Carrot Ginger Fig Cake: An Updated Classic

Motivated by the ingredients in my fridge, many acquired in excess because I forgot I already had them… oops, but who hasn’t done that before (insert Mom’s Mustard story). Made with fresh ginger, organic carrots, orange zest, dried figs and a white chocolate frosting, this dessert is a crowd pleaser. The recipe was inspired by a Bon Appetite classic and an experimental frosting (thanks sweetapolita for pairing white chocolate – carrot), made two ways – cream cheese or sour cream white chocolate. I love them both!

Carrot Ginger Fig Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

The recipe works great as cupcakes (makes ~ 24), layer cake, sheet or Bundt cake – pick your pan!


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs (room temp is best)
  • 3- 4 cups grated carrots (~6-8 normal sized carrots)
  • 1 ¼ cups toasted and chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 orange or lemon for zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ to 1 cup diced dried figs or golden raisins (optional)


  • Candied ginger sliced for decoration ~ ½ cup
  • 1 package (8-10 ounces) full fat, real deal cream cheese, softened OR 1 cup sour cream
  • 6 – 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • About 1 ¼ to 2 ½ cups powdered sugar (more or less depending on how sweet)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Baking Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Decide which kind of pan you are going to use. If making a layer cake, prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by greasing (I use shortening) and flouring the bottom and sides. Then trace the bottom of the pan and cut out two circles a touch smaller than the pan. Grease and flour one side of the paper and place floured side up in the pan. Be sure to tap out any extra flour in the pans.

  • Make the batter: In a medium bowl, prepare the dry ingredients by whisking the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. No need to sift. In a larger bowl, mix the sugar and oil until well blended. Using a whisk, add the eggs one at time, mixing well each time. Add the chopped figs, diced or grated ginger, citrus zest and vanilla extract. Mix well and let them sit. This step is helpful if your figs or raisins are more dry, it will macerate them a bit. I bet you could soak them in rum or Cointreau too… hmmmm.
  • Grate the carrots. I have done by hand and with food processor, pick your poison: arm work out or dishes.
  • If adding walnuts or pecans, you can optionally toast them whole in the oven for just a 5-10 minutes at 350 to really enhance flavor, then roughly chop. Roasting is in no way necessary, in fact you don’t even need nuts.
  • Starting mixing the dry ingredients into the batter bowl. Mixing well. Add in the carrots and nuts and mix until combined and there is no more dry flour.
  • Pour into the prepared pans or lined cupcake pans. If you use a scale to get your layers even, each pan held just over 2 pounds of batter.
  • Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Use the toothpick test to be sure it done. Toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle of the pan.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and invert onto drying rack, allowing the cakes to cool completely before even thinking about frosting.

  • Frost in your favorite way. I leveled off the layers, did a crumb coat and then frosted the whole cake, placing candied ginger in between the layers and on top, when all done. You could top with toasted nuts etc. To do a crumb coat, scoop out about a cup of frosting into a separate bowl and then thinning frost the bottom layer, then add a thicker layer of frosting in the middle, place the top layer and then repeat with another thin coat. This helps you keep the crumbs out of the final frosting. Wipe off you spatula or knife and then frost the rest of the cake. You will have frosting left over. Put in the fridge or mix with the cut off part of the cakes. For the cupcakes, there will be very little remaining frosting. I used a pastry bag to pipe on the frosting which made the whole process really easy.
  • Store the cake or cupcakes in the fridge or cool place before serving as the frosting might melt.


  • Cream together with electric mixer, the butter and sour cream. It will be lumpy but don’t worry. It will smooth out. Add in the melted (so still warm but not hot) white chocolate chips, mix again on high. Should be getting smoother. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until the frosting is sweet enough for you. Mix until it is whipped up nice and smooth. I usually use about 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar.


Love my recently acquired vintage glass cake stand!

4 thoughts on “Carrot Ginger Fig Cake: An Updated Classic

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