Modern Manna Recipe / Honey Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe from Gil Marks' upcoming book American Cakes.

10 to 12 servings

Makes two 9-inch rounds, one 13- by 9-inch cake, or one 10-inch bundt or tube cake


2 cups all-purpose flour, or 1¼ cups all-purpose flour and ¾ cup whole wheat flour (8.5 ounces/245 grams/480 ml)

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (10 ml)

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger (or ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground ginger and ¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) grated nutmeg)

1 teaspoon baking powder (5 ml)

1 teaspoon baking soda (5 ml)

1 teaspoon salt (5 ml)

1½ cups honey (18 ounces/510 grams/360 ml)

¾ cup peanut or vegetable oil (5.75 ounces/160 grams/180 ml)

4 large eggs, lightly beaten (¾ cup/6 fluid ounces/7 ounces/200 grams)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml)

3 cups shredded carrots (about 6 medium/11.50 ounces/300 grams/720 ml) 

1 cup raisins, chopped pitted dates, or blueberries (optional) (5 ounces/140 grams)


1.  Position a rack one-third up from bottom of oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C).  Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round pans, one 13- by 9-inch pan, or one 10-inch Bundt or tube pan.

2.  Sift together flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in honey and oil.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time.  Add vanilla.  Stir in carrot mixture and, if using, raisins.

4.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake until tester inserted in the center comes out clean and cake springs back when lightly touched and begins to shrink slightly (35 to 40 minutes for 9-inch pans; 40 to 50 minutes for 13- by 9-inch pan; and 50 to 60 minutes for Bundt pan).

5.  Let cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.  (Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week or freezer for up to 3 months.)  Spread with cream cheese or lemon frosting.


Substitute 2 cups sugar for the honey and increase the oil to 1½ cups and baking powder to 2 teaspoons.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups cream cheese, softened (16 ounces/455 grams)

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1¼ sticks/6 ounces/170 grams)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2½ tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or 1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)

Pinch of salt

About 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (12 ounces/340 grams)

Marzipan carrots or about 1 cup toasted coconut for garnish (optional)


In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Blend in the vanilla and, if using, lemon juice. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth and of a spreading consistency, about 4 minutes.

Place a cake layer on a serving plate, spread with one-fourth of the frosting, and arrange the second cake layer on top. Spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting. If desired, garnish with marzipan carrots or toasted coconut. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.