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the top of a frosted carrot cake with toasted shredded coconut forming a nest for three blue candy coated chocolate candies

Coconut Rum Soaked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Author: Heidi Clark~ Yums & Kisses
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: serves 8 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Coconut Rum Soaked Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! Perfect for a small Easter gathering or celebrating a special someone’s {21 and over!} birthday! Sweet and spicy layers of moist cake packed full of pineapple, coconut, grated carrots, and chopped toasted walnuts. Each baked cake layer is brushed with coconut rum syrup, stacked, and frosted with a rich coconut rum-infused cream cheese frosting! 




For the Coconut Rum Syrup:

1/4 cup coconut rum

1/4 cup granulated sugar

For the Carrot Cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 Tablespoon dry vanilla instant pudding mix

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg {at room temperature}

1 large egg yolk {at room temperature}

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons full-fat sour cream

3/4 cup loosely packed grated carrot

1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple packed in juice, drained

For the Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 cup butter, softened

16 ounces full-fat cream cheese {use block not tub cream cheese}, softened

pinch of fine sea salt

5 cups sifted powdered sugar {sift then measure!}

2 teaspoons coconut rum

For the Toasted Coconut “Nest”:

a few handfuls of shredded sweetened coconut flakes

three blue Cadbury Mini Egg candies


For the Coconut Rum Syrup:

Combine the sugar and rum in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture is warmed and the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat. Cool and transfer to a small jar and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the cake.

For the Toasted Walnuts:

Place the walnuts on a cookie tray and bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until golden and toasted. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack while you measure and prepare the remaining ingredients.

For the Coconut Nest:

Place the coconut onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes for 10-15 minutes. Or until golden brown. Immediately transfer the coconut to a large plate to stop the browning process. 

For the Carrot Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Butter and flour two round six-inch cake pans. Line each with a parchment round.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and dry pudding mix. Add the cooled and chopped toasted walnuts and coconut. Whisk again.
  • Using a stand mixer, place the egg, egg yolk, and sugar into the mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until pale and thick. This only takes about a minute. Don’t overmix, or the cake could collapse.
  • With the mixer running, slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
  • Add the flour mixture and remaining ingredients in this order:
  • a third of the flour
  • sour cream
  • half of the remaining flour
  • drained pineapple
  • the remaining flour
  • stir in the carrots
  • Mix on low speed until thoroughly combined, and no dry streaks of flour are present.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans. Pick each pan up and lightly tap on the counter to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake is clean with a few moist crumbs clinging to it when removed.
  • Transfer cakes to a wire cooling rack. 
  • Immediately brush the cake layers with the cold coconut rum syrup. The layers will immediately drink up the syrup as you brush it on. You won’t use all of the syrup. Store the remaining syrup in the refrigerator for up to a week, if you like. I won’t tell if you drizzle it on your morning pancakes!
  • When the pans are cool enough to handle {10 minutes or so} remove the cakes from the pans and allow them to completely cool before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Place the softened butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl. Using the paddle attachment, mix the butter,  cream cheese, and salt on medium speed until smooth. 
  • Scrape the bowl down.
  • Add a third of the sifted powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  • Scrape the bowl again.
  • Add half of the remaining powdered sugar. Mix again until smooth.
  • Add the remaining powdered sugar and coconut rum. Mix until smooth.
  • If the frosting is a little on the soft side and you would like to use it for piping, place the frosting in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes to firm up.

To assemble the cake:

  • Put a small dollop of frosting in the middle of the serving plate you are using for the cake. This becomes the glue that holds the cake in place while frosting. Place one cake layer on the plate. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cake layer from the fridge and slather a generous amount of frosting on top.
  • Flip the second cake layer over. Place it onto the frosted layer so that the bottom of the cake is now on top. This will provide an even top surface suitable for decorating.
  • Frost the cake from the bottom to the top.
  •  Decorate by mounding a handful of toasted coconut on top. Nest three blue candy-coated chocolates into the coconut. Slice and Serve. Or chill for several hours for the easiest slicing.
  • You can skip the coconut nest and chocolate eggs if you prefer and pipe the desired designs with the remaining frosting.


  • If serving this cake to an underage crowd, omit the coconut rum syrup and replace the coconut rum in the frosting with vanilla extract.
  • Always sift the powdered sugar for the frosting. Lumpy sugar= Lumpy frosting. Sift the powdered sugar for the frosting before measuring.
  • Store leftover Coconut Rum Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting in the refrigerator for up to five days.  It can also be frozen for up to three months. You may store leftover cream cheese frosting the same way. 
  • To use frozen cream cheese frosting another time, place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day bring it to room temperature and mix in a stand mixer. 
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: carrot cake, coconut, rum, layer cake