Carrot Cake Recipe with Pecans

Cakes, trifles, tiramisù, oh my!


These locals have created swoon-worthy desserts that steal the spotlight with their impressive layers and stunning presentation. Create your own sweet masterpiece using their tried-and-true recipes. 


By Mary Beth Wallace / Photography by Emily Long

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Alesha Manning's Carrot Cake with Candied Bourbon pecans


Alesha Manning’s

Carrot Cake with Candied Bourbon Pecans


Alesha Manning

Totto and Zaya web ad


Alesha Manning's Carrot Cake with Candied Bourbon pecans

Carrot Cake with Candied Bourbon Pecans

Alesha Manning
Course Dessert
Cuisine Southern
Servings 8 servings


  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Woodford Reserve Bourbon (can sub vanilla extract)
  • 3 cups carrots, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup pitted dates, chopped

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 tbsp butter, room temperature and cubed by tbsp
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp milk or cream

For the candied bourbon pecans:

  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tbsp Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease three 8-inch round pans and line with parchment paper, then grease parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  • Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer (or in a large bowl using a hand mixer), beat the vegetable oil and olive oil with both sugars until thoroughly combined.
  • Add the eggs, incorporating one at a time. Beat well.
  • Add the Woodford Reserve Bourbon. Fold in the carrots, pecans, and dates until combined. Combine the wet mixture with the flour mixture.
  • Bake in prepared cake pans for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pans, and then cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting:

  • In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip cream cheese and butter until light and a bit fluffy. One cup at a time, add sifted powdered sugar. Continue to whisk and add vanilla extract and cream. Set aside.

For the bourbon pecans:

  • Mix all ingredients together and let pecans sit in bourbon mixture for 30 minutes. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread pecans on baking sheet and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and separate pecans with a fork while hot. Allow to cool completely.

To assemble:

  • Ice cake with cream cheese frosting. Decorate with bourbon pecans and fresh flowers.
Keyword bourbon, candied bourbon pecans, carrot cake, carrot cake recipe, carrot cake with candied bourbon pecans recipe, cream cheese frosting, cream cheese icing, edible flowers, layered cake, layered dessert recipe, pecans
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