Make Ahead Carrot Sheet Cake


Cheese and carb combos are amazing and it’s especially exciting in the dessert form of Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.  I threw a surprise birthday party last weekend (I promise I’ll stop talking about it soon!) and with so much to prep I wanted an easy cake I could make ahead of time.


This cake can be made up to three days in advance, frosted, in the fridge and ready to go.  I only did one layer (if you have time… double the recipe and stack up a couple layers!) which was plenty for this party alongside this Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Bark.  I made the cake on Friday for a Sunday party and it was still moist and delicious!


You’ll need:


  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 0.25 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 0.25 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 0.25 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.25 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 0.75 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups freshly grated carrots

For Simple Syrup:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

For Frosting:

  • 0.5 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


To Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9X13 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper.  Butter parchment paper.
  2. Toast walnuts for 7 minutes on a rimmed baking sheet then toss with the tablespoon of butter.  The heat of the walnuts will melt the butter.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the carrots and walnuts.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  5. While the cake is baking make your simple syrup.  Combine the sugar and water in a pan over medium heat until it runs clear.  Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese.  Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until combined (you can add a little at a time to avoid a mess).
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.  Invert the cake onto a cake board (or whatever you plan to serve the cake on) lined with parchment paper that you can easily remove after you frost the cake.  Drizzle over the simple syrup (you don’t need to use it all just a few tablespoons over the top), this will keep the cake moist especially if you are making the cake in advance.  Let cake cool completely, two hours.
  8. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake (crumb coating).  It doesn’t need to be pretty.  Let chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of cake.  Garnish with the remaining walnuts.  Remove the parchment paper.  You can keep in the fridge, frosted, for up to three days.

Inspired by FoodandWine


3 thoughts on “Make Ahead Carrot Sheet Cake

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