Adorable mini carrot cakes filled with classic cream cheese frosting and studded with crunchy candied pecans! It’s the only way to eat carrot cake!
I love cute things! I love mini things!
You’ve probably noticed a trend here for mini layer cakes. Aren’t these just the cutest things ever?? And I can’t be the only one who thinks that mini desserts tastes better. You too? ????????
I’ve covered pretty much all things carrot cake in the past.
Carrot cupcakes. ✔️
Carrot layer cake. ✔️
Carrot cheesecake. ✔️ (<- That carrot cheesecake though! Out-of-this-world creamy and delicious!)
And now mini carrot layer cakes with candied pecans!! Those little gems are what really makes this cake. Of course, super moist cake layers with sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting are great and all, but what really makes this cake stand out is those crunchy, sweet candied pecans!!
If you’ve never made candied pecans, it’s super easy. You can, of course, use pecan halves, but I had only chopped pecan, so that’s what I used here. I actually found it quite convenient though.
Couple important notes to address here:
- When preparing the egg whites, make sure to whisk it until nice and frothy. This way the mixture is light and coats the nuts in thin layer.
- When baking the pecans, make sure to check on them frequently and give them a good stir to ensure not to burn the nuts. You’ll know they’re ready, when the pecans are slightly browned, dried and crisp.
I’d also suggest to make a little (or a whole bunch) more, because you won’t be able to stop snacking on them!
For the cake layer, I slightly adapted my Ultimate Carrot Cupcake recipe. The only change I made is that I reduced the oil amount by half, because in my testing, I learned that thin cake layer doesn’t need too much oil to stay moist, or it gets quite fragile to handle.
I just freaking adore mini cakes. Did I already mention that?
These mini cakes were devoured by me and my husband in just 2 days! We didn’t even bring them out to the ranch! I’ll make it up for it on Easter, I guess. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed today’s recipe. Thanks for stopping by!
Mini Carrot Cakes with Candied Pecans
For candied pecans:
- 1 egg white
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (130g) chopped pecans
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour Note 1
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg Note 2
- 3 medium carrots Note 3
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- ½ cup (120g) Greek yogurt at room temperature Note 4
- ¼ cup (60ml) vegetable oil
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (100g) brown sugar either light or dark
- 1/2 batch pineapple curd for filling, if desired
- 8 oz (250g) cream cheese at room temperature
- ¼ cup (55g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- If you're planning to fill the mini cakes with pineapple curd, make it first before you start making the cake.
To make the candied pecans:
- Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or a silicone mat.
- In a small dish, mix the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
- Whisk the egg white and vanilla extract until nice and frothy, good 3-4 minutes. (Make sure the mixture is frothy, as pictured above.)
- Add the chopped pecans and mix well.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the nuts and toss the pecans with the sugar mixture until the nuts are evenly coated.
- Transfer the coated pecans onto a prepared baking sheet and spread into a single layer.
- Bake the pecans, stirring and checking every 15 minutes, until the nuts are evenly browned and crisp, about 45 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. If desired, you can chop the candied pecans into even smaller pieces.
To make the carrot cake:
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baker's half baking sheet with parchment paper and spray cooking spray all over the parchment paper and on the sides.
- In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment, mix together eggs, Greek yogurt, oil, sugar, and brown sugar until well combined.
- Add flour mixture and mix just until combined. Don’t overmix at this point.
- Add grated carrots and gently fold the batter with a silicone spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking sheet and tap a few times to get rid of bubbles.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Make the cream cheese frosting:
- Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy for 1 minute.
- Add powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed for a minute. Then increase the speed to medium-high and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the frosting into a piping bag with a plain round tip, if desired. (Alternatively, you can simply use 2 teaspoons to frost the cakes.)
To assemble the mini cakes:
- Once the cake is cooled completely, carefully transfer the cake onto a flat surface. And cut out 2-inch circles using a cookie cutter (I love this cookie cutter set!) and arrange the mini cake layers on a wire rack.
- Pipe a ring around the edge on bottom cake layers and add pineapple curd in the center. (Alternatively, if you're not using pineapple curd, spread a heaping tablespoon of cream cheese frosting on the bottom cake layers and sprinkle candied pecans).
- Then place the top cake layers over the frosting. Finally, spread more frosting on top and sprinkle candied pecans.
- Store the cakes in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.
- Mix the leftover cake scraps and frosting in the mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld electric mixer, and make some cake pops.
Tips & Notes:
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