Sweet, creamy, and moist, carrot cake is the perfect balance of sugar and spice. It’s so warm, velvety, and comforting that you can’t resist a slice at breakfast, after meals, or even for a snack any time of the day!
Not only is carrot cake delicious but it’s also loaded with nutrients from the orange vegetables. That second (or fourth) piece doesn’t sound so guilty now, does it?
While carrot cake is a treat on its own, coupling it with the right companion can take your dessert to a whole new level.
If you’re wondering what to serve with carrot cake, today’s guide uncovers the best flavor combos to indulge your senses.
Plenty of side dishes go well with a slice of carrot cake, from ice cream and sauces to beverages and curd.
Here are the top 10/side dishes to accompany carrot cake:
Grilled peaches may not be the first or second dish to serve with carrot cake, but they’re so delicious that you’ll deem them a staple once you have a taste.
The fruity, sweet, and tangy flavors of caramelized peaches go great with carrot cake. They also bring the taste of summer to life!
To make this dish, microwave butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Then, split the peaches in half and remove the pits.
Spray the peach halves with oil and place them on a grill face down. After a couple of minutes, turn them over and brush them with the butter blend.
Leave the peaches for an extra couple of minutes then serve warm or at room temperature.
Carrot cake and ice cream aren’t your conventional combo, but they do make for a fun yet sophisticated duo.
The best part is that you get to choose from a wide array of ice cream flavors, each offering something special to complement the creaminess, sweetness, and spiciness of carrots cake.
You can keep it simple with vanilla bean ice cream or regular vanilla ice cream. It’s yummy, a bit sugary, and mellow enough to not overpower the carrot cake.
You can turn up the spice factor with some ginger ice cream that’ll cut right through the richness of the cake. Alternatively, you can go for cinnamon ice cream for a softer yet still evident kick.
Maple walnut ice cream also pairs beautifully with carrot cake thanks to its nutty flavor and crunchy texture.
If you’re not drinking coffee with your carrot cake, how about you turn it into a tasty side dish instead?
Coffee pudding is a fantastic sidekick to carrot cake. You get your caffeinated kick wrapped in a rich, bittersweet, and spicy blanket.
Just imagine sipping on a cup of creamy coffee – that’s coffee pudding for you! You can also add whatever type of coffee ground you prefer, including decaf.
To whip up this side dish, mix cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, milk, vanilla, and coffee in a saucepan over medium heat. Let it cool and you’re good to go!
If you’re looking for a rich, smokey, and sweet side dish to accompany your carrot cake, try the mouthwatering banana foster.
Whipping up banana foster involves heating sliced bananas in a buttery rum sauce along with walnuts.
The best time to make banana foster is right before serving the carrot cake. Don’t worry though, you can cook it in less than 5 minutes!
A tropical sidekick can elevate your carrot cake when you’re trying to add a new element to the traditional dessert.
You can make pineapple curd using fresh pineapple juice in the summer or buy pineapple juice during winter. The sweet and tangy flavors are a dream come true with the rich, moist cake.
Besides pineapple juice, you’ll also need sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, eggs, and butter. It should take no longer than 30 minutes to cook.
Many carrot cake recipes call for nuts in the batter, which means this side dish will help highlight those flavors.
Even if your carrot cake is free of nuts, this brittle offers complementing salty, sweet, and nutty flavors. It also adds a nice crunch to the dessert.
To make salted caramel nut brittle, you’ll need butter, sugar, corn syrup, salt, baking soda, and water. You can use your favorite nuts; pecans, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and walnuts all work great.
A side dish packed with the bursting flavors of berries swimming in a sugary pool is the perfect carrot cake companion for sweet tooths. It’s tender, juicy, and fresh – simply YUM!
Not to mention, this berry compote is super easy to whip up at home with only four ingredients: sugar, water, berries, and salt.
You can use any mixture of berries you like. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are all terrific options.
If you’re after an elegant twist to turn your carrot cake into a fancy dessert? Then look no further than a side of poached pears to get the job done!
Poached pears may seem like a complicated recipe, but you’ll be surprised at how easy you can make it in your kitchen.
Simply grab a few peeled pears and throw them in a pot of water over the stove along with cinnamon, vanilla, anise, and sugar.
Bring the concoction to a boil then let it simmer at low heat until the pears are tender and the liquid is syrup-like consistency.
A salad with carrot cake may sound like a wacky idea at first glance, but it’s perfectly delicious when it’s ambrosia salad we’re talking about.
It’s fruity, tangy, creamy, nutty, and sweet – everything you can hope for to bring out the flavors of your carrot cake.
The best part is that you can choose whatever fruit you prefer. Once you have your fruit cut up, mix them with sour cream, whipped cream, shredded coconut, nuts, and marshmallows.
Last but not least, serve your carrot cake with warm ginger hot chocolate and you’ll wonder how you ever had carrot cake without it before!
Ginger hot chocolate is creamy, spicy, and sweet – perfect for the rich flavors of carrot cake. You also get your dose of chocolatey goodness, so it’s a triple win!
Typical recipes for ginger hot chocolate call for unsweetened cocoa powder, whole milk, sugar, and ground ginger.
Whisk these ingredients together until they come to a simmer. Pour in your favorite mug then top with whipped cream, marshmallows, and chocolate shavings.
A lot of ingredients pair well with carrot cake, from frostings to sauces to extra ingredients. Here are a few you should try with your next slice:
- Cinnamon cream frosting
- Buttercream icing
- Crushed pineapple (in the batter)
- Raisins (in the batter)
- Candied fruit (in the batter)
- Currants (in the batter)
- Applesauce topping
There you have it, a delicious guide on what to serve with carrot cake.
As you can tell, the options are endless, so it comes down to your flavor preferences and what you have lying around your kitchen.
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.