Carrot-Apple Spice Cake with Browned-Butter Glaze

Carrot-Apple Spice Cake with Browned-Butter Glaze Recipe

Photo: Johnny Miller; Styling: Sarah Smart

We challenged ourselves to come up with a showstopping dessert that uses boxed cake mix as a starting point--and we succeeded. Fresh carrot and apple plus a splash of bourbon boost the flavor of the layers, while the browned-butter glaze is, well, the wildly delicious icing on the cake.


Serves 16 (serving size: 1 piece)
Total time: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes

Recipe from

Cooking Light

Recipe Time

Hands-on: 30 Minutes
Total: 1 Hour, 30 Minutes

Nutritional Information

Calories 294
Fat 12 g
Satfat 3.7 g
Monofat 5 g
Polyfat 1.7 g
Protein 3.6 g
Carbohydrate 43.7 g
Fiber 0.6 g
Cholesterol 45 mg
Iron 0.8 mg
Sodium 259 mg
Calcium 86 mg


1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons bourbon
3 large eggs
1 (18.25-ounce) box spice cake mix (such as Duncan Hines)
1 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated peeled Honeycrisp apple (or any sweet-tart apple)
Baking spray with flour
1/4 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
2 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dash of salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. To prepare cake, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed for 1 minute or until well combined. Add cake mix to buttermilk mixture; beat at medium speed 1 minute or until well blended. Stir in carrot and apple until just combined. Divide batter evenly among 3 (8-inch) round cake pans coated with baking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans; cool completely on wire rack.

3. To prepare glaze, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat; cook 6 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Cool slightly. Combine browned butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed 2 minutes or until smooth.

4. To assemble cake, place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread 1/4 cup glaze over cake layer. Top with second layer and spread with 1/4 cup glaze. Top with third layer. Stir the remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar into remaining glaze. Spread remaining glaze over top of cake. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Sidney Fry, MS, RD,

Cooking Light

November 2013
My Notes

Only you will be able to view, print, and edit this note.

Add Note