This Pistachio Carrot Cake with Chai Buttercream is an elevated version of the much-beloved classic dessert. The cake is moist and light with plenty of shredded carrots and pineapple. Studded with bits of pistachio that adds both a nutty flavor and a textural surprise. Then, the whole cake is coated in a chai spiced cream cheese buttercream frosting.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- The carrot cake is moist and spongey with a hint of cinnamon
- Chopped pistachios throughout the cake adds flavor and texture
- Chai spiced buttercream frosting is not overly sweet so the chai flavors can really come through
How To Make Pistachio Carrot Cake with Chai Buttercream
Note: Full list of ingredients, their amounts, and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with butter or spray. Line the bottoms of each pan with a round piece of parchment and grease the parchment.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, and crushed pineapple until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just they're combined.
Mix in the shredded carrots and chopped pistachios.
Evenly divide the batter between the 3 pans and bake until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans, usually 1 to 2 hours.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until well combined. Then, add the powdered sugar, chai spices, and vanilla extract and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Spread the frosting on top of the first cake layer, then top with the second cake, another layer of buttercream, and finally the top cake.
Apply a thin layer of frosting all over the cake to create a crumb coat. The cake should still be visible. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Apply the rest of the buttercream to the cake. If you want, add some chopped pistachios around the base of the cake for decoration.
Tips & Tricks
- Freshly grate your carrots. The shredded carrots that come in a bag at the store are too thick and also tend to be dry. It's worth it to grate your own. I like to use a box grater for this.
- Chop the pistachios to whatever size you prefer
- While it isn't required to do the crumb coating, it does make the final cake look nicer. I also find it's easier to frost the cake when it has the crumb coating and has been chilled.
The leftover cake can be kept out of the fridge in an airtight container or on a cake stand under the dome for a day or so but should be refrigerated if kept longer.
You can also freeze slices of the cake individually wrapped in plastic for up to 3 months.
More Desserts You'll Love!
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Pistachio Carrot Cake with Chai Buttercream
Pistachio Carrot Cake
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs room temp
- 8 ounces crushed pineapples in juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups freshly grated carrots about 2 to 3 large carrots
- 1 cup shelled lightly salted pistachios finely chopped
- 8 ounces unsalted butter softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teapoons cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Pistachio Carrot Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch cake pans with butter or spray. Then, line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, oil, eggs, pineapple, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.
- Add the carrots and pistachios and mix until combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center is cooked through and a toothpick comes out clean. *See note below.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely in the cake pans.
Make the Chai Buttercream and Frost the Cake
- To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together until combined.
- Add the powdered sugar, spices, and vanilla extract and whip on medium-high until the buttercream is light and airy, about 5 minutes.
- Place one layer of cake on a stand or plate. Spread buttercream evenly over the top. Then, repeat with the next layer of cake and frosting. And finally, the top layer of cake.
- Apply a thin layer of frosting to the top and sides, smoothing it out as you work to create a crumb coat. Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Finish frosting the cake with the rest of the buttercream, applying an even layer all over.
- Optional: Decorate with extra chopped pistachios around the base of the cake.