Chocolate Carrot Cake

A tall three layer chocolate carrot cake covered in chocolate frosting on a white cake stand.

A Recipe 20 Years in the Making

I have been waiting exactly 20 years to share this Chocolate Carrot Cake with you. Back in the day when I was a university student (and new mom) I had little time (or money!) for celebration or going out on the town. There was a quaint little restaurant nearby that was a popular gathering spot for many students and faculty. It was there that I first had a taste of this ultimate Chocolate Carrot Cake. This cake became a constant fixture throughout my years as a university student, showing up through many little triumphant celebrations and even at some tragic failures.
After convocation I moved away to Calgary with my little family. I never quite forgot about the role this Chocolate Carrot Cake had played in my life.  Every time we travelled through Saskatchewan to visit my family, I would insist on stopping into the restaurant to grab a piece for take away and every time I would ask politely for the recipe.
Each time I asked, I was denied the recipe but I never gave up. Over the years, the kids grew up and they also began to look forward to our Saskatchewan ‘cake stop’. My daughter, in particular, knew how much this tradition meant to me. For my 40th birthday, she emailed the restaurant, told them how much the Chocolate Carrot Cake meant to me, and mentioned that she wanted to bake it for me for my birthday. They sent it to her right away.
Twenty years is a long time to wait for a recipe.

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Chocolate Carrot Cake


Chocolate Carrot Cake


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I waited 20 years to share this recipe...
  • Difficulty:Intermediate
  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:80 mins
  • Serves:10
  • Freezable:Yes

Nutrition per portion

    • 4 cups shredded carrots
    • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
    • 6 eggs
    • 1 cup apple sauce
    • 2 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3 cups flour
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
    • 2 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 cup unsalted butter; softened
    • 1 tub spreadable cream cheese; room temperature
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa
    • 1 1/2 cups icing sugar
    1. Grease and lightly flour a 10 inch (16 cup) tube pan*. Pre-heat oven to 325 F.
    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the carrots, oil, eggs, and apple sauce together.
    3. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, then stir until they are combined.
    4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the stand mixer bowl. Mix well.
    5. Bake at 325 F for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
    *For this cake, I used 3-inch cake pans and lined their bases with parchment paper. I had enough batter left over to bake another cake in a loaf pan. They were in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
    1. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add cream cheese and combine well.
    2. Add vanilla.
    3. Sift cocoa and icing sugar into the bowl and combine well.



    1. Kay Sheldrake

      Hi. I’m in the UK and have never used apple sauce in baking, it tends to be matched with a roast pork here! I’m not even sure if our sauce is the same as yours…. Do you know if it can be substituted with something else, just add more carrot/oil, or just leave out? I’m guessing it ticks both boxes of moisture and sweetness so not sure what to do here….. I’m more a cook than a baker but have found myself with an excess of carrots!!
      Thanks very much


      1. Bernice Hill

        Hi, I’m not sure what UK apple sauce is like but Canadian applesauce is just cooked mashed apples, sometimes with cinnamon. I think you could peel, core, cook, and mash 2-3 apples depending on their size. I bet you could also use mashed banana as long as you are okay with bananas. In fact, next time I make this cake I’m going to use bananas!

    2. cococakeland

      I’d never heard of a chocolate carrot cake until now!! I am intrigued – and of course the cream cheese frosting, but chocolate-ized! That is so cute and thoughtful of your daughter … happy 40th!!!! (and generous of the restaurant to share the recipe!)


      1. dishnthekitchen

        Yes, it was. I debated for 2 years if I should share it or not. So I am definitely not 40 anymore haha. I decided that sharing it without the restaurant name would be best.

    3. Breakfast for Dinner

      Love the idea of a ‘cake stop’!!! These are beautiful photos of a yummy sounding cake 🙂


      1. dishnthekitchen

        I could never resist when I was passing through town. It’s difficult to live 10 hours from your favourite cake!

    4. chef mimi

      Very. Cool. That was so sweet of your daughter. The cake looks magnificent!!!


      1. dishnthekitchen

        It really was. I was so surprised!

    5. Shareba

      I’m glad you finally got the recipe! The cake looks so tasty – but then I love carrot cake so I’m a bit biased lol.


      1. dishnthekitchen

        Good things come to those who wait, right?

    6. Charlotte

      Cake with chocolate and carrots – wow! So it’s healthy right?


      1. Gayle Trunfio

        Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve been wanting to make a Chocolate Carrot Cake for a while now. Recently found a few recipes to pick from, including yours. After reading your story, it’s going straight to the top! Good things come to those who wait … twenty years for a recipe!!!

      2. Bernice Hill

        I’m jealous! Been craving this cake again. Hope you really enjoy it Gayle, it’s such a treasure.

    7. Denise @UrbnSpice

      What a great story, Bernice! And how thoughtful of your daughter to email the restaurant for the recipe and make it for your birthday – so sweet! I would not be able to resist a request like that, either. I can’t wait to try the recipe. Chocolate Carrot Cake – it is so intriguing.


      1. dishnthekitchen

        I hope you do. It’s the best chocolate cake…though it does make a lot of cake.

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