Carrot Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

A close up of a piece of carrot coffee cake on a plate,

Carrot Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze ~ it’s not just an excuse to eat carrot cake for breakfast (ok maybe it is) but it’s also a fresh take on a classic dessert, with a buttery streusel topping and a sweet, tangy glaze. Brunch anyone?

carrot coffee cake with glaze

Usher in the change of seasons with a moist carrot coffee cake

When I think of brunch, I automatically think spring, and this carrot cake with its cheery golden hue and bright tangy cream cheese drizzle is made for those first kinda warm/kinda chilly days of March. Make it now for the gang at the office, and make it again for Easter brunch. Then keep making it just because it’s become your favorite way to start the day.

carrot coffee cake, sliced

I can do without dessert any day of the week, but wave a sweet breakfast treat under my nose and I’ll follow you anywhere. This one is easy to make, and will impress everyone with its originality.

Be sure to grate your carrots fresh ~ no bagged shreds, please!

Look for young carrots with the tops attached for best, sweetest flavor. You can shred them with the shredding blade of a food processor, but a box grater works fine. Just watch those knuckles.

carrot coffee cake with drizzled glaze

The batter for this breakfast cake starts out like any other cake, by creaming butter and sugar together, and then beating in the eggs. A little brown sugar deepens the flavor and brings out that classic ‘carrot cake’ vibe, but the hefty amount of shredded carrots and walnuts are earthy and keep it from feeling too dessert-y. The result is a cake that is rich but not too sweet to serve with morning coffee or tea. (Don’t worry, you’ll get a nice hit of that tangy cream cheese glaze in every bite.)

slicing a piece of carrot coffee cake

This cake has Easter morning written all over it, or any other spring fling you’ve got on your calendar this season, for that matter. Because it’s a moist cake, you can safely make it the day before.

To make ahead:

  • You can make the cake a day ahead. Be sure to let it cool completely before wrapping.
  • Plan to glaze the cake on the day you’d like to serve it.

Variations on this carrot cake

  • add shredded coconut
  • use pecans instead of walnuts
  • add golden raisins
  • use a gluten free baking mix instead of all purpose flour
  • make it Passover friendly with a mixture of almond flour and matzo meal. Omit the leavening.

A slice of carrot coffee cake with a fork.

More spring brunch ideas ~




A close up of a piece of carrot coffee cake on a plate,
4.67 from 33 votes

Carrot Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Carrot Coffee Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze ~ it's not just an excuse to eat carrot cake for breakfast (ok maybe it is) but it's also a fresh take on a classic dessert, with a buttery streusel topping and a sweet, tangy glaze.  Brunch anyone?
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Author Sue Moran


For the cake

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk (or half and half)
  • 2 cups grated carrot, lightly packed
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

For the streusel topping

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 pinch salt

For the cream cheese glaze

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a few tablespoons milk to thin


  • Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9 inch round springform pan.
  • Make the streusel topping by adding all the ingredients except the chopped walnuts to a bowl and mix by hand until the butter is mixed in and clumps form. Add the walnuts and mix briefly. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and both sugars for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at at a time, letting each one get fully incorporated.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Add the spices and the baking powder, and mix to combine. Then, with the mixer running, add the flour in a couple stages, alternating with the milk.
  • Give the batter a final stir by hand, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl well, and fold in the grated carrot and the chopped walnuts.
  • Spread the batter into your prepared pan, and top with the streusel topping.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes until risen and starting to brown slightly on the top, or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes or so in the pan, then release it and allow it to cool completely before topping with the glaze.
  • To make the glaze, add the softened cream cheese and powdered sugar to a bowl along with about a tablespoon of milk, and whisk to combine. It's important for the cream cheese to be very soft so that you can whisk it easily here.
  • Add the vanilla, salt, and continue whisking, adding a bit more milk as necessary until the consistency is pourable but still thick.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

carrot coffee cake pin

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    K. Luna
    May 12, 2022 at 10:58 am

    5 stars
    Made this for a baby shower and it was a huge hit! I am not a fan of carrot cake, but this was delicious with the added streusel and the drizzle of cream cheeses frosting. I did use an 11 x 7″ glass baking dish and it worked just fine.

  • Reply
    Karen (Back Road Journal)
    March 21, 2022 at 12:36 pm

    While I love carrot cake with the traditional cream cheese frosting, I really like the idea of your coffee cake with the cream cheese glaze. Not quite so many calories but with all the flavor.

  • Reply
    April 11, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    5 stars
    Made this for weekend breakfast with sister . It was go good. Really thought the large amount of crumble would be to much but it wasn’t so use it all I used a cream cheese pan . Was so moist .will make again

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