Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting

Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini FrostingNaked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting

“Growth is painful. Change is painful.But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” – Mandy Hale

Easter won’t be quite the elaborate affair this year – as an impending move is literally happening the day after. We’re living our lives currently surrounded by brown cardboard boxes. All our material possessions taped and packed, labelled with things like “misc. and summer clothes”. The flour and sugar jars have well and truly been packed. And the baking soda… stored away for good.

Though what does remain is my cookbook collection – I don’t trust any removalist with that precious cargo… I’d rather leave the (rather heavy) transportation to myself.

Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting

Carrot cake makes things slightly better. As I don’t have access to my usual holiday baking methods, and as I always feel the urge to make something for a celebration or event… I made this cake in anticipation to celebrate Easter. 

This is a true tried and tested carrot cake, a family favourite. It’s flavoured with sugar and spices, filled with carrot and textured by pecan. Also noteworthy is the incredibly moist crumb. The frosting is the true star though, not too sweet with a slightly nutty and rich earthy-like taste from the addition of tahini. It’s also four layers tall too, which means that there are plenty of thick pieces able to be sliced for everyone.

Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini FrostingNaked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting

Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting is a cake destined for celebration. There are definitely countless of carrot cake recipes out there, with all sorts of embellishments… but it’s important to have a classic, like this, in your baking repertoire. It’s simple, incredibly moist, and the flavours are spot on. Perfect for Easter.

Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting
For the carrot cake:
  • 3 cups / 15.4 oz. / 435 g plain flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 ¼ cups / 16 oz. / 450 g caster sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups / 18.3 fl. oz. / 540 ml vegetable oil
  • 4 ½ cups / 20. 3 oz. / 575 g shredded carrots
  • 1 ½ cups / 6.2 oz. / 175 g finely chopped pecans
For the cream cheese tahini frosting:
  • 8 oz. / 225 g cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks / 226 g unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ cup / 2.1 oz. / 60 g tahini sesame paste
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups / 8.5 oz. / 240 g icing sugar, sifted
  1. To make the cake: Pre-heat an oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease and line 4 x 7 inch / 18 cm cake pans and set aside. Alternatively you can use 2 x cake pans and slice each cake in half.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon and salt together into a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs set on high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue mixing until thick and lightly coloured, about 3 minutes. Drizzle in the vegetable oil slowly, this should take at least 3 to 5 minutes (the idea is for the mixture to slowly absorb the oil to make an emulsion, if the oil separates from the mixture it is being added too quickly). Reduce the mixer speed to low. In third additions, mix in the flour mixture until smooth and combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and pecans.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes for single layers, 40 to 45 minutes for double layers. Let the cakes cool in their pans for 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to let cool completely.
  5. Whilst the cakes are cooling, make the frosting: Put the cream cheese, butter, tahini and salt into a standing mixer and whip on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and combine well. Lower the mixer speed and slowly add in the icing sugar, stopping to scrape down the bowl occasionally. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed back to medium and whip for 2 minutes, or until very fluffy.
  6. Trim the cooled cake tops to level. Place one cake layer on a stand or plate. Spread the layer with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the frosting. Repeat this process with the second and third cake layer. Finally, place the fourth cake layer trimmed side down and frost the top and sides of the whole cake to crumb coat. Let chill for 30 minutes before finishing with a final thin coat of frosting and decorative piping. Chill the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.
As the cake does not contain butter, which will harden when refrigerated, the cake can be made in advance, served chilled and kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini FrostingNaked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting


  • Reply Sophie July 5, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    this is the most DELICIOUS frosting! a wonderful, moist cake that will become a family favourite.

  • Reply Zainab May 9, 2016 at 2:09 am

    my friend (beautiful Kaye) made this for us at work it’s divine. Thanks Kay:)

  • Reply Jhuls | The Not So Creative Cook May 14, 2015 at 11:10 am

    The tahini frosting sounds so interesting. This cake looks absolutely perfect, Thalia. 🙂

  • Reply Grilled Cinnamon Pears with Tahini Cream April 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    […] now follow her blog posts and they are drool-worthy. For Easter Sunday, I even made the Naked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Tahini Frosting. It didn’t last long in our house, and embarrassingly, I think I ate 75% by myself. The […]

  • Reply Gaby April 22, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Wow, love how tall this cake is!!! I bet this is absolutely delicious. Love the pictures 🙂

  • Reply Lisa @ Wine & Glue April 20, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    I hope the moving process went well! I can’t stand moving. This cake though, woah. Totally gorgeous, and I am totally intrigued by the tahini in the frosting. It has my head spinning with all the other types of cakes it would be good on!

  • Reply Leah M @ love me, feed me April 17, 2015 at 2:14 am

    Cream cheese and tahini frosting?! Oh my goodness! I don’t think any of it would make it on a cake if I were to make a batch haha!

  • Reply Howie Fox April 13, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Ok, this carrot cake stomps all the versions in those fancy pancy hipster cafés here in Berlin! The photos are incredible as always. I hope I will start getting urges to bake things as well at some point 😉

  • Reply Ciao Florentina April 13, 2015 at 5:40 am

    This is really beautiful! I’d like a slice just about now.

  • Reply Shiran @ Pretty. Simple. Sweet. April 9, 2015 at 9:39 am

    My family LOVES tahini! It sound incredible with a carrot cake. I love your combination of flavors – you always inspire me!

  • Reply Victoria April 8, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I loooveee your blog, its gorgeous! congratulations! your photography is stunning! And im drooling over this carrot cake! yum! all the best! thanx for stopping by!

  • Reply Amanda April 8, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Oh wow… I love carrot cake!! I’ve never thought to add tahini paste to the cream cheese frosting, I can just imagine how delicious that addition would be 😀

  • Reply Michaell @ Foodscape April 7, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    Thalia this is beautiful! I love the carrot cake peaking out of the frosting.. Also, I totally agree with you about knowing how to make a classic. Whenever I make a recipe I make a point to have made the original recipe first. If you don’t know how it’s SUPPOSED to taste, how do you know if you’ve successfully produced your spin on it?

  • Reply ambrosia @ figandpie April 7, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Cream cheese tahini frosting!!! I must try this!

  • Reply Sippitysup April 7, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    You going to have to post a cake frosting demo someday. I’m always astounded by your talent. I hope the move went well. GREG

  • Reply Cecilia April 7, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    The recipe sounds already totally great, the photos just make it! Wow! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply mira April 7, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    This cake looks outstanding Thalia! Love it! Can’t wait to try this frosting!!!

  • Reply Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg April 7, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Your photographs are always so lovely. I would’ve never thought to use tahini in frosting, but I bet the flavor is out-of-this-world good. 🙂

  • Reply Maureen | Orgasmic Chef April 7, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Thinking about you and the move. I’d rather gnaw my arm off than move. I spent ages looking for where I put things. I hope you’re very happy and I can’t wait to see new cakes. This one is terrific!

  • Reply Sarah@ Whole and Heavenly Oven April 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    This is the ultimate carrot cake! And my gosh, is it ever gorgeous! I’m just loving how moist it looks and that tahini frosting sounds perfect!

  • Reply Debs April 7, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Absolutely love this Thalia! Gorgeous work as always. x

  • Reply Julie's Family Kitchen April 7, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Wow, that’s a stunning cake and your pictures are gorgeous.

  • Reply Manali @ CookWithManali April 7, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Carrot cake is my absolute favorite and this looks gorgeous Thalia! I am so intrigued by the tahini frosting, have to give it a try!

  • Reply Lily Lau April 6, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    Looks super amazing! I’ve only tried carrot cakes at restaurants, and this one looks even better than those! Thank you so much for sharing 😀

  • Reply Rachael @ Love Yourself Green April 6, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    I forgot how gorgeous your photos are!! I’m glad you stopped by my blog the other day so I could be reminded to come check out the awesome stuff you’re doing over here! 😉 <3

  • Reply Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire April 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    This cake is gorgeous. I am sure I could eat that frostin with a spoon, it sounds marvelous! Hopefully the move is going smoothly for you and your cookbooks made it safe and sound to their new home!

  • Reply Oana@AdoreFoods April 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    I hope everything went well with your move! I totally understand not trusting the movers with such a special cargo 🙂 Your cake looks so scrumptious and perfect for Easter! I will try and make it this Sunday

  • Reply Harriet Emily April 6, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    This is a truly beautiful cake, Thalia! I love carrot cake, it’s a family favourite of ours too – it’s just such a classic! The tahini in the frosting is so inventive too, it sounds delicious! What a great idea, I’d never thought of using it in a frosting before, so your cake has definitely inspired me!! 🙂

  • Reply Christine // my natural kitchen April 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Carrot cake is the perfect Easter dessert to me. I made one too and my biggest regret is forgetting a leftover slice I had set aside in her fridge! I hope that you were able to enjoy the holiday. Good luck on your move!!

  • Reply Tina @ Just Putzing Around the Kitchen April 6, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Love this recipe!!! Carrot cake is my absolute favorite, and I’m thinking about making one for myself this month on my birthday…

  • Reply Mandie | Mandie's Kitchen April 6, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I really admire your photography style…it’s so clean, bright, simple, and SO elegant, Thalia! The simplicity of all your photos is gorgeous! This carrot cake looks divine!

  • Reply Marissa | Pinch and Swirl April 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Tahini? I love it!! What a gorgeous cake, Thalia. And so scandalous… 😉

  • Reply Tiffany April 6, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    I made this for Easter brunch and it was FANTASTIC!! The tahini took the cream cheese frosting to a whole new level of awesome. I sprinkled hemp seeds on the top for a little superfood boost. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I think I might go have another piece right now…

  • Reply Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat April 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Family recipes are the best! They have been tried on tons of people and perfected! And your photos are gorgeous! If I moved I wouldn’t be able to assemble a decent photo for awhile lol

  • Reply Liz April 6, 2015 at 12:11 am

    What a beauty! I love carrot cake and your 4 layer version looks fantastic! Good luck with your move!!!

  • Reply Tonya April 5, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    :Wow! Absolutely AMAZING! Now I have tahini on the brain-AGAIN! 🙂

  • Reply marcie April 5, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I hope your move goes very smoothly, Thalia, and that you’re settled in and baking in your new kitchen soon! This sky high carrot cake is so elegant, and I’m intrigued by the tahini in the frosting! 🙂

  • Reply allyson April 5, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Tahini?? wow, I don’t even eat cake and this has me excited. Also, I want to take pictures of cake after seeing these beautiful shots!

  • Reply Audrey @ Unconventional Baker April 5, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Tahini is the magic word — I’m sold ♥ This sounds delicious and looks fab as always!

  • Reply karrie @ Tasty Ever After April 5, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Love this! I can just imagine how good the carrot cake and sesame flavors must taste together. You are absolutely brilliant Thalia! Happy moving and happy Easter 🙂

  • Reply A Taste Of Madness April 5, 2015 at 12:10 am

    Carrot cake makes things SO much better! This is so gorgeous!

  • Reply June+Burns April 4, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Oh no I think I’m finally warming up to naked cakes haha! It’s so pretty, I think I will have to try this technique 🙂 Tahini frosting sounds like a welcome alternative to cream cheese frosting

  • Reply Beeta @ Mon Petit Four April 4, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Great idea with the addition of tahini, Thalia! And I’m definitely impressed with the height of this cake, especially since each layer is substantially thick…do you hold your breath when you assemble?? =D I know when I make my three layer cake I do since carrot cake is so incredibly moist and delicate! Beautiful job, and good luck with the move!

    P.S. I would move my own cookbooks too! 😉

  • Reply Jackie @theseasidebaker April 4, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I love naked cakes! This is gorgeous!

  • Reply Megan @ My Bacon-Wrapped Life April 4, 2015 at 5:53 am

    I love the idea of combining tahini with carrot cake! What a unique and fantastic-sounding flavor combo!!

  • Reply Sara April 4, 2015 at 5:50 am

    What a beautiful cake! The tahini frosting is so unique, I bet it’s really delicious.

  • Reply Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron April 4, 2015 at 2:30 am

    OK, I love carrot cake, but now I so have to try this tahini frosting…sounds amazing! Gorgeous photos, and gorgeous cake, and good luck with moving!!

  • Reply Matea April 4, 2015 at 1:42 am

    I don’t blame you for not letting anyone handle your cookbooks; some things are better done alone 😉
    But this cake, this cake is too awesome to not be shared! 🙂 Love the decorations!

  • Reply Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen April 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    What a beautiful carrot cake! Love that there is tahini in the frosting. Hope your move goes well!

  • Reply Suzy @ The Mediterranean Dish April 3, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    You still managed a beautiful cake even with the move! Love the tahini twist!
    Good luck with the move.

  • Reply Kari Peters April 3, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    I also think a good classic carrot cake tastes best without much extra fuss! I’m totally intrigued by the tahini frosting – I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply Brooke @ Chocolate + Marrow April 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Oh my gosh, I can totally identify with not wanting anyone else to touch my cookbooks. When we moved a year ago, we transitioned to a temporary place for 2 months while we house hunted. Most of our things were packed up by movers and went into storage for those 2 months, but my cookbooks, spices, and a few treasured kitchen items came with me. Actually, I had more boxes for the kitchen than I did for clothes/shoes! (Which, btw, turned out to be an issue and I eventually had to buy some clothes…#priorities.) But onto the cake! The layers on this cake are GORGEOUS and it sounds like the total perfection of a classic! Love it! xx

  • Reply Medha @ Whisk & Shout April 3, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Love the addition of tahini in the frosting… what a crazy awesome cake! Totally love all the layers 🙂

  • Reply Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog April 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    I’m making a gf carrot cake for Easter but I just might have to make your tahini cream cheese frosting! The tahini just sounds so perfect 🙂

  • Reply Laurel April 3, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Cream cheese + tahini = BRILLIANT!

  • Reply Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ April 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    My favorite cake beautifully prepared and shot! I’d love to try it with this slightly nutty frosting. Yum!

  • Reply Christina @ Bake with Christina April 3, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    That carrot cake looks absolutely stunning! Super delicious, and perfect for Easter!! Pinned 🙂

  • Reply Rachel @ Bakerita April 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I always adore your cake photos – so beautiful, and that cream cheese and tahini frosting sounds incredible!!

  • Reply Kelley @ Chef Savvy April 3, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    Beautiful pictures! This cake look so amazing! You always come up with the best ideas for desserts!

  • Reply Meagan @ The F&B Department April 3, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    This cake is a stunner! I love pecans in carrot cake batter. I’m sure the texture is amazing. And the tahini frosting is brilliant! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Reply Swati @ The Full-time Foodie April 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    This looks SO good! I wasn’t a fan of carrot cake when I was a kid but growing up I realized it’s actually delicious!! Coupled with this frosting I’m sure it’s even more delicious!

  • Reply Julie @ Cooks with Cocktails April 3, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Never would have thought to put tahini in frosting. I love frosting on my carrot cake but not too sweet. Im for sure going to try this one next time for my carrot cake or cupcakes 🙂 I love your cake stand btw, love the wooden stem.

  • Reply Kathleen | HapaNom April 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Oh Thalia, carrot cake is one of my very favorite desserts! I never in a million years would have thought to make tahini frosting – brilliant!

  • Reply Mike@TheIronYou April 3, 2015 at 10:59 am

    I need to try that tahini frosting, sounds amazing.
    Have a great weekend T!

  • Reply Arman @ thebigmansworld April 3, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Thalia, I have been obsessed with Tahini on overtly sweet foods lately- This looks amazing! hope the move goes well! 🙂

  • Reply Amanda April 3, 2015 at 7:27 am

    You’re on a roll! ♡♡

  • Reply April 3, 2015 at 6:28 am

    So many beautiful layers to that cake Thalia!

    Also, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to move my cook books so I’m totally with you there!! 😀

    Good luck with your move and you know that it’s an excuse to a make a “new house” cake too, don’t you? 😉

    • Reply thalia April 3, 2015 at 6:47 am

      Thanks Neil, you’ve read my mind!

  • Reply Sarah April 3, 2015 at 6:10 am

    This looks so amazing! Tahini frosting??? So interesting! Happy Easter and good luck with the move!

  • Reply Gourmet Getaways April 3, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Another lovely creation, as usual :). Nice layers!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

  • Reply Maggie April 3, 2015 at 4:35 am

    Good luck with the moving! I will have a big move this summer, to the other side of the world! I’m so worried about my plates and bowls. Really worried.
    The tahini frosting sounds amazing. I’d like to try out 🙂

  • Reply Amanda April 3, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Tahini frosting sounds amazing! I have to try this!!!

  • Reply Tiffany @ This Season's Table April 3, 2015 at 1:19 am

    I feel your pain with moving! Our big move is this Saturday, so Easter brunch will be much smaller this year. I also have my cookbooks set aside to take myself lol. I am not a stuff person, but definitely attached to my cookbooks! This carrot cake looks amazing and I may have to try and find time to sneak it in after we get in the house that night. LOVE the idea to add tahini to the frosting 😉 Good luck with your move!

  • Reply April 3, 2015 at 1:15 am

    Wow, great minds must think alike or something because I totally just made a naked carrot cake last weekend! I love yours, Thalia! I bet the tahini frosting is amazing with it!

  • Reply Analida April 3, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Tahini in the frosting? What a cool and different idea. your ideas and recipes are so unique.
    Good luck with your move.

  • Reply Teresa Blackburn April 3, 2015 at 12:40 am

    Lovely, lovely cake for an Easter celebration. Love how tall it is!

  • Reply All that's Jas April 3, 2015 at 12:30 am

    I love tahini and this cake looks and sounds amazing!

  • Reply Mary Ann @ the beach house kitchen April 2, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Thalia I love this one! Carrot Cake is a family favorite for us! I hope when I try this one mine turns out as beautiful as yours!

  • Reply Claudia @Breakfast Drama Queen April 2, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    I love carrot cake, and this one sounds delicious. And good luck with the move!

  • Reply Trish @ Well Worn Fork April 2, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Oh moving. It’s always a joy. Good luck! And this cake looks amazing.

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar April 2, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    You nailed this right down to the frosting. GORGEOUS!

  • Reply Chrissy April 2, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    This is beautiful and the tahini addition is brilliant. Good luck on the move!

  • Reply Karissa @ Vegan A La Mode April 2, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Wow Thalia, this looks incredible! My grandpa’s favorite kind of cake is carrot cake so I bet he would LOVE this! Your photography is so gorgeous too!

  • Reply OliveeKid April 2, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    This cake sounds so delicious and such a great twist of the frosting!

    OliveeKid x

  • Reply AIMEE@ twiggstudios April 2, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Wow looks beautiful xx

    • Reply thalia April 2, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      Thank you my dear x

  • Reply My Family Ties April 2, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    This looks totally amazing – what a showstopper! I love the sound of the tahini frosting too 🙂

    • Reply thalia April 2, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      It is an incredible frosting!

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