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Surprise Carrot Cake Recipe

Surprise Carrot Cake Recipe

A cousin gave me this carrot cake recipe. It's a wonderful potluck pleaser with its "surprise" cream cheese center. My husband and our two young children love it, too! —Lisa Bowen, Little Britian, Ontario
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 55 min. YIELD:12-16 servings


  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar


  • 1. In a large bowl, beat the carrots, sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually beat into carrot mixture until blended. Stir in the pecans. Pour 3 cups batter into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan.
  • 2. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg. Spoon over batter. Top with remaining batter.
  • 3. Bake at 350° for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 4. For frosting, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar until smooth. Frost cake. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 12-16 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 slice) equals 570 calories, 30 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 92 mg cholesterol, 442 mg sodium, 71 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein.

Reviews for Surprise Carrot Cake

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Reviewed Jan. 24, 2016

"Absolutely delicious. The reason for 4 stars instead of 4: The filling didn't stay in the cake, kind of emerged in the surface - but it might have been my mistake, maybe I made it too liquidy. Next time I would make less frosting, it is delicious but when used on the cake it's a little bit too thick."

Reviewed Jul. 1, 2015

"My husband took this cake to work and the next food sharing day he came home with a request for another one. I find it easiest to make the "surprise" by putting it in a plastic bag, cutting off the corner and piping it."

Reviewed Jun. 18, 2015

"I also made this for Easter. It is delicious!!"

Reviewed May. 6, 2014

"Made this for

Easter it was great!"

Reviewed Apr. 21, 2014

"This cake part of this cake came out fantastic!! I changed it a bit, by changing the amount of carrot from 3 to 2 cups and added 1 cups of really drained well crushed pineapple. It was so moist! The chopped toasted pecans were perfect in it! I only give it 4 stars because the cream cheese center had a strange texture - it was very holey ( bubbly sort of), not a creamy texture at all? Does any one know why this would happen? - The frosting was amazing and everyone loved the cake!!! BTW _ I followed the directions about oil & flour in the pan and mine came out very easily too! No sticking!!"

Reviewed Apr. 20, 2014

"The flavor of this cake is a 5-star, but, as other commenters said, this cake has a major sticking problem! I read the reviews and should have just used shortening and flour as everyone noted, but I was using a silicone bundt pan and though Pam spray would be sufficient. I was wrong. The cake stuck horribly and I ended up with a presentation that was embarrassing. I would most definitely make this cake again, but next time I will use shortening and flour and purchase a new bundt pan!"

Reviewed Apr. 19, 2014

"Very moist and delicious a big hit with hubby and myself. Shared some with a neighbor and she said "it's a keeper". No problem with getting it out of the Bundt pan at all I let it cool for 10 minutes then flipped it onto a plate to cool."

Reviewed Apr. 19, 2014 Edited Apr. 21, 2014

"I had a problem getting this out of the pan, too. I greased it well and floured it so I don't know what went wrong. But, I was able to put the broken piece back on and it still looks good. If it tastes half as good as it smelled while it was baking then I will try it again.

My family said this was amazing! Will definitely make again!"

Reviewed Mar. 7, 2014

"I sell at a Farmer's Market and my customers prefer walnuts in their carrot cakes, but pecans work too. Just using PAM as a releasing agent won't work. You must use a brand with FLOUR in it. GFS carries the best I have ever used. A large can at a reasonable price. This recipe can also be used in mini loaf pans and as muffins. It freezes very well and if possible, is even more moist!"

Reviewed Mar. 3, 2014

"It has been my experience with fluted bundt cake pans that PAM does not work well. The only way I have been able to keep the cake from sticking was to grease with crisco shortening and flour liberally. Hope this helps chloedog01. Great carrot cake! Have Fun Cooking..."

Reviewed Feb. 11, 2014

"The best carrot cake that is all I can say!"

Reviewed Sep. 10, 2013

"I didn't add the cream cheese "Surprise" but it was still a VERY good carrot cake. I will be making it again! :D"

Reviewed Mar. 18, 2013

"The recipe was easy to follow and very tasty, but the cake stuck in the pan when I tried to remove it from the pan. I don't understand why. Is it because I used spray Pam and not oil?"

Reviewed Apr. 14, 2012

"This is one of the best carrot cake recipes I've made ! Very moist and simple."

Reviewed Oct. 19, 2011

"I have made this carrot cake several times and it immediately becomes every ones favorite. I have misplaced my magazine w/this recipe and have been tearing apart my recipe stash looking for it. Thankfully found it on line! Makig it again this week!"

Reviewed May. 25, 2011

"This cake was so moist and delicious! It's one of my sister's favorites."

Reviewed Jun. 16, 2010

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This cake was delicious. I made it for a friend's birthday and everyone was amazed by how moist it was. (The surprise filling in my cake was only a thin strip, unlike the large circle in the picture, but it was still delicious.)
That happened to me the first time I made it.  Now when I make the filling, I chill it for 30 minutes BEFORE spooning it over the batter. Chilling it makes it firmer, so it doesn't mix with the rest of the batter.  I end up with a nice circle of filling in the middle. :-)

Reviewed May. 23, 2010

"The cake was yummy but I wish there would be better instructions for how to get that pretty surprise center. When I made it, it mostly just disappeared into the cake or floated to the top of the pan in a few places."

Reviewed Nov. 7, 2009

"This cake was delicious. I made it for a friend's birthday and everyone was amazed by how moist it was. (The surprise filling in my cake was only a thin strip, unlike the large circle in the picture, but it was still delicious.)"

Reviewed Jul. 6, 2009

"The whole cake was gone the first night I made it - everyone came back for seconds or thirds!"

Reviewed Sep. 14, 2008

"AWESOME! I've made it several times and whenever I bring it to a friend's house, they say "this is the best carrot cake I've ever had." Many carrot cakes taste a lot like a spice cake, but this one doesn't. It's incredibly moist and flavorful!"

Reviewed Jun. 20, 2008

"Absolutely Wonderfully delicious. Thanks. The cream cheese center is a nice surprise when you first cut it."

Reviewed Jun. 19, 2008

"This sounds soo good. Thanks, Julie"

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