavor the icing with a bit of cardamom also. The cake was tough with the amount of carrots I put in this time but like I said, others did not have this complaint. Nor were others clamoring to take an extra slice home though...
Guy C. July 22, 2018
Giving the quantities in grams would solve this. I wish all recipes did.
Elise F. September 1, 2017
I love this recipe! I added some fresh, grated ginger and it really enhanced the flavor of the cardamom.
Jessiboo October 1, 2016
Beautiful flavours but my cake turned out way too dense for my liking. Looked like it didn't rise very much (made my own self rising flour so it's not because the leavening agents were too old) Have never used yogurt in a carrot cake before so maybe I would scale back the flour/ sugar/eggs next time and omit the yogurt.
Min July 16, 2016
I love carrot cake so tried all kinds of recipes but always felt something was missing and unsatisfactory. However! no more research! This is the best carrot cake ever!! I will make this forever
greglum April 17, 2016
How much shredded carrot is need?? Does anyone have an eyeball estimate of how many cups or a weight measurement? I'd appreciate it!
greglum April 17, 2016
Whoops! For some reason, I did NOT see that it already said 4 CUPS - I just saw 4 carrots.
Guy C. July 22, 2018
Still, how much is in a cup? I bet we'd each get different amounts. Recipe quantities given by weight, preferably in grams solve that.
weyams March 24, 2016
Hi Holly, My Son asked for Carrot Cake for his Birthday tomorrow. This recipe looks good and I trust the Contest Winning Recipes. However, I have been baking a long time and run across Self Rising Flour on occasion in recipes, (for which I make my own), but never a combination of AP Flour and Self Rising Flour. Out of interest in learning something new, will you do me a favor and explain the reasoning behind this combo, please? Also as a note, unless Self Rising Flour is used regularly, the Baking Powder in it will stale and loose its rising power in a short amount of time. Someone told me Self Rising Flour is a Southern thing. Thanks in advance. David
rebecca P. December 31, 2018
Agreed. I am looking at recipe and decided not to make it for a party because I am a bit confused about the combo of self rising and cake flours especially since so many people say it was too dense...
Tracey W. February 8, 2016
I accidentally made this without the brown sugar - and it was still delicious. Also used 1/2 the frosting on a non-layered cake. Reduced calories (practically eating a salad) and still so delicious!
Megan October 5, 2015
I made this as muffins (skipped the frosting) and my husband declared them the best muffins he's ever had. I didn't have brown sugar so I used some maple syrup, and added 1/2 c. of shredded unsweetened coconut. A very flexible recipe.

I'm guessing the problem people had with this not rising may be due to not using self-rising flour? I didn't have any so I just used 1 c of regular flour and 1/2 t. of baking powder and they came out perfect.
Detrishious January 18, 2015
I just made this recipe, but gluten- free. I tweaked it here and there but it turned out perfect. I doubled the recipe (cake for home and cupcakes for kids lunches) but did not double the sugar.
I also used 3/4 evoo and 3/4 cup melted butter. I used 3/4 cup of yogurt and 3/4 milk (next time I will try butter milk)
I made my own self rising flour as I did not have any.
I separated eggs and folded in whipped whites at the end.
I think chopped fresh pineapple might be a great addition to the recipe as it goes so well with cardamom.
Thanks for the recipe/inspiration!
Detrishious January 18, 2015
3/4 cup evoo*
Ida-Maria S. November 27, 2014
I love the flavours in this cake (being Scandinavian I embrace anything recipe with cardamom!), but when I make it again it will be with less carrot. I grated the carrots finely, but the batter just seemed too thick and although the cake rose a fair bit in the oven, the consistency is still a little too dense for my liking...
Hina K. October 29, 2014
A lot of people are complaining about this cake not rising. I haven't made it yet but I'm thinking, shouldn't the addition of yogurt call for some baking soda? I think the acidic yogurt might be inactivating the baking powder.
Ida-Maria S. November 27, 2014
I used baking soda and it rose, but not much... I wonder if it is the amount of carrot that is making the batter so heavy..?
Tiger L. October 20, 2014
I made it last night because it really looked delicious. I used a bunt pan and didn't make any frosting. The taste was nice, but it did not rise at all and the texture was like rubber. No idea why that happened. :-(
mosteff October 20, 2014
I've also had the same problem the last time I made the cake. I couldn't figure out why it didn't rise. It was such a disappointment because it worked and was wonderful several times for me but now I'm afraid to make it again.
Cindy October 20, 2014
I'm stumped, Tiger Lily, why you had this problem. Except for the time of grating the carrots, this cake takes me 5 min start to oven. My eggs are room temp and I even use olive oil which is heavier because I don't use veggie oil anymore. Last time I made this cake I made a mistake and grated the carrots too thick which you would have thought the extra weight of the heavier carrots would have weighed the cake down, but it didn't, still perfect and delicious. Wish I had a more definitive answer for you but you must have done something wrong. Don't give up. Try it again.
Cindy October 20, 2014
I only use White Lily self rising flour and fresh aluminum free baking powder. Could that have been your problem? And warm organic eggs. Maybe that's why mine rose so high. Just an idea.
Pisanella August 15, 2014
My cake did not rise one iota! Never mind, it looks ok and smells delicious...