Chocolate Carrot Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Think of chocolate carrot cake as a cross between a Texas sheet cake, a Mexican chocolate cake, and a classic carrot cake. Or, just think of it as its own special treat because there really is nothing quite like it.
Cocoa powder, chocolate chips, cinnamon, pecans, and carrots create a showstopper cake, made even better with the addition of chocolate cream cheese frosting.
There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe, but the nice thing is that they are almost all pantry basics.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you gather them together:
- I use dark brown sugar for a strong flavor, but don’t go out and buy it special. Light brown sugar will work well.
- There is a small amount of sour cream in the recipe for moisture and tang. You can substitute yogurt if you have that on hand.
- The recipe calls for 3 cups of food processed carrots – this takes about 6 small carrots or 3 large ones. I use organic carrots and I don’t peel them first – I just scrub them well. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the carrots with a hand-held grater instead.
- I use dark chocolate chips. If you prefer semi-sweet or even white chocolate chips, those would also work well.
How It’s Made
Start by whisking together the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set those aside.
Next, cream the butter with the brown sugar and white sugar. This takes about three minutes with an electric mixer.
Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Then add the oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
Mix the carrots in.
Then, mix in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time until just combined.
Gently mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.
Pour into well-greased a 9″x11″ baking pan and bake at 350 F until a toothpick comes out with nothing stuck to it – about 35 minutes.
Set it out to cool for an least one hour before frosting. Then, spread chocolate cream cheese frosting evenly over the top of the cake. I like to add a little texture with the back of a spoon.
If you’d like, decorate with chopped pecans and more chocolate chips.
Expert Tips and FAQs
Yes, bake it in two 9″ rounds and frost between the layers and on top of the cake. You won’t need to adjust the amount of batter.
Store at room temperature for up to 3 days, refrigerate for a week, or freeze for months.
If you don’t like nuts or if there is a nut allergy in your household, you can definitely leave them out. You might consider adding in raisins or coconut to add to the complexity of the cake.
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Chocolate Carrot Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt only use 1/2 teaspoon if using table salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup sour cream or full-fat yogurt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups finely food processed carrots about 6 small carrots or 3 large carrots
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- chopped pecans to taste, for decorating
- dark chocolate chips to taste, for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter with sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. This takes about three minutes with an electric mixer.
- Mix in eggs, one at a time.
- Mix in oil, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
- Mix in carrots.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture a little bit at a time until just combined.
- Gently mix in the nuts and chocolate chips.
- Pour into a well-greased a 9"x11" baking pan and bake until a toothpick comes out with nothing stuck to it – about 35 minutes.
- Set it out to cool for an least one hour before frosting.
- Mix butter until smooth and creamy – about 3 minutes using a stand mixer on high speed.
- Add cream cheese and mix until completely combined.
- Mix in powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
- Mix in cocoa powder and salt until fully combined.
- Spread frosting evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Optionally, use the back of a spoon to create a little texture in the frosting.
- If you'd like, decorate with chopped pecans and more chocolate chips.
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