Carrot cake is common in the spring, but I really enjoy carrot cake in the fall and winter because the spices like cinnamon and nutmeg in this cake really speak my language this time of year. But this is not just your average carrot cake. A rich and moist carrot cake served warm with simple syrup and warm cream cheese frosting!
This Heavenly Carrot Cake was inspired by a restaurant called J. Alexander’s that serves one of the most delicious versions of a carrot cake! My version is inspired by but not necessarily a “copycat” recipe. I have no insider knowledge of how J. Alexander’s makes their carrot cake. However, after years of research via ordering and eating their carrot cake, I came up with this version. There are several steps to this cake, but it is well worth it in the long run!
More preparation and some extra time to plate this cake is needed. However, I can assure you that every single step is worth the warm, sweet, rich, and moist outcome when you bite into this Heavenly Carrot Cake!
Decadent Carrot Cake
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- 1 8- oz can crushed pineapple drained
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs beaten
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 t pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 2 t ground cinnamon
- 1/4 t ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t salt
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans optional
- 1 8- oz block cream cheese room temperature
- 1/4 cup salted butter room temperature
- 2 t pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
- Simple Syrup
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, add the carrots, pineapple, coconut, sugar, eggs. oil, and vanilla. Stir to fully combine.
- In a separate large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to incorporate.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the carrot mixture. Stir to fully combine. If using the pecans, add to the batter and gently stir to incorporate.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Using a toothpick, poke holes evenly in the cake. (This will help the simple syrup absorb.) Allow the cake to cool.
- In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer on high until smooth.
- Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating on medium-low until all of the powdered sugar is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan. Heat on the stovetop over medium heat. Stir occasionally. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and allow to cool. (Do not bring the mixture to a boil.)
For serving a group: Warm the simple syrup, and pour over the cake. Cut slices of the cake and place each piece on a separate plate. Heat the cream cheese frosting to make if pourable. Pour the desired amount of cream cheese frosting over each slice. Serve immediately.
For individual serving: Warm the simple syrup. Cut desired amount of slices, and place each on a separate plate. Pour a small amount of warm simple syrup over each slice. Warm the cream cheese frosting until pourable. Pour the desired amount of frosting over each slice.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Just slightly heat the cake before adding the warm simple syrup and warm frosting. This cake is meant to me warm, decadent, and most!