Maple Pecan Carrot Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting – a delicious new twist on a traditional carrot cake with maple syrup and plenty of crunchy toasted pecans in the cake, topped off by a creamy maple frosting.
This Maple Pecan Carrot Cake came about as a dessert for Easter Sunday. I had first planned to make a Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake which me and the rest of the family really love, but I couldn’t find a really ripe fresh pineapple at the supermarket. They all looked pretty green and I was worried that they wouldn’t be sweet enough to give the proper flavour to the cake.
I had plenty of pecans on hand, having just bought the large bag at Costco. It’s hard for me to resist buying the large bags of nuts there because the tiny supermarket bags near the spices are so, so expensive. The last time I needed to top up my pecans for a pecan pie because I didn’t quite have enough and Spouse ran out to the supermarket for one of those small bags.
I swore then that I would never buy another one of those little bags from the supermarket. There was not even a full cup of pecans in the bag! …and it cost over 4 bucks! My inner cheapskate was truly irritated, but at least in the end I had a pie to console me. 😉
Back to this Maple Pecan Carrot cake version…I decided to put lots of pecans in the cake but what else could add a bit of a different flavour? My son Noah had made pancakes for breakfast and had just opened a fresh can of Canadian maple syrup from Quebec. There it was… maple and pecan, a glaringly obvious flavour combination.
I don’t always put cream cheese frosting on carrot cake, I often make vanilla buttercream frosting instead. This time I decided to amp up the maple flavour by putting a good amount of maple syrup in the frosting as well. It was all a very successful experiment! The pre-toasted pecans in the cake and the maple flavour along with the spiced cake was just heaven. It was the hit of our Easter dinner.
Like this Maple Pecan Carrot Cake recipe?
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups grated carrots
- 1 1/4 cup chopped lightly toasted pecans
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper circles for easy release.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the maple syrup, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla and oil until light and fluffy.
Stir in the grated carrots and toasted nuts.
Fold in the dry ingredients by hand.
Stir only until the dry ingredients are incorporated into the batter. Do not over mix.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees F or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.
Simply beat the ingredients together with an electric mixer until smooth and spreadable.
If the frosting is too thick just add a little milk to get it to a spreadable consistency.
If it seems too loose, just add a bit more icing sugar.
If you want to completely cover the cake with frosting make 1 1/2 to 2 times the frosting recipe.
To toast the nuts, just preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 or 8 minutes. Toss the nuts half way through that time. I do not use a grinder for nuts, as I think they generally get ground too finely. I give them a rough chop with a knife or if I have time, snap each pecan into 4 pieces, so that they are large enough to see and to bite into in the cake.