A super simple carrot cake recipe with sour cream, oil, and a dreamy cream cheese glaze. Make this for your next special-occasion breakfast or brunch.
Small Single Layer Carrot Cake
This is a small, 9 inch, one layer carrot cake recipe that is simple and easy enough for beginners to make from scratch. You don’t even need a mixer. I used a large spoon! The cake batter comes together in one bowl and the glaze in another.
You also don’t have to be a pro to decorate this cake; just drizzle the glaze however you like. But I find that drizzling in a diagonal direction looks best.
Or, you can pour it onto the cake and make pretty swirls with a spoon or spatula. It’s not extremely runny and holds its shape well.
Carrot Cake with Sour Cream
For this recipe, do not use fat free or low fat sour cream because it can alter the taste and texture of the cake and there’s a high chance that it may not be as flavorful as well. I used 14%.
If you do not have sour cream on hand you can substitute it with full-fat Greek yogurt.
Do not leave it out because it acts as a binder which is why there is only one egg in this recipe.
Adjust the Spices to your preference!
I like a well-spiced, flavorful cake. So the amounts you see listed in the recipe, deliver that.
If you think the spice called for would be too much for your tastes, or maybe not enough, adjust them however you like. Or remove the ones you don’t like.
Sometimes carrot cake recipes call for allspice. Feel free to add ¼ teaspoon if you desire.
Use Fresh Carrots and Finely Grate them!
This recipe calls for finely grated carrots. Do not use the large shredding holes that are usually used to grate cheese. Use the fine shredding holes.
You’ll need about 2 large carrots.
Cream Cheese Glaze
This glaze is the bomb! I love how simple it is and it pairs perfectly with this cake. It’s more flavorful than it is sweet which is just what this cake needs.
If you have cream on hand I highly recommend using it! But if not, plain ole milk will do.
You’ll notice that the recipe doesn’t say exactly how much cream or milk you should use and that’s because the consistency will vary depending on how high in fat your cream or milk is. Just keep adding until it is runny enough to be drizzled over the cake. But be careful not to add too much or it will run right off.
One of the things I really love about this glaze is that it stays soft for hours. Even when it’s out in the open it doesn’t form that hard crust that other glazes tend to do.
Storage and Refrigeration
Can this Carrot Cake be left out? How long will it last unrefrigerated?
Yes, it can. I’ve personally left this cake out overnight for about 12 hours.
How to store this Carrot Cake
I placed mine in the cake pan and covered it tightly with foil leaving space at the top to prevent it from touching the glaze. You can also use a cake keeper or caddy, or slice it and store it in airtight containers.
Since the glaze stays soft, I don’t recommend stacking the slices on top of each other.
How long will this Carrot Cake last in the fridge?
Roughly 3 days.
What does this Homemade Carrot Cake taste like?
It is tender, soft, and moist thanks to the oil and sour cream. Because the carrots are finely grated, they are evenly dispersed throughout the entire cake. The brown sugar adds a touch of molasses and the cream cheese glaze a pleasantly sweet and creamy tang.
I definitely think this would pair well with a cup of coffee!
Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup sour cream (not low fat or fat-free)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots, packed
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 ounces (1/4 of a block) brick cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- dash of fine salt
- 2 – 3 teaspoons milk or cream, or more as needed
Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line a 9 inch round metal cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- Add the sour and mix well.
- Beat in the oil, egg, and vanilla extract.
- Add the carrots and mix until moistened.
- Add the flour and mix gently until fully incorporated.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top into an even layer, if needed.
- Bake for 41 – 42 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with dry crumbs.
- Cool in pan 10 minutes.
- Transfer to wire rack and cool until room temperature, about 45 - 50 minutes.
Make the Glaze
- In a medium sized bowl, use a whisk or electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract (if using) until smooth and creamy.
- Add the powdered sugar and salt and mix until fully incorporated and lump free.
- Gently mix in the milk/cream. Add more, about 1/2 a teaspoon at a time, if glaze is too thick.
- Drizzle over the cooled cake.
- Please feel free to adjust the spice amounts to your preference!
- If you use a cream that is very high in fat I recommend adding a bit of water to your glaze to help thin it out.
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