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Close up of three layer carrot cake with white frosting.

Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A combination of pumpkin cake and carrot cake - A moist and flavorful layer cake filled with carrots, pumpkin, and warm spices and finished with tangy cream cheese frosting. A beautiful dessert for Thanksgiving or any fall occasion.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 539kcal



  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ⅓ cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • cup vegetable or canola oil
  • cup crushed pineapple drained
  • 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots see note)
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 12 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2-4 teaspoons milk
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease two or three 9-inch cake pans, and line the bottoms with a round of parchment.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.
  • With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat buttermilk, eggs, pumpkin, sugars, oil, pineapple, carrots, and coconut until well combined. Slowly add flour mixture, beating until the flour is fully incorporated in the wet ingredients. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans (see note).
  • If using two cake pans, bake for approximately 35 minutes. If using three cake pans, bake for 25-28 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool completely.


  • Beat cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract for several minutes, until smooth and creamy. Add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
  • Using a butter knife or offset spatula, frost the cooled cake. Press chopped walnuts onto the sides of the cake. Transfer to the refrigerator for several hours before serving.



This cake is made in 9 inch pans not 8 inch pans (see below). The batter will overflow in 8 inch pans. When placing the batter in the cake pans, make sure that it is evenly divided. To do this, I use a 1 cup measure and scoop the batter into each pan, a cup at a time, until they are evenly filled.
Only have 8 inch pans? You can still make this cake, just don't put all the batter into the pans. Fill your pans about halfway full and use any remaining batter to make cupcakes. Adjust cooking time accordingly.
I use the medium or fine holes on a box grater to grate the carrots.
Because this cake is so moist, I like to store it in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from Very Best Baking


Calories: 539kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 3675IU | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 1.7mg