Sourdough Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

If you like carrot cake, you will love this one made with sourdough and then topped with a healthier maple syrup cream cheese frosting.

I have always liked carrot cake. I mean, what’s not to love, right? However, when I first made a sourdough carrot cake, my whole family was blown away! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular non-sourdough carrot cake.

Moist and light at the same time, this might become your family’s new favorite carrot cake recipe, too!

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Why you will love this carrot cake recipe

Sometimes you gotta try things -or dishes- to believe it. Trust me on this great recipe!

The addition of sourdough gives this carrot cake such a nice complex, deeper flavor. Actually, all the flavors are playing really well with one another: the earthiness of the carrots, the sweet caramel-like flavor of the maple syrup, the slight tang of the sourdough, the pinch of salt, and if you like the crunch of walnuts.

I also made some substitutions to make this cake healthier. Mainly, I exchanged the white sugar for the maple syrup both in the cake and in the frosting. And carrot cake is always a great way to incorporate veggies into a sweet treat.

If you’ve been following me you might know that I don’t like complicated. I also really don’t like complicated recipes. Why am I saying that?

The best part is that this carrot cake is as uncomplicated as can be. You simply throw all the dry ingredients in a bowl. That can be the bowl of a stand mixer, too. All you do then is add the wet ingredients to it, mix everything up, and bake. Super no fuzz. Just the way I like it!

What are the ingredients for this sourdough carrot cake

The dry ingredients:

  • flour
  • baking powder
  • cinnamon
  • salt

The wet ingredients:

For the frosting:

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Useful tools and equipment

Here are some of my favorite tools for making this sourdough carrot cake:

  • Stand mixer: I love using it because it is quite the amount of batter and it is heavy. My trusty Kitchenaid does a beautiful job mixing it all up but any brand will do.
  • Box grater: I personally don’t mind grating the carrots by hand. If you have a good box grater, you will be able to grate them pretty quickly. However, if you like you can also use a
  • Food processor with the shredding blade: obviously this will make your job a lot easier. If you have one, you might like to use it. Sometimes, though, I think that cleaning everything up afterward takes just as long as grating the carrots by hand. Just my humble opinion.
  • Square glass baking dish: this is my favorite because for this recipe as it makes a fairly high carrot cake. If you like to make it bigger, you can also use a rectangular baking dish. A round springform cake pan would be perfect, too!
  • Handheld mixer: I find that using a handheld mixer for making the frosting gives me better results. If you don’t have one, you can also use your stand mixer for that.

Substitutions and different ingredients

  • Flour: Most of the time, I all-purpose flour here. Wheat or spelt flour works great. You could even use einkorn flour. If you like, you can even use a portion or only whole wheat flour. In that case, decrease the amount by about 1 tablespoon.
  • Maple syrup: you can use both light or darker maple syrup. I always like the latter but it has a deeper flavor. Feel free to use regular white sugar. Since we don’t like our cakes and desserts too sweet, I recommend 1 ½ cup of sugar. Brown sugar or coconut sugar will work fine, as well. For the frosting, I then recommend using 1 cup of powdered sugar (or more to taste).
  • Avocado oil: This oil is my favorite, both because of its clean taste and its health benefits. If you don’t have it, you can absolutely use any vegetable oil. Some people like using olive oil but I am not the biggest fan of the vegetal flavor in this recipe. You can also substitute 1 ½ sticks of butter for the oil.
  • Walnuts: these are completely optional. In the past, I have also used chopped pecans. Some people would rather use raisins or use raisins AND nuts. All this is entirely up to you. If you do use raisins, I suggest about ½ cup.

How to make the carrot cake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚F.
  2. Use a little bit of avocado or coconut oil to grease your baking dish.
  3. Grate the carrots with a box grater or a food processor and set them aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix these dry ingredients well.
  5. To this bowl or a separate large mixing bowl, add the eggs, vanilla extract, maple syrup, avocado oil, sourdough starter, and shredded carrots. Optional: add ½ cup of chopped walnuts. If you’ve mixed the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients.
  6. If you’re using a stand mixer, start it on low speed and then mix on medium speed until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan or dish.
  8. Bake the sourdough carrot cake for 55 – 90 minutes or until an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool down on a wire rack at room temperature before frosting.

How to make the maple syrup cream cheese frosting

  1. Let the cream cheese and maple syrup come to room temperature. This is really important! Otherwise, your frosting will be lumpy. You can also cut the cream cheese into chunks to speed up this process.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese and maple syrup to a medium bowl. Pour the vanilla extract into the bowl.
  3. Either with your stand mixer or a handheld mixer, whip the frosting until it is very soft and uniform.
  4. Keep the frosting in the refrigerator for later.
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How to assemble the sourdough carrot cake

Simply spread the frosting on top of the cooled cake. If your cake is too warm, the frosting will melt and slide around the top.

You can use a silicone spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the cake.

Either serve as is or sprinkle with some additional chopped walnuts.

I usually like this delicious cake much better the next day!

slice of sourdough carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting.
What kind of sourdough starter to use for this carrot cake?

You can either use your sourdough discard or freshly fed sourdough starter. If you’d like to ferment it longer, I recommend using fed sourdough starter.

Do I need to peel the carrots?

No, you don’t need to peel the carrots. Depending on where they come from and how much dirt they have on them, you can simply scrub them until running water.

Can I long-ferment this sourdough carrot cake?

Yes, absolutely! In that case, just mix the sourdough starter, the flour, and the oil. I recommend letting it ferment in your refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Then just add the remaining ingredients right before baking your cake.

How long does this carrot cake keep?

You can easily keep this carrot cake in the fridge for about one week. If you’d like to keep it longer, you can freeze it in an airtight container for about 2-3 months.

plate with sourdough carrot cake

Other sourdough recipes you might like

How to Make a Simple Sourdough Starter

Sourdough Lemon Cake

Cast-Iron Sourdough Waffles

Old-Fashioned Sourdough Skillet Cornbread

Sourdough Crackers

Easy Sourdough Pizza Crust

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Stand mixer

Box grater

Food processor

Square glass baking dish

Handheld mixer

sourdough carrot cake
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4.89 from 9 votes

Sourdough Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

If you like carrot cake, you will love this one made with sourdough and then topped with a maple syrup cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 15 minutes
Cool down time3 hours
Total Time4 hours 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 259kcal
Cost: $ 12

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups maple syrup
  • 1 ¼ cups avocado oil
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350˚F.
  • Use a little bit of avocado or coconut oil to grease your baking dish.
  • Grate the carrots with a box grater or a food processor and set them aside.
  • In a large mixing combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt. Mix these ingredients well.
  • To this bowl or a separate large mixing bowl, the eggs, vanilla extract, maple syrup, avocado oil, sourdough starter, and the shredded carrots. Optional: add chopped walnuts. Mix until all the ingredients are well-incorporated.
  • Pour the cake batter into the greased baking dish.
  • Bake the sourdough carrot cake for about 55 – 90 minutes or until an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool down on a wire rack at room temperature before frosting.
  • Let the cream cheese and maple come to room temperature and put them into a medium bowl. Add the vanilla extract.
  • Either with your stand mixer or a handheld mixer, whip the frosting until it is very soft and uniform.
  • Spread the frosting on the cooled cake.
  • This sourdough carrot cake will taste even better the next day!

Notes

  • you can use either your sourdough discard or fed sourdough starter for this recipe

Nutrition

Calories: 259kcal
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How to Make a Sourdough Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

12 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My husband is a big fan of carrot cake so for his birthday I decided I would make one. Your recipe did not disappoint, It was absolutely delicious! 😍 thank you for sharing.

    1. 5 stars
      Whooops, I’m sorry, I wasn’t finished with my comment yet! I really like your website, and this cake looks amazing! I’m trying to learn how to use sourdough starter myself, and I’ve never thought about using it in a cake before. I’m so intrigued. I pinned your recipe and will try it out! Thank you!!!

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