Carrot Cake 2 Ways

Layer Cake or Cupcakes Two Ways With A Southern Tradition

A Southern Tradition

In the South. We love to celebrate. Birthdays, holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays. We don’t really need a reason. We just do! And one of our favorite cakes (and cupcakes) can usually be found at most Southern Springtime Celebrations.  The traditional Southern Carrot cake and Southern Carrot Cupcakes; chocked full of so much goodness from carrots, nuts, pineapple and nuts you could almost let yourself believe you’re eating something healthy!  The Hummingbird Cake, deemed Southern Living’s most popular ever recipe, makes its appearance this time of year, but my love has always been Carrot Cake !    I’ve included two really delicious variations on this marvel of ingenuity from the southern kitchen and I can’t really tell you which is my favorite.  Try them both!  Let me know which one you like the best. The recipes are fairly interchangeable, though you’ll need to watch your cook times and you’ll likely only get a couple layers from the cupcake recipe if you convert it to a traditional cake. I made the cake this time with only two layers using the original recipe from my Aunt Bette, and I can tell ya, its just divine. So any way you do it. JUST DO IT!

Southern Carrot Cupcakes

Southern Carrot Cupcakes
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: carrot cake cupcakes
Servings: 24
Author: Debbie


  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract divided
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Small pinch of ground cloves
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 8 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh coconut shaved and toasted for garnish if desired or
  • Finely Chopped Nuts for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, apple sauce,
  • sugars and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
  • Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt,
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and small pinch of ground cloves.
  • Stir in carrots.
  • Fold in pecans.
  • Pour into muffin tin lined with beautiful paper or foil
  • liners.
  • Fill each liner 3/4 full.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20min.
  • Let cupcakes cool completely.
  • Frosting:
  • In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
  • Pile the frosting high on the cooled cupcakes and garnish with the toasted coconut or nuts if desired.

Traditional Southern Carrot Cake

Traditional Southern Carrot Cake
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Carrot Cake

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Keyword: Carrot cake, Southern carrot cake
Servings: 1 cake
Author: Debbie


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 none 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 none 3 1/2-ounce can flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Southern Buttermilk Glaze

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick salted butter room temperature
  • 1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.
  • Place oven rack on middle guide and preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Stir together first 4 dry ingredients.
  • Beat eggs , sugar, oil and buttermilk at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. (DON'T OVERMIX)
  • Fold in carrot and pineapple, coconut and nuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, on the middle rack or until a toothpick comes out clean

Meanwhile. Make The Glaze

  • Bring baking soda, buttermilk, butter and corn syrup to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
  • Drizzle cakes with Glaze mixture
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack

To Make The Frosting

  • Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  • Fold in Nuts
  • On a cake plate assemble layers, spreading frosting on each one as you stack
  • Spread frosting on sides and top of cake
  • Garnish if you wish with more nuts or fresh toasted coconut


This cake can be made in two 8 inch pans , you'll need to adjust your cooking time and be careful to not overfill the pans. You might need to trim your layers.


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  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef March 31, 2015 at 2:50 am

    5 stars
    I love carrot cake but I’ve never ever made carrot cake cupcakes. I always went for the cake because it has two layers of frosting. :) I should grow up and make cupcakes.

    • Debbie March 31, 2015 at 8:18 am

      I love cake. There I said it! Cupcakes are great for kids and for a quick bite, but cake! what’s not to love?

  • Sue May 13, 2015 at 12:47 am

    I’ll have a slice thank you it looks yummy. I love carrot cake and your pics your tempting. Thanks for sharing on #AnythingGoes Link UP.

    • Debbie May 15, 2015 at 8:49 am

      Thanks for stopping by! Carrot Cake is surely my fave!

  • Eleanor Prior June 10, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    5 stars
    Thank you for stopping by The Wine Wednesday Blog Hop and sharing this #nomalicious Carrot Cake. – Eleanor

    • Debbie June 10, 2015 at 11:28 pm

      My guilty pleasure for summer and spring. Even the cupcakes are nom nom nom.

  • Tina Marie June 11, 2015 at 8:43 am

    Yum! This looks amazing! I really enjoy carrot cake. I switch mine up with gluten-free flour and use macadamia nuts.
    Stopping over from Wine Wednesday Blog Hop #39

    • Debbie June 11, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Thanks for dropping by and that’s a great substitution!