Carrot Cake with Miso Cream Cheese Frosting

Cookbook author and cooking teacher Sonoko Sakai extends her passion for miso to this cake recipe. She explains, "When I moved to Los Angeles from Tokyo, my mother took us to a diner where she ordered us carrot cake for the first time. She was always encouraging us to try things, but a vegetable cake? I was skeptical at first, but when I took the first bite, I fell in love. Soon, I began making my own. I'd never baked with any of these ingredients before, so I felt a little more American every time. Later in my life, the Japanese in me wondered about adding miso to the frosting—after all, mochi sweets are often flavored with miso. I found it offsets the sweetness and gives it a punch of umami. I like to use both white and red miso. Since the flavor of miso varies, start small, taste and adjust to suit your palate."

Carrot Cake with Miso Cream Cheese Frosting
Photo: Rick Poon
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
Nutrition Profile:



  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature

  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • cup coconut oil, melted

  • 2 cups grated carrots

  • ½ cup walnuts, toasted, plus more for garnish (optional)


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1 - 2 tablespoons red miso

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and coat it with cooking spray.

  2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat eggs, buttermilk, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in coconut oil in a slow stream. Whisk in the flour mixture in 3 additions; beat until just combined. Fold in carrots and walnuts (if using). Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

  3. Bake the cake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 50 minutes. Peel off the parchment paper.

  4. To prepare frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter and miso to taste in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat until combined, about 30 seconds more. Frost the cooled cake. Garnish with walnuts, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

317 Calories
16g Fat
41g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Serving Size 1 piece
Calories 317
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 29g
Added Sugars 27g 54%
Protein 4g 8%
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 56mg 19%
Sodium 337mg 15%
Potassium 150mg 3%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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