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+ servings
Slices of mini carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

One Layer High Altitude Mini Carrot Cake

Heather Smoke
An incredibly moist mini carrot cake, frosted with spiced brown butter cream cheese frosting, that's just big enough for a few people.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • Electric Mixer (Stand or Hand-Held)



  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup carrots, peeled and finely grated (2 1/4 ounces)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup whole buttermilk, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • ¾ tsp baking powder
  • tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • tsp ground cloves
  • tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)


  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar



  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray the bottom of one 6-inch cake pan with non-stick baking spray.
    TIP: You can also bake the batter in an 8-inch round cake pan or 8-inch square baking dish. The cake will bake more quickly in the 8-inch pans, so start checking for doneness after about 20 minutes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the melted butter, grated carrots, oil, buttermilk, granulated sugar, brown sugar, egg and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and pecans.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk for 10-15 seconds until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center oven rack for about 30-35 minutes, until the top springs back when gently touched, and a sharp knife or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs clinging to it.
    The cake will be slightly cracked on top, with a deep brown golden crust. The crust will seem a bit crisp at first, but will soften as the cake cools, especially once you add the frosting.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the side of the pan and turn the cake out onto a cooling rack. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely before frosting.


  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Continue cooking, swirling occasionally, until nutty brown solids form on the bottom of the pan.  Immediately scrape the butter and the browned bits into a mixing bowl. Let cool at room temperature for about an hour while the cake cools, until the butter starts to solidify again.
  • To the browned butter, add the cream cheese, salt, vanilla bean paste and spices. Use an electric mixer to beat for 2 minutes, until well combined and fluffy.
  • Add the powdered sugar, and beat for several more minutes until fluffy.
    Note: This frosting recipe makes a softer frosting, that isn't firm enough for stacking a layered cake. For a thicker frosting that can hold up to stacking layers, you need to add more powdered sugar.
  • Frost the cooled cake with the frosting, and serve.


Leftover cake should be kept refrigerated, in an airtight container or cake carrier, for up to 3 days.  Bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
Keyword Brown Butter, Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting, High Altitude, Mini Cake
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