Layered Applesauce Carrot Cake

Layered Applesauce Carrot Cake


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This layer carrot cake is loaded with beautiful spice flavor everyone loves. It’s soft and moist yet completely satisfying. Filled with shredded carrots, toasted pecans, and delicious cream cheese frosting, it’s an instant classic!

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Time needed

30 min preparation + 1 hour cooking

Serving Size / Yield

12 servings


  • For the Cake:
  • 3 C. chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 C. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. granulated sugar
  • 1 C. vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 C. smooth unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2 C. grated carrots
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 C. confectioners' sugar
  • 3 T. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • salt

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Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped pecans on the sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Turn the oven up to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together until combined. Set aside. In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold the ingredients together until just combined. Then, fold in the carrots and 1 C. of the toasted pecans. Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. To make the frosting, in a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together for 2 minutes on medium speed until smooth. Add the confectioners’ sugar and 2 T. of cream. Beat for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and 1 more T. cream if needed to thin out. Beat on high for 2 full minutes. Taste the frosting and add a pinch of salt if it is too sweet. To assemble and frost, use a large serrated knife to layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Decorate the sides of the cake with the remaining toasted pecans. Slice and serve.

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