Donuts and Bread, Favorites

Chai Carrot Loaf With Browned Butter Icing

I know what you’re thinking, “I want a slice of this right now!!” We’re right there with you! This chai carrot loaf may be the next best fall recipe and hey, it could be perfect for any season. The warm chai flavors pair perfectly with the carrot and then of course topped with those big swoops of browned butter cream cheese icing. I mean, there’s almost no words!

Uuuuggh, all these fall recipes are just making me feel all warm and ready for the holidays, even though I know after the 3rd day of below freezing, I’ll be ready for summer again. I love the snow, but only for a few days. There’s something about warm desserts that are homemade, it’s just so inviting and comforting.

How to make the loaf

Now, sometimes loaves can be intimidating because there are so many ingredients, can be under baked because they’re so dense, but don’t worry, this chai carrot loaf is the least of your worries.

  1. Whisk together your dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, baking powder, and chai spices.
  2. In another bowl, beat your sugar and oil. Next, beat in your eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. Next, you’ll alternately add your dry ingredients to the egg mixture with the buttermilk. Be careful not to overmix.
  4. Bake!
  5. While the loaf is baking, we’ll make the browned butter icing because it will have to cool. Add butter to a medium pot and begin to brown.
  6. Once browned, add to a bowl and let chill until the browned butter is like softened butter.
  7. Beat the browned butter and cream cheese in a bowl. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until creamy.
  8. Swoop the icing on top of the cooled loaf and garnish with chopped pecans.

Ingredients you need

  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Chai spice
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Olive Oil – Instead of butter, we’re using olive oil, which will enhance the flavor but also keep the loaf moist.
  • Buttermilk
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Carrots
  • Butter
  • Cream Cheese
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Pecans (optional)

Chai Spice

For this chai carrot loaf, you could add some spices, but creating your own chai spice is super easy and you can use it for tons of other baked goods.

Mix together these spices, add them to a jar or bag and give em’ a good shake. You can store this in your pantry forever and use it in everything (almost 😉).

  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp ground ginger

How to get the best browned butter

Browned butter. Doesn’t it just sound a little daunting? Don’t worry at all! Once you learn the tricks to browned butter, it’s the best thing ever and you’ll want it in all your desserts!

  1. The first step to browning butter is bringing the butter to a boil. I start the pot on medium because I don’t want the butter to cook too fast and burn.
  2. Next, once the butter is boiling, I reduce the heat to low and continue to stir the butter the entire time.
  3. After about 3 minutes it will start to become foamy on the top and that is a sign it’s almost done.
  4. Once the butter gets a nutty, toffee-like smell and there are little brown chunks are the bottom of the pot, it’s done. This only takes about 5-7 minutes.

Extra tips for Browned Butter:

  • Once the brown chunks sink to the bottom and you can smell the nutty scent, it’s done. You don’t want it to burn.
  • It’s important to continue stirring the butter the entire time, otherwise, it can burn.
  • If your butter is taking a while to brown, it’s ok, sometimes it takes a little longer. The main thing you want to look for is the foamy top, brown chunks at the bottoms, and nutty smell. These are all signs that the browned butter is done.
  • If you melt the butter on medium-high heat, it could melt too quickly and then increase your chances of it burning or cooking too fast.

Important Tips

  • It is important that you don’t overmix the loaf batter. If you do, it could be really dry and dense once baked.
  • Before you ice the loaf, you want to make sure that it’s fully cooled, otherwise, the icing could melt right off! 😢
  • You want to make sure the browned butter is also cooled before adding it to the cream cheese icing, otherwise, the icing will be too thin.
  • I shredded the carrots on a normal shredder, not finely shredded because personally, I like to have the large carrot chunks.
  • For the buttermilk, you can easily make it yourself using our hack here. You can also substitute the buttermilk with sour cream or plain yogurt.
  • If you don’t have the time to make the browned butter, don’t worry, you can easily substitute it for normal softened butter. But truly, you don’t want to miss out on this!
  • We used olive oil in the loaf because the flavors will complement the carrot and chai more. It also increases the moistness in the loaf more than butter. Normally, baked goods use neutral oil, but this olive oil adds another level of flavor.
  • It’s also important to use softened ingredients because if they’re “kinda soft” it could completely mess up your batter and leave chunks of unsoftened butter.

Great Tools to Have on Hand

To make a loaf, it’s pretty easy and you really don’t need a lot of materials, but here are our top picks!

  • Silicone Loaf Pan (This pan is the absolute best! It never sticks!)
  • 2 Bowls
  • 1 whisk
  • Hand mixer
  • Box Grater
  • Spatulas
  • Offset Spatula

For more of our favorite products, visit our Products We Love page.

Can I Make This Gluten Free?

Yes! Believe it or not, the only thing holding this loaf back from being gluten-free is the flour and spices. Here’s what you can change to make this loaf fully gf!

Instead of flour, use gluten-free flour. Bob’s Red Mill has great gluten-free flour!

Some spice contain gluten, but most don’t. Just double check that your spices don’t and you’re all set.

Can I make this as a Sheet cake

You sure can! You can add the loaf batter to a 9×9″ pan and bake it for less time. If you choose this option, just bake it for 30-40 minutes. You could also add this to a circle cake pan and make a single layer cake.

In other news

Sometimes it gets annoying reading baking tips all day so here are a few things happening in life lately.

  • I am currently obsessed with the Costco cheddar and caramel popcorn!
  • The weather in Denver has been pretty nice, but we’re expecting snow on Sunday and Monday with a high of 25 F. Winter here we come 😬!
  • Lately, all I can think about are fall desserts and my baking list just keeps adding up every day. What should I make first, pumpkin chocolate chunk cookies or apple pie cheesecake bars?
  • I have a new cookie order coming up and I don’t know if I should go for the teal and orange fall theme or dark blues and oranges. Let me know!
  • I know it’s not even Halloween, but I’m already ready to put up the Christmas tree and holiday decor. I mean, I’ve even listened to Christmas music already.

Want to see more of our favorite loaf recipes check out our:

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Chai Carrot Loaf With Browned Butter Icing

Recipe by Gillian VolzCourse: Donuts and Bread, FavoritesCuisine: DessertDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



If there’s anything that can describe this wonderful loaf, just imagine a warm cup of chai and carrot cake. MMMMM, just one slice and you won’t regret the calories. 😉


  • Loaf
  • 2 cups flour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 3 tsp chai spice *Notes

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots (3 carrots)

  • Browned Butter Icing
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 tbsp)

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

  • Chopped pecans (optional)


  • Start by greasing your loaf pan with non stick spray and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together your dry ingredients including the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and chai spice. Set aside.
  • In another large bowl, beat together your sugar and oil. The mixture will be oily, but combined like paste.
  • Next, add in your eggs and vanilla extract. Continue to mix until fully incorporated.
  • Then, alternately mix in your buttermilk and dry ingredients into the oil mixture. (Start with dry ingredients, mix, buttermilk, mix, dry ingredients…)
  • Next, fold in the shredded carrots using a spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45-65 minutes. This is a long period of time, but after 45 minutes you want to continually check the loaf to make sure the top isn’t browning too much. *Notes
  • While the loaf bakes, let’s brown the butter. Add the butter to a medium pot on medium heat and bring to a small boil.
  • Next, continue to stir the butter after it melts. Once it becomes foamy and has a nutty smell the butter is almost done. After a few more minutes, the butter will have brown chunks that sunk to the bottom, this is when you know it’s done. You don’t want it to burn.
  • Let the browned butter cool fully. I let mine cool in the fridge or freezer. Once it’s cooled, it will be like softened butter. This will take about 1 hour. If you choose the freezer, however, only let it sit in there for 20-30 minutes and then stir after.
  • Once the loaf is done baking, let it fully cool before icing.
  • To make the icing, beat together the cream cheese and browned butter until smooth and creamed. Next, add in your powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Lastly, add your vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.
  • Use an offset spatula to spread the icing onto the loaf and top with pecan chunks. 😁


  • To make the chai spice, add 2 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp ground allspice, 1 tbsp ground cardamom, 2 tsp ground nutmeg, and 3 tbsp ground ginger. Shake in a bag and reserve the rest for other bakes.
  • After 45 minutes, if your loaf is getting too dark on top, lightly cover it with aluminum foil and continue to bake, checking it every 5 minutes.
  • Let the browned butter fully cool before adding it to the cream cheese.

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