Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttercream Flowers and Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Cakes, Desserts, Holiday, Spring

It’s Easter this Sunday. As a child, we were not Easter Basket people. We went to church for mass and that was it. We always had a nice meal but my mother didn’t believe in treating that day as a day for gifts and money. As a child, I didn’t even know what I was missing. I talk to my friends now and they all got money, candy, baskets, Easter eggs full of cool stuff. WTF, mom?!?!

I was not a deprived child so I can’t really complain at all. I really can’t. One thing that I always loved when spring time came around was carrot cake. I think my mom would buy it from this local Italian market and theirs was SO good and fluffy.

Years ago, when I first started baking, I made a recipe from Southern Living and it was incredible. Since then, I’ve made other versions and frankly, they just weren’t that good. So this recipe is basically theirs but with more spices, walnuts instead of pecans and more salt.

And the directions have been rewritten to be a bit more streamlined. But I can’t say a bad thing about the recipe. I didn’t know how to improve it—I tried. We made this thinking we would be like oh we definitely have to make it more moist, we definitely have to change this or that.

The frosting is brown butter cream cheese frosting, inspired by this brown butter frosting but this time with cream cheese. It was glorious. The nutty brown butter with the tart cream cheese was a splendid win.

I hope this makes its way onto a table or two this Spring because it is goooood.


I made these buttercream flowers and yes, it took me like two years. More like an hour or two. And it was incredibly therapeutic and I loved every second of it.

Here are a few videos that were super helpful:
Wilton Buttercream Roses
Wilton Buttercream Succulents (the ones I used start at 2:02 minutes)

I also posted a how-to on my Highlights in my profile on Instagram. You’ll need to open the app of Insta to see it.

More supplies:
Wilton #104 Tip (this is for the buttercream flowers)
Wilton #113 (for the leaves – these are so easy!)
Piping Bags
Americolor Food Coloring Gels

Carrot Sheet Cake with Buttercream Flowers and Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 1 vote
Carrot cake sheet cake that is perfectly moist, speckled with walnuts and fresh, grated carrots. Topped with brown butter cream cheese frosting. 
Keywordbrown butter, buttercream, carrot cake, carrot sheet cake, spring recipes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Serving Size: 1 (9x13-inch) sheet cake
Calories: 350kcal


Carrot Cake Dry Mix:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg, if using dried nutmeg, use 1/2 teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Carrot Cake Wet Mix:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Buttercream for Flowers

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Food gel coloring


To Make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. I also like to line my baking pan with a parchment just to make sure nothing sticks.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ginger. Set the dry mixture aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the butter, white sugar and brown sugar; beat until nice and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the oil and eggs. Beat until combined.
  • Alternating between the buttermilk and the dry mix, add them to the butter mixture, until just combined. Lastly, add the carrots and walnuts and mix until thoroughly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and transfer to the oven to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool before adding the frosting.

To Make the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Cube up 1/2 cup of the butter (1 stick). In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, add the cubed butter. Once it’s melted, it will begin to foam up and bubble a bit. Allow it to cook until you begin to see lightly browned specks beginning to form. Give it a stir and cook until it’s browned. You should also start to smell its nutty aroma. Pour it in a freezer-safe bowl and stir to cool it down.
  • Transfer it to the freezer to chill, for about 5 minutes. We want it to be around room temperature butter. After it gets to that room temperature butter-firmness (it can be a bit softer—that’s ok), transfer it to the bowl of a stand-up mixer (or bowl using an electric mixer). Add the cream cheese and beat until smooth.
  • Sift in the powdered sugar and add the vanilla extract, salt and heavy cream. Beat the frosting for about 3 minutes. The fluffiness from the heavy cream really lightens up this frosting so be sure to beat it for the full 3 minutes. If the frosting is too loose, feel free to transfer it to the fridge to chill for about 10 minutes. Then beat it one last time.

To Make the Buttercream for the Flowers:

    To Assemble the Cake:

    • Pour all of the frosting on the cooled sheet cake and spread it around, creating cute swoops as you go. Top it with whatever you like! I piped out buttercream roses, see below for notes! Cake will stay moist for about 3 days when wrapped properly.
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  • Avatar
    Reply Helena March 26, 2018 at 2:20 am

    It looks very appetizing cake. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Avatar
    Reply Abby @ Heart of a Baker March 26, 2018 at 10:46 am

    My DREAM is to make roses that pretty! I’m all about the desserts on Easter, so I’m 10000% into this.

  • Avatar
    Reply Tina Morrow March 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for your perfect timing on this post!! My twenty-five-year son is coming home for a long Easter weekend visit and requested carrot cake with cream cheese frosting so this is ideal. I adore brown butter anything and can’t wait to give this a try!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 27, 2018 at 7:53 am

      aww that’s so sweet–please let me know how it goes! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Jessica March 26, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Well this looks amazing, those flowers are worth it! Also- would this cake recipe work well for cupcakes?

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 27, 2018 at 7:58 am

      Yes this can totally make cupcakes. I would think it would make 24 cupcakes and they’ll probably take 20 to 25 minutes to bake! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Christina (North Coast Eats) March 26, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    Gorgeous! I make carrot cake every year for my grandma’s birthday, I can’t wait to try this.

  • Avatar
    Reply Julia March 27, 2018 at 1:44 am

    thank you for very interesting post, dear!

  • Avatar
    Reply Jenn March 27, 2018 at 2:24 am

    If I need to omit the nuts, is there anything I should substitute? Thanks!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 27, 2018 at 7:48 am

      Nope! You should be totally fine with simply leaving them out. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Heather March 27, 2018 at 9:01 am

    This is so so beautiful – I am not much of a baker but I saved this on my pinterest because looking at it makes me that happy!

  • Avatar
    Reply Ricki Jill Treleaven March 27, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    All I can say is wow. You had me at brown butter, but combined with the cream cheese sounds brilliant! Your flowers are stunning, BTW….no more foreskin on your cake (I know that sounds so wrong, but the flowers are really pretty…send photos of them to your friend!)

  • Avatar
    Reply Kristy March 27, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Would I be able to make this recipe in an 8×8 or 9×9 square pan? Would love to make it, but not cooking for too many people this Easter. Thanks!! xoxo

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 30, 2018 at 8:46 am

      I would halve the recipe and add it to an 8×8. Should work out great! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply paige March 28, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Do you think this would be ok if I used gluten free or almond flour to replace the regular flour? My mom’s birthday is on Easter but she is gluten free- would love to make a GF version of her favorite cake!!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 30, 2018 at 8:45 am

      almond flour won’t work–the consistencies are totally different. but a gluten-free flour mix should work just fine! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Lori March 31, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    Those flowers are beautiful! Also, your Cadbury Egg Skillet Cookie is cooling in my kitchen right now. I’m glad you linked to it in a post earlier this month to remind me about it

  • Avatar
    Reply Courtney Pickard March 31, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    When do you add the spices to the frosting? When you sift in the powdered sugar?

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme April 2, 2018 at 8:49 am

      ahh sorry about that! yes, you can add it with the powdered sugar.

      • Avatar
        Reply Courtney Pickard April 2, 2018 at 3:47 pm

        Thanks! I made it for Easter and it was a huge hit of course. The frosting with the whipping cream was such a great idea. It really transformed how well the frosting held up. Thank you as always Adrianna! Here are pics from the cake yesterday:

  • Avatar
    Reply Emmi April 5, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    Will this batter work… in an 8” X 11” pan?
    I like a tall cakes.
    Little less surface area like the 9 X 13 pan, but it will make it thicker.

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme April 6, 2018 at 8:06 am

      You can certainly try it. I would discourage making it thicker. It’s not a super thin cake and when there’s too much batter in a pan, it makes it dry in some areas and over-baked…

  • Avatar
    Reply Jen Jen April 8, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    This cake is absolutely delicious! It’s everything carrot cake should be. I’m so happy there’s a mixture of oil and eggs in the batter. It makes the cake perfectly moist. The frosting isn’t as light as I expected but it’s so good I don’t even care. I’m going to re-whip it in the morning before I frost the rest of my cupcakes and hope that lightens it a bit. I’m saving this one as my go to for carrot cake. Great job Adrianna!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme April 8, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      YAY! Awesome. Yeah, the frosting is a bit decadent because of the cream cheese so it’s definitely a thicker frosting, for sure. Next time if you want a lighter frosting, you can always pair the cake part with this brown butter buttercream recipe that I have. It’s definitely lighter and fluffier. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Emmi April 16, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    Love this recipe.
    Replaced the buttermilk and the heavy cream using Non- fat Greek yogurt. Worked out great. Would recommend trying it.

  • Avatar
    Reply kristin April 23, 2018 at 5:15 am

    gorgeous flowers!

  • Avatar
    Reply Mafer April 25, 2018 at 4:23 am

    Hi!! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Where I can find the butter cream recipe for the flowers? Thanks

  • Avatar
    Reply Natalie Ellis May 1, 2018 at 11:58 pm

    The frosting flowers are artistic indeed!
    Every second is completely worth!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Sally B May 3, 2018 at 9:08 am

    How should you store this cake if making a day ahead of time? would it be best to fridge it? or leave on the counter? should a cream cheese-based frosting be refrigerated?

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme May 6, 2018 at 9:53 pm

      Hi! sorry for not replying to this sooner! So you can make this cake, let it cool to room temperature and then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap. I would make the frosting ahead and put it in a store-tight container and stick it in the fridge. You can assemble it the day of. 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply EJ June 26, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    5 stars
    love those plates

  • Avatar
    Reply Ellinor September 23, 2018 at 2:44 am

    5 stars
    Curious which of the food colors from the kit you used; the insta video looked like you added black to a pink and an orange?

  • Avatar
    Reply Kristen October 10, 2018 at 4:51 am

    5 stars
    Honestly, makes the fluffiest cake. The frosting is so tantalisingly decadent – specks of brown butter and cinnamon top this carrot cake perfectly. Will recommend to everyone, this is, AMAZING

  • Avatar
    Reply Vanessa March 20, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    5 stars
    Could this recipe handle adding the traditional pineapple as well? Or would there need to be a revision?

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme March 21, 2019 at 11:30 am

      I don’t see why not. It might add a bit of moisture to it but should be fine!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kristin July 6, 2019 at 9:16 am

    I was asked to bring a carrot sheet cake to a party, if I double the recipe would that work? I didn’t know if it’d possibly be too thin? Thanks!!
    This looks beautiful and I can tell from the comments will be a hit!

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