Rustic Carrot Cake

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 homegrown 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 classic white sugar. There is also a nostalgic factor that comes along with baking this cake with honey in place of sugar. Something I am sure generations past had done many times over.

Though today we might not be grating carrots from the garden nor drying our own raisins. The cake tends to have an old-fashioned feel to it and so is called rustic in that sense.

To top this Rustic Carrot Cake, I have chosen to use cream cheese in the frosting. But you can opt to use a classic buttercream and even make that with honey. 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 Recipe

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 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 It

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of honey

2 eggs

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1 ½ tsp baking soda

6 tbsp of salted butter

1 cup grated carrots

½ cup raisins

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

1 tbsp vanilla

Frosting

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

4 tbsp butter (room temp)

½ cup of honey

1 tsp of vanilla

Directions

Heat oven to 350℉

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

a bowl with flour and spices

Grate the carrots, and 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 toothpick 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 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

What can I substitute for the walnuts?

Pecans work great for this recipe. I have used both but prefer the walnuts for taste, however, both 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 white refined sugar.

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Yield: 8

Rustic Carrot Cake Recipe

rustic carrot cake on a cake platter

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

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp of salted butter melted
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts plus more for garnishing (if desired)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 4 tbsp butter (room temp)
  • ½ cup of honey
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350℉.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Grate the carrots, and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl mix the butter, Mix the butter, vanilla, eggs, and honey in a separate bowl 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 toothpick 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 smooth in texture when using a hand mixer. 

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

Notes

  • Using parchment paper helps make removing the cake from the pan simple while reducing the clean-up.
  • I use salted butter for this recipe but you can also use unsalted. If using unsalted be sure to add 1/4 tsp of salt to the flour mixture as this will help balance the flavors.
  • I suggest unbleached, organic all-purpose flour for this cake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 608Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 480mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 2gSugar: 63gProtein: 7g

Did you make this recipe?

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