Surprise Carrot Cake Recipe
Surprise Carrot Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Surprise Carrot Cake Recipe

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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
Featured In: 21 Easter Cake Recipes
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 55 min.
MAKES:16 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 55 min.
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large 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 large egg
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 570 calories, 30g fat (10g saturated fat), 92mg cholesterol, 442mg sodium, 71g carbohydrate (55g sugars, 2g fiber), 6g protein.


  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: 16 servings.
Originally published as Surprise Carrot Cake in Country Woman September/October 2001, p29

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Mininunu User ID: 8844194 264922
Reviewed Apr. 20, 2017

"This was the best carrot cake I ever had/made. I used walnuts instead of pecans, just because I prefer them. I also added a teaspoon of vanilla to the cake batter. My only problem was that the tunnel was not nearly as defined as shown, it also mostly floated to the top (which became the bottom, once inverted). Absolutely delicious, though. Thank you Lisa."

jjjppp User ID: 3924413 264613
Reviewed Apr. 13, 2017 Edited Apr. 18, 2017

"I often make it for my husband's birthday, as it is one of his favorites. I usually don't change it except to add a tsp. of vanilla. I use Baker's Joy on my aluminum bundt pan and don't have a problem with it sticking. The recipe says to grease and flour."

sonya_m35 User ID: 86354 255209
Reviewed Oct. 9, 2016

"Delicious and very easy! Usually I like to make a recipe as stated for the first time. I made 2 small changes. I added vanilla and I added some brown sugar instead of all whit sugar. Excellent!"

Titan Tyler User ID: 8945982 254947
Reviewed Oct. 2, 2016

"LOVE this cake

This is going to sound stupid,but my cakes kept sticking in my bundt pan, only my bundt pan, so i bought a new one thinking my bundt pan was so old. New pan stuck too/Was talking to my 89 year old Granny and she said, silly, even though you flour or sugar your spray, it may still stick. She said remember when PAM 1st came out? There was 1 kind...PAM. Now they have 7-10 kinds, different oils etc, but they all say cooking spray. She said if you buy baking SPRAY, you wont have that problem. I thought she was nuts, but bought a can of Baker's Joy, baking Spray with flour....And it works everytime. I even bought a square detailed bundt pan you cant run a knife around the edges, still comes out everytime."

keychain2016 User ID: 8782901 244392
Reviewed Feb. 24, 2016

"Boobeau 5105 If you add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of flour, enough to stiffen it up a little for the cream cheese filling, the texture will be much better and stay in place instead of rising to the top. Just a suggestion."

Ania_the_baker User ID: 8712903 242456
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."

louisezem User ID: 820362 228831
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."

icunrse User ID: 6357713 228137
Reviewed Jun. 18, 2015

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

tsuecollins User ID: 4186164 109579
Reviewed May. 6, 2014

"Made this for

Easter it was great!"

boobeau5105 User ID: 3532001 31810
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!!"

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