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Cream cheese frosted carrot cake decorated with chopped pecans and orange zest
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5 from 2 votes

Carrot Cake with Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting

This carrot cake is moist, perfectly spiced and topped with a creamy and delicious Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting. This is definitely the best carrot cake recipe ever!
Course Baking, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Carrot Cake, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting, The Best Carrot Cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Time for Cooling the Cakes 1 hour
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 785kcal


Equipment Needed

For the Cake

For the Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups powder sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grand marnier liquor
  • zest of 1 orange plus more for garnish


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Spray 3 (9-inch) round baking pans with non stick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
  • In another bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and oil just until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla and Grand Marnier until combined. 
  • Add in the flour mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the carrots, crushed pineapple and chopped pecans until well blended. Don't over mix the batter.
  • Distribute the batter evenly into 3 (9-inch) round baking pans. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 40-50 minutes or until the cake is fully set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool cakes in the pans for about 1 hour.

For the Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and powder sugar. Add the Grand Marnier and orange zest and mix for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.

Assemble the Cake

  • When completely cool, remove the cake layers from the pans. Place one layer on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, spread a quarter of the frosting over the top of the layer, taking care to spread it all the way to the edges. Top with a cake layer and repeat with the frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and smooth the remaining frosting neatly over the top. Garnish the top with orange zest.


  • Use parchment paper to line the cake pans, then grease the pan including the parchment paper bottoms with cooking spray.
  • Use freshly grated carrots for best texture and to keep the cake moist.
  • Use walnuts instead of pecans, if preferred.
  • This cake can be made ahead of time. It usually tastes better the second day in my opinion.
  • For the frosting, replace Grand Marnier with orange juice, if preferred.
  • If you want to omit the Grand Marnier in the cake batter, simply skip it.


Calories: 785kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 518mg | Potassium: 460mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 69g | Vitamin A: 8250IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 165mg | Iron: 2.9mg