Spice Market Carrot Cake


A full tablespoon of the spice ras el hanout and a cup of dried fruit in the batter is what gives this carrot cake recipe its Moroccan-inspired flair.

spice market carrot cake

Carson Downing

Hands On Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
12 slices

Using a full tablespoon of ras el hanout (pronounced ras elˈhano͞ot) ensures you detect the flavors of the North African spice blend in the final baked cake. Most ras el hanout spice blends found in stores include some combination of coriander, ginger, turmeric, peppercorns, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne pepper, and possibly other spices. If you can't find in stores, we've included a spice blend recipe below that's similar with slightly fewer ingredients, but still adds big flavor.

Our Test Kitchen loved how the spice flavor in the cake paired nicely with the ginger and orange in the frosting. So if you were thinking about skipping that ingredient, just don't. It's a nice change-up from a usual carrot cake recipe (not that we'd ever turn down that dessert!).

Try even more carrot cake recipes with different flavors and looks until you find your very favorite to make on repeat.


Spice Market Carrot Cake

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ras el hanout*

  • 2 teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature and lightly beaten

  • 3 cup finely shredded carrots

  • ¾ cup vegetable oil

  • cup honey

  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots or pitted dates

  • Chopped pistachio nuts (optional)

Ginger-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 large orange

  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese

  • 3/4 cup softened butter

  • 1 tsp ground ginger

  • 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar


Spice Market Carrot Cake

  1. greased cake pans

    BHG / Sonia Bozzo

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of three 8- or 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. Grease and flour paper.

  2. dry ingredients in bowl

    BHG / Sonia Bozzo

    In a mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, ras el hanout, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  3. carrots, eggs and honey

    BHG / Sonia Bozzo

    In another bowl combine eggs, carrots, oil, and honey.

    Test Kitchen Tip: The carrots should be finely shredded by using the fine shredding surface of a box grater, so they stay evenly distributed in the cake and won't sink. Purchased shredded carrots are not a good swap.

  4. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture until combined. Stir in apricots.

  5. carrot cake batter in cake pans

    BHG / Sonia Bozzo

    Pour into prepared pans. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.

  6. baked carrot cakes on cooling rack

    BHG / Sonia Bozzo

    Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; remove paper. Cool cakes on wire racks.

  7. ginger orange cream frosting

    BHG / Sonia Bozzo

    Frost the top of each cake layer with Ginger-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting, stacking them as you go; frost sides of the cake.

  8. spice market carrot cake

    Carson Downing

    Decorate with nuts and carrot shreds or ribbons. Serves 16.

Ginger-Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Remove 2 tsp. zest and squeeze 2 Tbsp. juice from the orange.

  2. In a large bowl combine softened cream cheese, ¾ cup softened butter, the orange juice, and 1 tsp. ground ginger. Beat with a mixer on low until fluffy.

  3. Gradually add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in an additional 1 to 1½ cups sifted powdered sugar to make a spreadable frosting. Stir in zest.

*To make ras el hanout: To make your own ras el hanout spice mixture, stir together 1 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ground turmeric and ½ tsp. each black pepper, ground coriander, ground nutmeg, and ground allspice.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

693 Calories
34g Fat
96g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 693
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 33.6g 43%
Saturated Fat 12.7g 63%
Cholesterol 111.6mg 37%
Sodium 439mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 96g 35%
Dietary Fiber 2.8g 10%
Total Sugars 75.2g
Protein 6.3g
Vitamin D 0.3mcg 2%
Vitamin C 10.8mg 54%
Calcium 102.7mg 8%
Iron 1.8mg 10%
Potassium 279.3mg 6%
Fatty acids, total trans 0.8g
Vitamin D 13.7IU
Alanine 0.3g
Arginine 0.3g
Ash 2.3g
Aspartic acid 0.5g
Caffeine 0mg
Carotene, alpha 957.4mcg
Choline, total 63.7mg
Copper, Cu 0.1mg
Cystine 0.1g
Energy 2899.7kJ
Fluoride, F 2.1mcg
Folate, total 61.1mcg
Glutamic acid 1.5g
Glycine 0.2g
Histidine 0.2g
Isoleucine 0.3g
Leucine 0.5g
Lysine 0.4g
Methionine 0.2g
Magnesium, Mg 20.1mg
Manganese, Mn 0.3mg
Niacin 1.8mg
Phosphorus, P 118mg
Pantothenic acid 0.7mg
Phenylalanine 0.3g
Phytosterols 38.1mg
Proline 0.5g
Retinol 179.1mcg
Selenium, Se 14.9mcg
Serine 0.4g
Starch 0.9g
Theobromine 0mg
Threonine 0.3g
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 2.2mg
Tryptophan 0.1g
Tyrosine 0.2g
Valine 0.3g
Vitamin A, IU 5299.3IU
Vitamin A, RAE 414mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.2mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 32.5mcg
Water 69.1g
Zinc, Zn 0.6mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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