rustic carrot cake on a cake platter
Baking,  In the Kitchen

Rustic Carrot Cake

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This Rustic Carrot Cake recipe is made with honey instead of sugar giving it a rich delicious taste.

rustic carrot cake on a cake platter

There is something about a farm style recipe that feels homey to me. I imagine these are the ways that generations past cooked or baked in their kitchens. Using their cast iron or home grown vegetables from the family garden. In this particular recipe, we are baking. Using honey in place of a typical white sugar you might be used to using for a carrot cake.

The use of honey creates a richness I don’t find I can get when using a classic white sugar. Using it also makes me feel like this recipe might be something our ancestors used to bake up a cake in those days. As honey was the standard sweetener. We know now that it is a healthier sweetener option as well.

The same delightful smells wafting through the air while it bakes. The same flavors blended together. Carrots from the garden, raisins not necessarily dried ourselves but still the same goodness. The only “modern” thing about this Rustic Carrot Cake is that I have chosen to use a cream cheese in the frosting. But you can opt to use a classic butter cream and even still make that with the honey as well. Below under the FAQ for Rustic Carrot section as well as the frosting section of this post you can find my recipe for doing so.

Although if you have cream cheese, use it. It works well with the flavors of this rustic carrot cake.

Another delicious cake to try is my Simple Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing. That one does call for white sugar in the recipe; but I have kept it to a minimum and the result is one of the most decadent chocolate cakes I have ever made. It is a must try.

rustic carrot cake on a cake platter

Why I Love This Rustic Carrot Cake

I love using honey instead of sugar when baking. I am not always able as sometimes the honey just won’t work and I am forced to use the white sugar. But this recipe, the honey actually enhances the spices in this Rustic Carrot Cake creating a richer more flavorful and dense cake.

What You’ll Need To Make This Rustic Carrot Cake

1 cup (120g) of all purpose flour

1 cup (340g) of honey

2 eggs

1 tbsp (7.8g) cinnamon

1 tsp (1.8g) ground ginger

¼ tsp (.55g) ground nutmeg

1 ½ tsp (6.9g) baking soda

6 tbsp (85g) of salted butter

1 cup (110g) grated carrots

½ cup (72g) raisins

½ cup (60g) chopped walnuts plus extra for garnishing (if desired)

1 tbsp (13g) vanilla

Frosting

8 oz (227g) cream cheese (softened)

4 tbsp (57g) butter (room temp)

½ cup (170g) of honey

1 tsp (4.2g) of vanilla

Directions For Rustic Carrot Cake

Heat oven to 350℉/177℃

In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and baking soda. Set aside.

a bowl with flour and spices

Grate the carrots, set aside. In a separate bowl mix the butter, vanilla, eggs, and honey until completely incorporated. Chop the walnuts into fine pieces. Taking the wet ingredients, slowly pour them into the large bowl with the flour mixture. Add the carrots, walnuts and raisins. Mix until just incorporated.

rustic carrot cake batter

In a waiting loaf pan, line it with parchment paper ( as shown) and pour the batter in.

a loaf pan lined with parchment paper
parchment paper in a loaf pan with batter poured in

Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until you can pull a clean tooth pick out of the center of the cake. 

Let the cake cool completely before frosting. Otherwise you will have a melted mess.

rustic carrot cake on a cake plate

Directions for Frosting:

Using a hand mixer, mix the entire ingredients for the frosting on a low speed until completely incorporated. You can use a spoon to mix as well but the frosting tends to come out more smooth in texture when using a hand mixer. 

Frost cake. Add chopped walnuts to top to garnish. (optional)

Butter Cream Icing with Honey (in place of cream cheese)

You can make a classic buttercream icing sweetened with honey. Using 8 tbsps of room temp butter and a 1/2 cup of honey plus 1 tsp vanilla. I like to use a hand mixer to whip the icing but you can also mix it by hand too.

rustic carrot cake on a cake platter cut open
rustic carrot cake slice

FAQ for Rustic Carrot Cake

What can I substitute for the walnuts?

Pecans work great for this recipe. I have used both but do personally prefer the walnuts for taste but both ways are delicious.

What if I don’t have cream cheese?

You can make a classic buttercream icing sweetened with honey. Using 8 tbsps of room temp butter and a 1/2 cup of honey plus 1 tsp vanilla. I like to use a hand mixer to whip the icing but you can also mix it by hand too.

Can I make this gluten free?


You can swap out the all purpose flour for this recipe and use a gluten free all purpose flour. Just make sure it is all purpose. A good one to try is King Arthurs Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.

Why honey instead of sugar?

I like to use honey instead of sugar when baking to reduce the amount of white sugar I use in my kitchen. Honey is a healthier option for sweeteners and is a great one to bake with especially for cakes. In this particular recipe, I think the honey actually enhances the spices in this cake and provides a richness to the cake that you simply can’t get from a white refined sugar.

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rustic carrot cake on a cake platter

Rustic Carrot Cake Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

A delicious rich cake sweetened with honey and topped with a cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120g)of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (340g) of honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp (7.8g) cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (1.8g) ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp (.55g) ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ tsp (6.9g) baking soda
  • 6 tbsp (85g) of salted butter melted
  • 1 cup (110g) grated carrots
  • ½ cup (72g) raisins
  • ½ cup (60g) chopped walnuts plus more for garnishing (if desired)
  • 1 tbsp (13g) vanilla
  • Frosting
  • 8 oz (227g) cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 tbsp (57g) butter (room temp)
  • ½ cup (170g) of honey
  • 1 tsp (4.2g) of vanilla

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350℉/177℃
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Grate the carrots, set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the butter, vanilla, eggs, and honey until completely incorporated.
  5. Chop the walnuts into fine pieces.
  6. Taking the wet ingredients, slowly pour them into the large bowl with the flour mixture.
  7. Add the carrots, walnuts and raisins.
  8. Mix until just incorporated.
  9. In a waiting loaf pan, line it with parchment paper ( as shown) and pour the batter in.
  10. Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until you can pull a clean tooth pick out of the center of the cake. 

Directions for Frosting:

12. Using a hand mixer, mix the entire ingredients for the frosting on a low speed until completely incorporated. You can use a spoon to mix as well but the frosting tends to come out more smooth in texture when using a hand mixer. 

13. Make sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 584Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 480mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 2gSugar: 63gProtein: 6g

Pin For Later

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Creamy Cheesecake

Simple Chocolate Cake with Butter Cream Icing

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Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings

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