Carrot Cake Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Frosting Swirl

Carrot Cake Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Frosting Swirl

It’s almost time to pack up the ice cream maker and start cranking up the oven, but I wanted to share this summer-to-fall transition ice cream that really does taste like carrot cake.  We got a bunch of beautifully sweet little carrots from the C.S.A., and carrot cake is Harrison’s favorite dessert, so…it seemed logical.

To make this I shredded the carrots and cooked them in a mixture of water, orange juice, vanilla, and sugar, resulting in little shreds of slightly-crunchy, carroty-jam-like goodness.  I added in cinnamon and five spice powder (you could substitute a mix of ginger and nutmeg if you don’t have five spice around), and toasted up some walnut pieces to add to the mix.  The C.S.A. carrots were super sweet, so if you are using older, grocery-store carrots you might want to up the sugar to 2/3 of a cup.

Check out that cream cheese swirl…

While the ice cream was freezing in our Cuisinart ice cream maker, I made the swirl by stirring together some light cream cheese (not as much to save calories–not much point here–but because it is softer in texture when frozen than regular cream cheese) with powdered sugar and vanilla.  I like big “swirls” in my ice cream, so I used eight ounces of cream cheese.  You could cut back, but really, why?  You are eating carrot cake ice cream.  Go for the big swirl.  Here is the recipe and technique:

Carrot Cake Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Frosting Swirl
2 cups grated fresh carrot
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2-2/3 cup of sugar, depending on the sweetness of the carrots
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon five spice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
3 egg yolks
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted
8 ounces light cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a medium saucepan, stir together the grated carrot, water, orange juice, two teaspoons of vanilla, salt, sugar, cinnamon, and five spice.  Bring the mixture to a low boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about fifteen minutes, or until the liquid is almost completely evaporated and the remainder is syrupy.  You want minimal liquid so the ice cream has a good finished texture.

While the carrot mixture is cooking, whisk together the heavy cream, half and half, egg yolks, and cornstarch until the egg yolks are fully incorporated.  When the carrot mixture is completely reduced, whisk the cream mixture into the carrots and cook at a simmer until it begins to thicken.  It should be the texture of a thin white sauce/should easily coat the back of a spoon.  Cool this mixture completely (I let it cool down a bit and then stick it in the fridge for an hour or so).

Load the chilled ice cream base in your ice cream maker and let it churn.  In a medium mixing bowl or a stand mixer, mix the cream cheese, remaining vanilla, and powdered sugar to form the frosting.

When the ice cream is mounding up nicely in the freezer and is ready to eat, drop in the walnuts to let them mix in.  Scoop the ice cream into a freezer-safe container, dropping in spoonfuls of the cream cheese frosting as you go.  When all of the ice cream and cream cheese frosting is in the container, use a butter knife to gently swirl them together.  Freeze to “cure” the ice cream for a few hours, or eat in its beautifully goopy, soft-serve state right away.  Or both.  Your call.

It’s loaded with carrots, so let’s call this health food.

Thanks for reading,


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  1. Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes. Would love to make this!

  2. Kathy - Panini Happy

    That's pretty genius! I just made carrot cake this past weekend, an ice cream version sounds terrific.

  3. Well, I finally found an ice cream freezer that was cheap enough for me to buy. I'm going to have to add this to the "to make" list when I finally get it up and running. What a clever recipe. Love it.

  4. I don't know how you thought of it but, I'm glad you did! I'll have to make this sooner than later 🙂

  5. Thanks all! And Karen, glad you finally found a freezer–we have become ice cream-aholics around here, but I guess there are worse things.

  6. marla {family fresh cooking}

    Now this is a bowl of ice cream i would LOVE to get my hands on. Addicted to anything that suggests carrot cake 🙂

  7. I don't have an ice cream maker, but you sure make me long for one. I LOVE the creativity of this flavor. Yum!

  8. Thank you Marla and Carolyn!

  9. Really unique, and looks and sounds delish!

  10. How much does this recipe make?

    1. It makes about a quart–a little more.

  11. Such a creative idea! I love carrot cake, so I bet this is just amazing!

  12. I made this for an “ice cream social” this weekend and it was a big hit. I took the liberty to add a half cup of crushed pineapple and some raisins. Delicious.

    1. Oh, that sounds incredible. So glad it was a hit! I will definitely try it with the additions.

  13. […] of my most popular older recipes is Carrot Cake Ice Cream with Cream Cheese Frosting Swirl, and it is popular for a great reason: it tastes like frozen carrot cake!  Hard to go wrong there. […]

  14. I used this recipe to make in school. We all agreed that it tastes amazing, but suprisingly with all of the carrot, we thought it taste like pumpkin pie instead of carrot cake. I even doubled the recipe and almosted used 1.5 lbs of grated carrots.

    1. Kadi, I had a similar experience with some store-bought carrots, so I think that it works best with really fresh, young carrots.

  15. […] recipes coming later) // 30 minute posole // chicken salad // healthier cake // loosely followed this recipe for carrot cake ice cream – just added the syrup part to our usual vanilla, and blended it // baklava pull apart bread […]

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