Carrot Cake with Buttermilk Glaze and Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cake with Buttermilk Glaze and Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting Icing

Wow!  That's a mouthful.  So is this cake.  If you think you have the greatest Carrot Cake recipe in the world, you'd be WRONG!  (unless it's this recipe, of course)

This cake richer than Donald Trump!  It's densely filled with pecans, coconut, crushed pineapple, and carrots.  THEN, when the cake is hot, a buttery glaze is poured over the top to seep into the cake.  After the cake has cooled it is slathered with a cinnamon-cream cheese icing.  

This is Carrot Cake NIRVANA.

Since it's my birthday tomorrow, I have decided to make this for myself.

Last week I received an e-mail from Anthro birthday gifting me with 15% off a single purchase during March.
(the more you spend the more you save).  Also, I received a card in the mail from Sephora birthday gifting me with a cute little lipstick duo.  I showed these two things to the husband that sometimes reads this blog.  I said to him, "do you know what this means?  It MEANS I get ANYTHING I want."

I'm old, menopausal, and on the edge.  He should know not to mess with me.

I found this recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine about 5 years ago.  I knew just from reading the ingredients that it was going to be a keeper.

For the cake you will need:

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbl. sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated peeled carrots
1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 8-oz can crushed pineapple in juice 
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with a non-stick spray OR grease and lightly flour.  Set aside.

Mix the ground cinnamon, baking soda and salt with the flour.

Whisk  or sift...I don't care.

Set aside.

Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl.

Add buttermilk that I make myself now days thanks to The Baltic Maid


and sugar.

Mix until smooth.

Beat in dry ingredients.

Fold in the carrots


 Crushed pineapple.  Do not drain off the juices.

And vanilla because I forgot to put it in with the eggs and sugar.  Pas problem.

Coarsely chop the pecans and notice Sue's dish cloth that she so lovingly crocheted for me in the back ground.

Fold in until well combined.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed.

While the cake is baking prepare the buttermilk glaze.

You will need:

1 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 Tbl light corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium size sauce pan, add the sugar and buttermilk

unsalted butter

Corn syrup

and baking soda.

You know what happens when you combine baking soda and buttermilk, right?

It begins to foam.  Stir like crazy to subside the foaming while cooking over medium heat.

Continue to stir.

Can you see that the glaze is beginning to turn an amber color?  Keep stirring.

When the glaze is a light amber color, remove from the heat.

Stir in the vanilla

This recipe is really similar to the Fat Sauce recipe on my blog.

When the cake comes out of the oven, immediately poke holes all over the top.  I'm using a wooden skewer.

Pour the hot buttermilk glaze all over the top of the hot cake.

Spread evenly.  Let the cake cool completely.

For the Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Icing you will need:

12 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
2 Tbl brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 teaspoons cinnamon

(Do you like the huge mess I made with the confectioners sugar trying to sift it)

Add the cream cheese and butter into a large mixing bowl.

Beat until fluffy.

Add brown sugar


And vanilla.


Add confections sugar and beat until smooth.

I'm getting excited.  Guess who gets to lick the beater??

Spread the icing over the COOLED cake.

I will be so disappointed if you don't lick the spatula.

Rich, dense, amazing.

Do you think anyone will notice that I've been messing with my birthday cake?

I'm going to sneak one more bite.  

Ah, no one will notice the slight imperfections.  The birthday candles alone will cover the entire top of the cake. The bite marks will hardly show.

Carrot Cake with Buttermilk Glaze and Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ + 2 Tbl. Sugar
3 large eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated peeled carrots
1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
1   8-oz can crushed pineapple in juice
1 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1 cup sugar
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup unsalted butter
1 Tbl. Light corn syrup
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ½  8-oz pkgs of cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 TBL. Brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

For Cake:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.  Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Beat sugar, eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla in large bowl until smooth.  Beat in dry ingredients.  Fold in carrots, coconut, pineapple with juice and pecans.  Transfer batter to prepared pan.  Bake 35 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.  Remove from oven.  Using a bamboo skewer, poke deep holes all over cake.

Glaze:  Meanwhile bring first 5 ingredients to boil in large saucepan.  Boil until glaze is a light amber color.  (Glaze will thin out when almost done).  Remove from heat; mix in vanilla.  Spoon hot glaze evenly over warm cake.  Cool cake completely in pan.

Frosting:  Beat cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; beat until blended.  Spread frosting over cooled cake in pan. 

Print this recipe

What I am doing for my birthday??  In this order,
Carrot cake, Lululemon, Lunch with my girls, Carrot cake, Anthro,  Carrot cake, Sephora, more Carrot cake...the end.


  1. Oh my goodness, this looks fabulous! Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is one of my favorite things on this planet, and you've just gone and ramped it up. Happy (early) birthday! I'm totally jealous of your plans-carrot cake, Anthro, and all.

    1. I decided years ago, that if I want a great birthday I had to create it for myself. I hope you try the cake. It's haunting me in my refrigerator.

  2. WOW! I absolutely love the idea of the buttermilk glaze dripping into the cake. And a whopping helping of cinnamon-cream cheese icing doesn't sound bad either! I pinned this recipe, can't wait to try it out!

    1. Thanks for pinning me! Let me know what you think of the cake. I think I forgot to mention how great it is on top of Oatmeal in the morning :)

  3. wow..that is amazing cake..i too have a carrot cake in my blog, similar to this, but i don't do the buttermilk glaze..will try that too...


    1. Thank you Aarthi. I will try your carrot cake. Thank you for the birthday wishes.

  4. Kota Venter3/7/12, 11:18 PM

    hi There, we share a birthday! And I am going to try and make you tiramisu cake, the one with the ribbon tied aroud. This looks great as well.
    Have a great day!
    Kota Venter
    South Africa

    1. Happy Birthday. I hope you love your cake. I'm happy to share my birthday with you.

  5. Janet, I hope you have a fabulous birthday. You certainly have a fabulous blog. This is my first visit to your site, so I took some time browsing through your earlier recipes. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    1. I'm so glad you found me, Mary. Thank you for your kind comment.

  6. Happy birthday!! I now want to make this cake for my birthday, too!

    1. It's a fabulous way to blow a diet on your birthday.

  7. Happy Birthday! Your cake looks amazing and did you know that on your birthday there are no calories!

  8. Happy Birthday, Janet. I hope you're having a fun day. You have a great blog!

    1. Thank you Deanna. I did have a great day with my grand daughters and a lot of carrot cake. You are so sweet.

  9. I made this cake today. It was very good although a bit too sweet (I guess from the glaze). I forgot to add raisins to the cake, and my mom was disappointed about that haha. We always add raisins to carrot cake. I also made a nut version for my mom (in a loaf pan) and a nutless version for me (in a 8x8 pan). When I make this again, I plan to omit the glaze to compare the results. Thank you so much for this recipe and the clear photos. I followed this recipe almost exactly (I never add pineapples, and I didn't sift the powdered sugar). I look forward to eating another piece tomorrow. Thanks again!

    1. Being a great cook is all about taking a recipe and "tweaking" it to your liking. My dad loves raisins in his carrot cake too, but he seems content with the pineapple replacement. You are right it is sweet and rich. Omitting the glaze will also omit about 1,000 calories :) Thank you for your comments and great ideas.

    2. I had to come back to tell you that the next day, the cake tasted even better!! My mom, grandmother, 3 aunts, cousin, and I went crazy over much so, that they requested for another cake. So, today, I made another batch of cakes (2 8x8s - one with raisins and nuts and one without). My cousin has been begging to eat the cake all day, and I had to tell her to wait for it to cool before I could add the frosting. In fact, she is bugging and begging me as I type now for some cake. I guess I'll close this comment to serve her some cake. Thanks! This recipe is now my go-to for carrot cake!

      P.S. I made half of the glaze recipe (it tasted as cloyingly sweet the next day), and it was more than enough for both 8x8s. Thanks again!

    3. I have to agree with it getting better with age. I just ate the last of my cake from last week. I went to a doctor appointment and found out that I have to wear a boot on my foot for 4-6 weeks. I sat with the cake dish in my lap and cried while eating the remaining carrot cake. It's fabulous a week out, if you can get it to last that long.

      Thank you for the tip on half of the glaze. I'll try it.

  10. Brenda Edwards3/10/12, 12:16 PM

    Are you ok with me pinning this recipe? This looks amazingly good! Great photos by the way! Thanks!

  11. Happy belated Birthday!!! I hope you had a wonderful day! This cake looks absolutely delicious!
    P.S. Glad to hear someone else loves homemade buttermilk!!! :-) Thanks for the link!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. The cake looks wonderful and I'm sure it made your birthday even better. I am new to your blog and have been browsing through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    1. Thank you, Mary. I had a fabulous day and yes the carrot cake added. I'm so glad you found my blog. Come back anytime.

  13. Happy Belated Bday! Hope it was wonderful. So sorry to hear about the boot...I guess that means no running for a while? Just wondering where you got that high-tech mixing attachment for your kitchen aid? It looks like something I need for sure :)


    1. That means no spring marathon's for me. I probably won't be running for a couple more months. ugh!. Anyway I bought my attachment through Amazon. It's amazing. It scrapes down the sides of the bowl while mixing. I think it was around $25. I love it. Worth the investment.

  14. Hi Janet
    I stumbled on your excellent Blog on the Stumbleupon site. It was the beautiful visuals of the bread recipe that grabbed me! Lovely, clear, well lit photos - makes me want to eat the food. I'll definitely make the bread.

    1. I'm so glad you found me. I hope you keep coming back. Thank you for such a positive comment. Keep them coming.

  15. OMG! Happy Belated Birthday!!! When we move into our new home,this is the first cake recipe I am going to try!! Love it!!!

    1. This carrot cake would be the perfect housewarming treat. I hope you love it!

  16. Hi...making this and only have 1/2 cup of coconut..what can I substitute for the other cup for an ingredient. I hope u read your comme ts still. Peace, Glo

  17. Janet,
    Thank-you for taking the time to share such beautiful photos. I have made so many of your recipes and have loved them all. I think the slab apple pie might be my favorite but this carrot cake was over the top. Do you think it would work as a two layer cake? I am making the hazelnut cupcakes this weekend and ordered the hazelnut praline for it last week... They look really good. Many thanks.... Niamh (Neev), Los Angeles.

    1. Thank you for your kind comment. This carrot cake is divine. I do think it would work for a layer cake. Just divide the sauce between the two round pans. There is enough icing to cover a layer cake. You'll LOVE the hazelnut cupcakes. You have made my day. Best of luck to you and happy baking.

  18. I have tried many of your recipes and enjoyed them all! You where right this is the best carrot cake, and was a big hit at work. Thank you for all the work you put into your blog- I especially love your personal comments!

  19. Where did you purchase you 9x13 white baking dish ? How deep is it ? Thank you/ Mel in Montreal

    1. I bought it from Macy's department store. It's a Martha Stewart Whiteware oven to table. It's available on the Macy's site. Approx. $25 usd

  20. Great recipe, however my kids are not fond of pineapple - any suggestions as to what I could possibly replace the pineapple with ? Many thanks !

    1. Just omit the pineapple. You could replace the crushed pineapple with 1/4 cup pineapple juice. I think orange juice could be used as well.