With its delicious taste and warm spices, the carrot cake is one of the most popular desserts.
When making a dessert, sticking to the classic recipe is a must. Yet, there’s room for some flexibility in preparing your signature carrot cake by trying a new topping.
In addition to the classic cream cheese frosting, multiple innovative toppings work for this family and party favorite.
So, if you’re wondering what to put on top of the carrot cake, you’ve come to the right place.
Nothing beats the delicious cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake.
It’s rich, buttery, and a little tangy, and it spreads beautifully on top of this crumbly spicy cake.
Yet, you can try a few other toppings if you want to offer your family and friends something new.
While choosing a new topping for your carrot cake, you want to ensure it complements the recipe’s original flavors. You don’t want to pick something too overpowering that masks the carrot’s flavor or the warmth from the earthy spices.
At the same time, you want to ensure that it suits this sweet and spicy combo.
Here are some excellent alternatives to try.
The lemon icing glaze is one of the best toppings to try because it’s simple and easy to make. Moreover, the citrusy flavor goes well with the warmth and sweetness of the carrot cake.
You only need four ingredients to make this glaze: sugar, butter, lemon zest, and lemon juice. As a result, this will be a good choice to consider if you want a fast yet tasty topping.
The icing won’t stick to the cake if it is too runny. So, you must chill the cake first and ensure you use enough sugar in the recipe.
You can add some crunchy roasted nuts to elevate this icing.
The whipped honey butter is an elegant yet easy-to-make topping you can use on your carrot cake. It’s a bit fancy, although it takes only a few minutes to prepare.
The delicious combination of the rich butter and the sweet honey makes this an excellent topping for your carrot cake.
To add balance, you must use high-quality unsalted butter, honey, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Adding cinnamon to the recipe will complement the warmth and earthiness of the spices used in the carrot cake batter.
But because the butter will melt fast, you’ll need to chill this cake before and after adding the topping. For a little crunch, add some candied pecans, walnuts, or almonds.
You don’t want to complicate things when you’re adding a topping to the sweet carrot cake.
Using whipped cream will be a simple yet good option to consider because it takes a few minutes to prepare.
But this isn’t just any whipped cream.
To elevate this whipped cream, you’ll add one teaspoon of ground ginger, mixing it with heavy cream and confectioner’s sugar.
Before using this frosting on top of your cake, you need to chill it first, and it will be easy to spread.
It complements the warm spices already used in the cake batter and makes the whole cake taste more balanced.
You don’t have to give up cream cheese frosting altogether. You can add a little twist to the original recipe by adding some maple syrup on top.
Once you’ve added the cream cheese frosting, drizzle some maple syrup to create triangles on the chilled carrot cake.
Maple syrup has a rich, sweet, and caramel-like taste that goes well with the earthy taste of the carrot cake. Moreover, it has hints of prunes and butterscotch, so it will be a great addition.
You shouldn’t add pineapples or coconut to the carrot cake batter because they can mess it up.
Coconut can change the consistency of the batter, while pineapple can make the cake too soggy.
Yet, these two ingredients go well with the sweetness of the carrots and the spiciness of the cloves and nutmeg used in the recipe.
As a result, you can prepare a pineapple glaze with some toasted shredded coconut to be used as a topping.
You’ll just need to beat the sugar with the pineapple juice until the mix reaches the right consistency. Once you spread it on top of the cake, you can sprinkle some toasted coconut on top of the cake.
This is another take on the traditional cream cheese frosting.
After you prepare your classic frosting and spread it on your carrot cake, you can break your sweet and spicy ginger cookies and sprinkle them on top.
Moreover, you can prepare a large batch and keep it in a cookie box for the whole family to enjoy.
These cookies are different from the chewy cookies that feel crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. These gingersnaps are crispy, adding crunchiness to your carrot cake.
The gingersnaps take some time to prepare, but they’re totally worth it.
You’ll start by mixing the butter with granulated sugar and brown sugar. Then, you’ll add the molasses and eggs, followed by salt, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and baking soda.
Once they’re fully combined, you should add the flour gradually.
The trick for these crunchy and crispy gingersnaps is to roll each shaped cookie in sugar before placing it on a baking sheet. These cookies will always be a crowd-pleaser and will make your cream cheese topping taste richer.
You can prepare this excellent topping to add to your carrot cake using just two ingredients. It’s also an excellent option to consider if you prepare a plant-based carrot cake.
Coconut yogurt is tasty, tangy, and rich and goes well with the sweetness and spiciness of the carrot cake.
You’ll just need to mix your coconut milk with probiotics and keep stirring. Cover this combo with a cheesecloth and wait for 48 hours.
After this time, you can use this coconut yogurt as a carrot cake topping while adding caramelized pecans for a sweet and tangy combo.
It’s so versatile that you can use it as a spread or as a topping for multiple desserts.
Mascarpone has double the milk fat found in cream cheese, adding a buttery and rich texture to the frosting that suits most desserts.
This topping is made by combining heavy cream, sugar, almond extract, and vanilla extract with mascarpone for a sweet and rich topping.
It’s lighter, more fluffy, and will make your carrot cake feel and taste airy.
But you should be careful not to overmix the ingredients, or the frosting will curdle.
If you want to try a new version of the traditional cream cheese frosting, you can add some candied orange peel on top of it after spreading it on your carrot cake.
The sugar-coated orange peel adds vibrance to the carrot cake and complements its sweet and spicy taste.
To prepare the candied orange peel, you’ll have to use freshly cut orange peel, omitting any of the white layer, which shouldn’t be part of this topping.
Next, you’ll put peel segments into a saucepan, followed by water, sugar, and some salt, and bring to a simmer.
Use low heat to avoid burning the peel segments, as this will change their vibrant color. Once they have simmered, you should stir in some vanilla extract.
The vanilla extract intensifies the warm flavor of the carrot cake, while the salt balances the sweetness in the candied peel.
After leaving the peel to cool off on a wire rack, you should toss them in sugar to be fully coated.
It’s always a good idea to come up with something new in the kitchen, and when it comes to the carrot cake topping, there are several good options to try.
You can go for something totally out of the box or stick to the good old cream cheese frosting with a little twist.
Whatever you choose, you’ll always have a new and delicious carrot cake to impress everyone.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.