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How Do I Choose the Best Carrot Cake Topping?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 16, 2024
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When choosing the best carrot cake topping, one with cream cheese in the recipe's ingredient list is the most popular option. While carrot cake toppings vary in the flavoring and decorations used, a cream cheese frosting is the favorite for most people. The slight richness and cheesiness complements the moist sweetness of this cake made with grated carrots and plump, softened raisins. The flavorings and their amounts can greatly affect the result of the icing though, so you may want to think about the tastes you prefer as well as the finished form of your recipe, whether it's a layered, sheet or Bundt cake or cupcakes. Maple, caramel or cinnamon flavored cream cheese frosting or a simple glaze are all possible carrot cake topping choices.

A sugar glaze topping is often used on a loaf style carrot cake or a Bundt style, which is ring shaped and quite tall. Milk is the needed ingredient to make the powdered sugar and cream cheese thin enough to pour over the cake. Don't choose a recipe for carrot cake topping glaze with too much milk or the icing may be too runny rather than pleasantly thin. It's best to add the milk gradually. A little vanilla added to the glaze can give it delicious flavor while still keeping it simple.

For layered and sheet style cakes as well as carrot cupcakes, a thicker cream cheese frosting is the best choice. As this carrot cake topping is thicker than glaze, you can add richer flavor, such as maple, caramel or cinnamon. If you use cinnamon, the aroma and flavor can be delicious and comforting, though keep in mind that the finished frosting isn't going to be pure white. This frosting will be even browner in color if you like to add a lot of vanilla flavoring. For the best vanilla flavored cream cheese carrot cake icing, be sure to use only pure vanilla extract.

For topping choices, you may want to use either chopped walnuts or carrot shaped decorations. Marzipan, which is a baker's product made from ground almonds, sugar and water that is sold in wrapped rolls, can also be used to form carrot shaped cake toppers. Orange food coloring may be blended into some marzipan or thick cream cheese or butter creme frosting, then shaped into long carrot like pieces. Green food coloring and small marzipan or frosting bits may be added add the top of the carrot sections to look like greens. Chopped walnuts may be either sprinkled over cream cheese frosting as extra carrot cake toppings or pressed around the sides of round or square layer cakes.

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Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Feb 06, 2014

A cream cheese frosting is easy to make and works for a cake or cupcakes. Another thing I like to do is to toast pecan halves in the oven and press them on to the sides of the frosted cake. This looks good, but isn't difficult to do.

Since carrot cake is so dense, I like to bake it in a tube pan so the middle gets done. Plus, it's easier to frost.

For something a little different, you might want to think about putting some grated orange rind in the frosting. The orange and spices in the cake complement each other nicely.

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