Love the flavors of carrot cake? Try ’em in ice cream! This Carrot Cake Ice Cream is extra creamy and packed with all of the baking spices found in a classic carrot cake.
I’ve always loved ice cream with various things mixed in. Crushed Oreos? Absolutely! (In fact, make it 2 handfuls of crushed Oreos.) Nuts? Sure! Cinnamon? Well, perhaps. I mean I did have a fantastic cinnamon chip ice cream one time. Raisins? Ummm, maybe? Shredded carrots? Ok, what’s going on here?
What’s going on here is this Carrot Cake Ice Cream. It might sound strange, but it’s absolutely delicious! I’ve always loved mashing two types of recipes together – like this ice cream. It’s all of the flavors in carrot cake…just in creamy ice cream form.
Carrot Cake Ice Cream
As I set out to make this ice cream, I started with my go-to vanilla ice cream recipe. I reduced the sugar in the base slightly, but only because there’s an extra bit of brown sugar that gets added at the end. Other than that, it’s a pretty straightforward combination of vanilla ice cream and all of the ingredients in a classic carrot cake.
Cream cheese. I admit that it’s a bit odd to put cream cheese in ice cream. However, carrot cakes are almost always paired with a good cream cheese frosting. Therefore, I had to figure out how to get the cream cheese flavor into this ice cream. The answer? Blending softened cream cheese right into the ice cream base!
The most amazing thing happened when I added cream cheese to this ice cream – it turned into the creamiest ice cream I’ve ever eaten. I mean that shouldn’t be a surprise, right? It is cream cheese, after all! I knew I wanted the cream cheese flavor, but the creamy texture was a bonus that I hadn’t anticipated.
I know carrot cake is one of those things where folks have differing opinions. For me, I like my carrot cakes with walnuts and golden raisins, so I included both of those in this recipe. Feel free to make adjustments to the mix-ins here, though. Do you like carrot cake with bits of pineapple? Add those in! (I would recommend cooking the pineapple bits with the carrots + brown sugar, though.) Shredded coconut is another common addition to carrot cake. Toss a handful into this ice cream!
No matter what mix-ins you prefer in your carrot cake, I promise this ice cream will be a big hit. The creamy base alone is amazing, and I could’ve eaten it plain – but then again, ice cream is always better with mix-ins! I hope you enjoy this ice cream as much as we did!
Did you make this Carrot Cake Ice Cream at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see what mix-ins you include in your version!
Carrot Cake Ice Cream
- 1¼ cups half-and-half
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 8 oz. cream cheese cut into 1” pieces
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1½ cups grated carrots ~3 large carrots
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts lightly toasted
- Using a medium saucepan, add half-and-half and place over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally, until half-and-half just begins to simmer.
- Meanwhile, using a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until well blended.
- Gradually pour the heated half-and-half into the egg yolk mixture; whisking vigorously the entire time.
- Transfer this mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens noticeably and coats a wooden spoon. (~4-6 minutes).
- Once the custard mixture has thickened, remove from heat and add the heavy cream; stir until well combined.
- Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container.
- Add cream cheese, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Using a hand mixer, beat until well combined. (Note: If a few small pieces of cream cheese remain, don’t worry!)
- Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface of the mixture, and refrigerate at least 3 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Using a small saucepan, add butter and brown sugar; place over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally until both butter and brown sugar have melted.
- Add grated carrots and raisins; stir until well combined. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Stir carrot/raisin mixture and chopped walnuts into the chilled ice cream base mixture.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. (Note: For a softer ice cream, serve immediately. For a harder ice cream, transfer mixture into a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3-4 hours.)
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