You are going to absolutely love this sourdough carrot cake recipe! It is seriously the best sourdough carrot cake recipe ever. It's super moist, without being wet. It has enough sweetness without being over powering.
And don't even get me started on the classic cream cheese frosting! It's going to be your favorite carrot cake recipe, regardless of the fact that it's sourdough. The addition of which just makes it taste even better!
This great recipe makes the most delicious dessert or centre piece for your next brunch. It's also a must have on any Easter table.
If you love this sourdough carrot cake, you might also enjoy these sourdough carrot cake muffins, sourdough carrot cake cookies, this sourdough zucchini bread, sourdough strawberry cake and sourdough chocolate cake.
Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Uses 200g of Sourdough Starter - this sourdough carrot cake is a great way to empty your discard jar, using a whopping 200g of discard in one go!
Can Be Fermented - the great thing about this sourdough carrot cake is that you can mix it and bake it straight away. Alternatively you can ferment the batter in the fridge overnight. It's totally up to you! There are directions for both versions in the post below.
Can Be Made In Any Cake Pan - I love this cake as a double layer carrot cake with vanilla cream cheese frosting in the middle. It works equally well as a sheet cake too! Perfect for any occasion! It really will be your favorite cake.
How To Make Sourdough Carrot Cake
No matter why you're making this sourdough carrot cake, it's always a great idea! This sourdough carrot cake will be loved by the whole family, even if it's just because the frosting is so damn delicious!
I've used 2 round cake pans to create this double layer carrot cake. The pans are 20 x 5 cm or 8 x 2". You don't need a stand mixer or electric mixer to make this cake, a large bowl and wooden spoon is perfect!
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and prepare 2 round cake tins. Grease the cake tins with butter or spray with cooking oil. If you are going to make the frosting while the cake is baking, take the cream cheese and butter out of the fridge. This allows them to sit at room temperature to soften while you make the sourdough carrot cake.
In a large mixing bowl, add the all purpose flour, baking soda, salt and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice). Stir well to combine and set aside.
In another mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, lemon juice and sourdough starter. Whisk well to combine and dissolve the sugar into all the other ingredients.
Now to the wet ingredients, add the grated carrot, pineapple, coconut and pecans. Whisk well to ensure all of these add ins are well distributed through the wet ingredients.
Now, pour the wet mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir together until the flour mixture is moistened. Make sure there are no big lumps or clumps of flour.
Pour the sourdough carrot cake batter evenly between the two round cake tins. Now place them gently into the oven for around 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for around 10 minutes. Then invert onto a wire rack to cool.
When you're ready to frost the sourdough carrot cake, place all frosting ingredients into a food processor or stand mixer bowl and whip until smooth. It's best if you use softened cream cheese and butter (so if you forgot to take them out at the beginning, make sure you allow them to sit at room temperature for a bit before you use them).
Place one half of the cake onto a plate and spread a generous amount of icing on top before placing the second cake on top. Use additional icing to cover the top and sides of the cake.
I've also topped my sourdough carrot cake with shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, pecans and shredded carrot, but this is totally optional.
Ingredient Notes & Swaps for Sourdough Carrot Cake
Sourdough Starter - you can make this sourdough carrot cake with either active sourdough starter or sourdough discard. If you are going to bake the cake straight away, the I recommend using sourdough discard. If you are wanting to ferment the sourdough carrot cake overnight, active sourdough starter is a better choice.
All Purpose Flour - you can use whole wheat flour if you prefer, however it will give you a slightly less wet batter. If you are using whole wheat flour, increase the milk in your cake to 150g. Einkorn flour can also be used if you prefer.
Carrots - I grate my fresh carrots on a box grater. Try to hold the carrot 90 degrees to the box grater so you get shorter grates of carrot, rather than long shreds as these don't have a good texture in a cake. Avoid pre-shredded carrots as these are too dry and your sourdough carrot cake will lack moisture. Do not squeeze the moisture out of the grated carrots, you want this in the cake!
Vegetable Oil - you need to use oil in this cake, rather than butter, however I understand you might not want to use vegetable oil. You can swap out the vegetable oil for coconut oil, avocado oil, light olive oil or sunflower oil if you'd prefer.
Brown Sugar - this cake is sweetened with brown sugar, but it has less sugar than a traditional carrot cake because the vanilla cream cheese frosting has lots of sugar. You can substitute coconut sugar for the brown sugar if you prefer. Do not substitute white sugar as it will not give the depth of flavor or moisture that brown sugar does.
Baking Soda - this is also called bicarb or bicarbonate of soda. Please note that it is NOT baking powder.
Cake Add Ins & Frosting
Pecans - you can use walnuts if you prefer or leave the nuts out altogether. I love the crunch the nuts give this cake, but they are absolutely optional.
Crushed Pineapple - I just scoop the pineapple out of the tin, I do not drain it first. You can use unsweetened apple sauce instead of crushed pineapple if you prefer. Perfect if you've got some leftover from making this sourdough applesauce cake.
Warm Spices - I've added cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice. If you love spices, you can double the amounts given in the recipe. I like my cake to appeal to all tastes so I keep them fairly tame.
Powdered Sugar - if you are outside of the US, you might know powdered sugar as icing sugar.
How To Ferment Sourdough Carrot Cake Overnight
If you don't wish to mix and bake this sourdough carrot cake straight away, you can ferment the cake batter overnight. In order to do this, you will want to mix the batter a little differently.
To ferment the cake batter overnight, leave out the baking soda, but mix the rest of the ingredients as instructed. Place the cake batter into the fridge, covered for up to 12 hours.
When you are ready to bake it, add the baking soda and proceed to pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans and bake as per instructions.
How To Store + Freeze
Sourdough carrot cake is super moist, which means it actually stays fresher for longer than other cakes would. I recommend storing this cake in the fridge, either in a cake container or covered with aluminum foil. It will last in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.
If you want to freeze the cake, I recommend freezing the cake uniced if possible. Wrap cakes separately in parchment paper and then aluminum foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before applying vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Sourdough Carrot Cake
- 2 Round Cake Pans (I've used 2 pans measuring 20 x 5 cm or 8 x 2")
- Offset Spatula (for icing)
Sourdough Carrot Cake
- 200 g All Purpose Flour
- 15 g Baking Soda
- 4 g Salt
- 2 tsp Cinnamon (5 g)
- ½ tsp Nutmeg
- 1 tsp Ginger (dried, ground)
- ½ tsp All Spice
- 120 g Milk (whole milk)
- 3 Eggs
- 250 g Brown Sugar
- 75 g Vegetable Oil
- 7 g Lemon Juice (can use white vinegar)
- 200 g Sourdough Starter (can be active or discard)
- 100 g Crushed Pineapple
- 250 g Carrot (shredded or grated on a box grater)
- 25 g Desiccated Coconut
- 50 g Pecans (roughly chopped)
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
- 250 g Cream Cheese (must be a block, not spreadable)
- 150 g Butter
- 5 g Vanilla Extract
- 480 g Powdered Sugar (icing sugar)
- Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and prepare 2 round cake tins. Grease the cake tins with butter or spray with cooking oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the all purpose flour, baking soda, salt and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and all spice). Stir well to combine and set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, brown sugar, vegetable oil, lemon juice and sourdough starter. Whisk well to combine and dissolve the sugar into all the other ingredients.
- Now to the wet ingredients, add the grated carrot, pineapple, coconut and pecans. Whisk well to ensure all of these add ins are well distributed through the wet ingredients.
- Now, pour the liquid ingredients onto the dry ingredients and stir together until the flour mixture is moistened and there are no big lumps or clumps of flour.
- Pour the sourdough carrot cake batter evenly between the two round cake tin and place gently into the oven for around 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for around 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool.
- When you're ready to frost the sourdough carrot cake, place all frosting ingredients into a food processor or stand mixer bowl and whip until smooth.
- Place one half of the cake onto a plate and spread a generous amount of icing on top before placing the second cake on top. Use additional icing to cover the top and sides of the cake.