Orangey Carrot Cake Recipe

It never hurts to squeeze in some extra veggies in the form of a dessert, and if you've had carrot cake before, you know how delicious the moist, sweet batter is. To make this cake even tastier, this recipe also features instructions for a creamy, cream cheese frosting that complements the cake perfectly.

Recipe developer Catherine Brookes came up with this amazing recipe for orangey carrot cake that goes well with a cup of tea or coffee for an afternoon or after-dinner treat. "This cake is a staple of mine! So easy to mix up by hand and always comes out moist, fluffy, and delicious." Brookes raves. The addition of orange zest also makes the cake stick out, taking it up a notch from a traditional carrot cake. There are plenty of occasions that this cake would be good to serve at, and Brookes shares a few of her faves. "It's great as a birthday or celebration cake, and especially in the fall [and] winter," she says.

Gather the ingredients for this orangey carrot cake

Start by making a list and taking a trip to the grocery store. You'll need all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, vegetable oil, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, grated carrots, an orange (for the zest), butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, and orange extract.

Once you have those items, you can make this orangey carrot cake.

Preheat the oven and mix the cake's dry ingredients together

Start things off by preheating your oven to 350 F. Then, grab two, 8-inch loose-bottomed baking pans, and grease and line them with parchment paper.

Once you finish lining the pans, grab a mixing bowl and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Use a whisk to combine these dry ingredients well. 

Mix the cake batter's wet ingredients

Add the oil, white sugar, brown sugar, and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract to another large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix everything together.

Then, add the eggs one at a time. After each addition, whisk the egg to combine it with the rest of the wet ingredients.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients with carrots and orange zest

Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ones, and use a wooden spoon to fold them together until just combined.

Then, add the grated carrots and orange zest and fold again to combine them with the batter. "Orange zest adds an extra burst of citrus flavor that compliments the carrot and spices so well!" Brookes raves.

Bake the cakes

Grab the two baking pans you lined earlier and pour half the batter into each one. 

Pop the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for about 35-40 minutes. You can check for doneness by poking a skewer into the center of the cake and seeing if it comes out clean.

Make the frosting

While your cakes bake, go ahead and make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the butter and beat for a few minutes until it's nice and smooth. Then, sift in the powdered sugar and continue beating on a medium speed until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. This should take about 5 minutes.

Add the cream cheese to the mix, along with the remainder of the vanilla extract and the orange extract. Beat for another few minutes, until the frosting is smooth and thick.

Let the cakes cool and assemble them

Once the cakes finish baking, take them out of the oven and leave them in their pans for about 15 minutes. Then, transfer them to a wire rack to let them cool completely.

When the cakes are completely cool, you can assemble them. Spread a generous layer of cream cheese frosting on the first cake and place the second cake on top. Then, spread more frosting on the top layer. Decorate the cake with a bit of extra orange zest, if you wish!

Serve and enjoy

Once you finish decorating, you can finally enjoy all your hard work. Slice into the cake, and whether you want a little sliver or a large piece, it's sure to hit the spot. As for serving suggestions? Brookes notes that this is great with "a cup of tea or coffee ... you could also serve [it] with some fresh fruit and ice cream, if desired." 

We don't think you'll have much left over, but if you do, make sure to keep it! "Leftovers should be stored in the fridge in an airtight container where they'll keep for up to 4 days," Brookes shares. "I recommend removing a portion from the fridge about an hour before you want to eat it to let it [return] to room temp."

Orangey Carrot Cake Recipe
5 from 66 ratings
Get the recipe for this double-layer carrot cake, made with orange zest, orange extract, and a delicious cream cheese frosting for an orange flavor you'll love.
Prep Time
Cook Time
orangey carrot cake on plate
Total time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 ⅓ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract (divided)
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 ounces grated carrot
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • ⅔ cup butter (at room temp)
  • 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups cream cheese
  • ¾ teaspoon orange extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease and line two 8-inch round, loose-bottomed baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugars, and 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking to combine after each addition.
  5. Sift the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients and fold everything together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  6. Add the grated carrot and orange zest, and fold again to combine.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the center of a cake comes out clean.
  8. To make the cream cheese frosting, first add the butter to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat for a few minutes, until nice and smooth.
  9. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat on a medium speed until really smooth and fluffy — about 5 minutes.
  10. Add the cream cheese, remaining ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract, and orange extract. Beat for another couple minutes until smooth and thick.
  11. Once the cakes have finished baking, leave them in the pans for about 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Once completely cooled, assemble the layered cake. Spread a generous layer of cream cheese frosting onto the first cake. Place the second cake on top, and spread more frosting on the cake. Decorate with a little orange zest, if desired.
Rate this recipe