Introducing my easy 6-inch Small Carrot Cake. This soft, tender, small-batch cake is filled with warm spices and freshly grated carrot, and topped with zesty cream cheese frosting. You only need one carrot to make it! It’s the latest cake in our popular Small Batch series.
I absolutely LOVE this cake, and I know you will too 🧡
If carrot cake is your thing, you’ll adore this teeny tiny 6-inch cake that feeds just 2, 4 or 6 people. It’s super soft and tender and it’s bursting with flavour, thanks to plenty of warm spices, freshly grated carrot and crunchy walnuts.
It only uses one carrot – so now you know what to do with that annoying carrot rolling around in the bottom of your fridge at the end of the week 😉
And we frosted it the only way we know how – with oodles of cream cheese frosting. Yes please!
why you will love this recipe
- It’s quick and easy to make
- You only need one carrot
- It’s soft, tender and full of flavour
- It makes just one 6-inch cake
Our Small Batch series has been going strong since last year’s lockdown, and I’m still getting loads of requests for more 6-inch cake recipes. After nailing a small Chocolate Fudge Cake (ah yes please) and a perfect Vanilla Cake, a tiny Carrot Cake was next on my list.
Since we already have an amazing layered Carrot Cake recipe, and cupcakes too, it seemed like an easy recipe to tackle.
But it you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen my first attempt looked good but was a little bland, not sweet enough and a bit tough. So I made a few changes, namely more sugar, more spices, more baking powder and more carrot.
The result was perfection. Even without any icing, this cake is soft and tender, moist and flavourful. And the best part? It uses just one carrot.
So if you have a lonely carrot sitting in your crisper, this one’s for you!
what you will need
Here’s what you will need to make this small Carrot Cake:
- Plain flour: Or all purpose flour.
- Brown sugar
- Caster sugar: Or granulated sugar.
- Baking powder
- Cinnamon + nutmeg: For extra flavour.
- Vegetable oil: Or another flavourless oil.
- Vanilla extract
- Milk: Full fat or whole milk is best.
- Walnuts: Walnuts add a lovely crunch but they are entirely optional. For a nut-free version, just leave them out.
- Carrot: You only need one large carrot!
how to make it
The cake itself is quick and easy to make, with no electric mixer needed. It’s filled with fresly grated carrot, warm spices and walnuts. It’s made with oil, so it’s very moist and light. Here’s how to make it:
- In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a separate bowl, add oil, vanilla, egg and milk, and stir briefly just to break up the egg yolk.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, along with the grated carrot and walnuts and stir to combine.
- Place in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
cream cheese frosting
We love to top this soft and tender cake with lashings of cream cheese frosting. It’s sweet, tangy and zesty. And it’s very easy to make! Here are my three tips for perfect cream cheese frosting.
- Choose the right cream cheese: Where possible, I recommend using block-style cream cheese, rather than the spreadable kind. Also, opt for full fat rather than a light or fat free version.
- Use room temperature cream cheese: Always use softened cream cheese as cold or chilled cream cheese will have always lumps and won’t be super smooth.
- Sift your icing sugar: For that silky smooth frosting, always sift your icing or powdered sugar.
- Don’t skip the lemon zest: A little lemon goes a long way in making the cream cheese frosting fresh and zesty – contrasting beautifully with the spiced carrot cake.
frequently asked questions
Absolutely! You can simply omit the walnuts.
This recipe makes one 6-inch cake. You can cut into 6 smaller slices or 4 large ones.
Yes! This cake is moist and keeps well. I prefer to keep my cakes out of the fridge, so I recommend wrapping the cooled cake in plastic wrap and storing it in an airtight container at room temperature. Then frost just before serving.
more small batch bakes
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Small Carrot Cake
Light and fluffy 6-inch Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting.
- 105 grams (3/4 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
- 60 grams (1/3 cup) brown sugar
- 15 grams (1 tablespoon) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) full fat or whole milk
- 25 grams (1/4 cup) walnuts, finely chopped, optional
- 80 grams (3/4 cup) carrot, peeled and finely grated (approximately 1 large carrot)
Cream cheese frosting
- 200 grams (1 cup) full fat (block-style) cream cheese, softened
- 60 grams (1/2 cup) icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup (see notes)
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- Walnuts, for decorating, optional
- Small carrot cake
Grease and line one 6-inch round cake pan with baking or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add flour, sugars, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add oil, vanilla, egg and milk. Mix briefly with a fork just to break up the egg yolk.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, along with the walnuts and carrots. Stir until combined.
- Transfer cake batter to prepared pan. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for 10 minutes, before carefully removing from cake pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cream cheese frosting
Add cream cheese to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. There shouldn’t be any lumps.
- Add sugar and maple and beat again until combined and smooth. Finally, stir through lemon zest.
- Use a spatula to spread the frosting on top of the cake. Decorate with walnuts, if desired.
Walnuts: You can use raw or toasted walnuts. Raw is fine and works well. If you prefer to bump up the flavour, you can toast them. Spread your walnuts out on a baking tray, and bake them in a moderate oven for 5-10 minutes, or until they smell toasty (watch closely so they don’t burn). Alternatively, you can toast them in a medium frying pan over medium heat, shaking the pan regularly. Leave them to cool completely before adding them to your cake batter.
Nut-free: To make this cake nut-free, simply omit the walnuts.
Cream cheese: Where possible, I recommend using block-style cream cheese, rather than the spreadable kind. Also, opt for full fat rather than a light or fat free version.
Maple syrup: If you don’t have any maple syrup on hand, swap it for 1/2 tablespoon of full fat milk or fresh lemon juice.
Make ahead (cake): If you are making the cake ahead of time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Then frost just before serving. Alternatively, you can freeze the cake. Just let it thaw at room temperature before frosting and serving.
Make ahead (frosting): You also make the frosting ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge. To serve, let it come back to room temperature, then add a little milk and beat it briefly with an electric mixer (or give it a good stir by hand) until it’s nice and creamy again.
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