Apricot Carrot Cake with Honey Cream Frosting

Apricot-Carrot Cake with Honey Cream Frosting

We gave the traditional carrot cake a fruity update, adding chopped, dried apricots in with the carrots and toasted pecans. A generous slathering of (our honeyed take on the) classic cream cheese frosting coats each perfectly-spiced layer.

5.0 from 4 reviews
Apricot Carrot Cake
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
  • 1 cup (128 grams) dried unsulphured apricots, finely chopped
  • 2¼ cups (281 grams) plus 1 teaspoon (3 grams) all-purpose flour, divided
  • 5 large eggs (250 grams), room temperature
  • 2⅓ cups (467 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (224 grams) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons (4 grams) ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounces (2¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons) (284 grams) shredded carrot
  • 1 cup (113 grams) toasted and chopped pecans
  • Honey Cream Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: chopped pecans, fresh carrots
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Spray 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
  2. In a small bowl, toss together apricots and 1 teaspoon (3 grams) flour. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to medium. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, beating until combined, 3 to 5 minutes. (This step should be done very slowly to ensure that the eggs do not deflate or seize up.)
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and remaining 2¼ cups (281 grams) flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture. Fold in carrot, pecans, and apricots. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  6. Spread Honey Cream Frosting between layers. To create a rustic, “naked” look, spread Honey Cream Frosting on top and thinly on sides of cake. Garnish with pecans and carrots, if desired. Store covered in refrigerator. (This cake needs to be kept cold in order to hold it’s shape.)

5.0 from 4 reviews
Honey Cream Frosting
Makes about 3 cups
  • 16 ounces (450 grams) cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces (112 grams) mascarpone cheese
  • 3 tablespoons (63 grams) honey
  • 2 cups (240 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and mascarpone at medium speed until creamy. Scrape sides of bowl, and reduce mixer speed to low. Add honey, beating until combined. Gradually add confectioner’s sugar, beating until smooth. Use immediately.


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  1. Regarding Apricot Carrot Cake…Where is the Baking Powder ??? I saw the Baking soda but no baking powder. How does the cake rise so it’s lite & fluffy. Please explain. Thank You.
    Joseph Falcone

    • Hi Joseph!
      Thanks for reaching out. When the basic properties of baking soda mix with the acidic properties of the apricots, the baking soda works to neutralize the acid and this is what causes the air bubbles (carbon dioxide) that leaven the baked good.That is why we don’t call for baking powder. The cake has been tested and it rises, we promise!

  2. This recipe is wonderful. I was planning a birthday carrot cake, so I tried this out first as cupcakes for my coworkers. I got responses such as “best cupcake I’ve ever had” and “best thing I’ve ever eaten,” so I knew I could go ahead with the plan for the full cake. I did, and it was received with the same enthusiasm. Excellent recipe. I’ve passed it on to a friend and will certainly bake it again. Thank you!

    Here are a couple of small things I did differently: I added dried cranberries, increased the amounts of the spices, and made the frosting with Amarula instead of honey (I got a bottle in a White Elephant exchange once, and I have about two occasions a year when I can use it, so I figured I might as well. It added a lovely flavor accent to the frosting that complemented the cake very well.).

  3. Amazing cake! It’s the first time I’ve made a cake and it turned out like the photo you have up there (although I’m not so good at icing!!) I substituted pecans for roasted chestnuts as I don’t like pecans – the texture is slightly different but it works well with this cake. The honey icing is delicious – I didn’t have any mascarpone so substituted it for sour cream and it was delicious.

  4. This is the perfect carrot cake and has my favorite icing of all too. I wasn’t going to make a carrot cake but now I’m feeling like I must. It looks delicious….

    • Hi Jeanne,

      Absolutely! You would want to either divide the batter into two 8 inch pans for thinner layers, or just use a single 8-inch pan, being careful not to fill the pan more than 3/4 full. Also note that bake times may vary. Happy baking!

  5. This has to be THE BEST carrot cake I have ever had! I first made it months ago, and it was love at first bite & every bite thereafter. Since though, I’ve gone gf. I tried to find a recipe I liked, that was gf and that also didn’t involve having to hunt down a whole bunch of ingredients that weren’t readily available.
    In the end, I came back to this one and decided to on a whim, subsitute gf flour for regular ap flour…and it worked perfectly.
    Once the layers had cooled, the tops were a little ‘papery’ and it wasn’t as light when cutting through it, but it was the same cake…just as tasty and wonderful. Good thing too, because this year it served as my birthday cake!


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