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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: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


  • 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.

Nutritional Facts

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

Reviews for Surprise Carrot Cake

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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!!"

jensweetser User ID: 4168486 90413
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!"

quiltingstitcher User ID: 4596769 32662
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."

KathyMN User ID: 4339009 204486
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!"

magnumsmom User ID: 7619584 33160
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!"

BeckysKitchen User ID: 6457447 50119
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..."

nickijen User ID: 7664581 109578
Reviewed Feb. 11, 2014

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

CrazyIntensity User ID: 7401886 109576
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"

chloedog01 User ID: 7182398 31809
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?"

bjblake User ID: 6642459 81357
Reviewed Apr. 14, 2012

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

toughnut User ID: 6052911 32661
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!"

chiefs35 User ID: 5577590 89574
Reviewed May. 25, 2011

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

elbay User ID: 2026190 31808
Reviewed Jun. 16, 2010

"[quote user="[email protected]"]

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. :-)

babbikahan User ID: 4338757 109567
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."

[email protected] User ID: 1655910 31806
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.)"

ErinBarksdale User ID: 1428214 92373
Reviewed Jul. 6, 2009

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

elbay User ID: 2026190 89573
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!"

buddy4 User ID: 1255803 204485
Reviewed Jun. 20, 2008

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

Julie Davidson User ID: 3099472 38279
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2008

"This sounds soo good. Thanks, Julie"

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