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
    March 14, 2021 at 10:15 am

    5 stars
    My friends insisted I tell you how they enjoyed this cake. With every bite they. took, all I heard was “This is the Best”. They also had a piece to take home. (After I got mine). I didn’t change the recipe at all, It is really easy to make.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2021 at 2:10 pm

    5 stars
    Another great recipe! I know my friends are going to love it. Want to make the apple jam soon.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 13, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      You’re a super fan Joan! Thanks for the nice feedback 🙂

  • Reply
    January 15, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    how should I store leftovers and for how long?

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 11:56 am

    5 stars
    This is a perfect breakfast/brunch cake. Everyone at work loved it. Do you think you could divide the batter into 2 6” cake pans?

  • Reply
    April 12, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    3 stars
    The cake is delicious. My problem was the streusel fell to the bottom of the cake. The cake looked undercooked because of this but was not. I googled what causes this but did not get a definitive answer.

  • Reply
    Jennifer Fletcher
    March 14, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Sue, You did it again! Another perfect cake!
    I added Philadelphia’s new (to Australia anyway) lemon cream cheese frosting, diluted with milk, as a quick cheat and it worked well. I had to omit the walnuts as my son is allergic, but it was perfectly delicious and had a “great crumb.”

    • Reply
      March 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm

      I love your creative cheat! Glad you liked it Jennifer.

    • Reply
      November 4, 2020 at 6:38 am

      Hey Jennifer,

      Did you change anything in the recipe because you removed the walnuts?

  • Reply
    March 10, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Hi, Sue! This looks delicious! I’ve never baked with grated carrots before. Do I need to squeeze out excess moisture before using? Or, just grate and measure? Thanks!

    • Reply
      March 10, 2020 at 11:53 am

      No, just grate them and use as is.

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    March 9, 2020 at 4:09 pm

    5 stars
    So perfect for Easter brunch Sue! I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Reply
    Pat Marrion
    March 9, 2020 at 9:32 am

    My favorite carrot cake has crushed pineapple (well drained) added, do you think I could do that with tis recipe?

    • Reply
      March 9, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Funny you should ask, I had the same temptation, but thought it would make the cake too moist. You might try some well drained crushed pineapple in place of some of the carrots. Please report back if you try 🙂

  • Reply
    March 9, 2020 at 9:09 am

    5 stars
    I would love to make this to ship to a friend of mine. How long (days) would this be good for? She should get it few days if sent via UPS.

    • Reply
      March 9, 2020 at 9:25 am

      I’m conservative when it comes to shipping cakes, and since this one has a cream cheese glaze, it would not be advisable to keep it at room temperature for more than a couple of hours.

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