Carrot Cake Cookies with Dulce de Leche Buttercream

carrot cake cookies 1

This is my third month participating in the Improv Challenge, hosted by Kristen over at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.  If you haven’t heard about the Improv Challenge, each month participants are assigned two ingredients to pair together to create a fun, new recipe. I was super excited to learn that this month’s ingredients were carrots and ginger.  That combination just says carrot cake to me, as I’m sure it does to many of the rest of you.

Last year at Easter, I made my first from-scratch carrot cake, and it was maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten.

I may say that a lot on this blog, but I really mean it this time.

Whatever your opinion of Martha Stewart, she can make some fabulous baked-goods.  No lie.  And while that recipe was what immediately popped into my head, I decided to try something a little bit different.

Pit myself against Martha, if you will.

carrot cake cookies 2

While I don’t have any specialized kitchen training, I am a master at eating, so I figure that gives me a leg up somehow.

Unlike Martha, I have no problem taking some help now and then from a cake mix.  Which I did in this case, because I was in a super big rush to eat something carrot cake-esque.  These cookies were totally fabulous on their own, but I can’t leave a good thing alone.

Seriously, if something can be topped with buttercream, I’m going to do it.

Dulce de Leche buttercream is my new best friend.  Let it be yours, too.

carrot cake cookies close up

Carrot Cake Cookies with Dulce de Leche Buttercream
Inspired by Joy the Baker, buttercream from The Pastry Queen
For the Cookies:
  • 1 box carrot cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup raisins
For the buttercream:
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup prepared dulce de leche
  • toasted coconut
For the cake:
  1. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix, oil, eggs, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in shredded carrots and raisins until just combined.
  2. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto a prepared cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 350.
For the buttercream:
  1. Cream together softened butter and powdered sugar on low using an electric mixer.
  2. Add cream and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth and no lumps appear. Add the prepared dulce de leche and beat to incorporate.
  3. Frost cooled cookies with a Wilton 1M tip. Top with toasted coconut.

Check out my previous Improv entries:

Lemon Cream Cupcakes with Raspberry Cheesecake Buttercream
Cranberry Muffins with Eggnog Cream



While you’re at it, check out all of these other great recipes!

I’m linked up at these great parties this week: Crazy Sweet Tuesdays, Sweet Treats Thursday, and Mrs. Fox’s Sweets!



  1. Kristen

    I could eat that frosting by the spoonful! What beautiful cupcakes!!

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Kristen, and thanks for hosting! This has been a lot of fun (any excuse to make baked goods works for me!).

  2. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family

    Oh my goodness those look just beautiful. Such a fun challenge with such great diversity. If you get a chance please check out my donuts I put in for the challenge.

    • Ashley

      Rachel–your donuts look great! I’ve been having fun with the challenge this month, too. Everyone made such great dishes!

  3. Terry

    The frosting sounds amazing.

    • Ashley

      It really was, Terry! A little too amazing…I ate too much! =)

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Lisa! And your salad looks devine–I need to eat salad for sure after making these cookies! =)

  4. Hayley

    Well, hello there, dulce de leche buttercream. I’d love to get to know you. I just may ignore my usual-disliking for carrot cake and eat you on a carrot cake cookie. Mmmm.

    • Ashley

      Oh my gosh, even if you’re not a carrot cake fan, this frosting is a must try. Heaven!

  5. amy @ fearless homemaker

    yum, the dulce de leche buttercream looks especially delicious – i bet it would be great on regular ol’ chocolate cupcakes, too. delicious!

    • Ashley

      Amy, this frosting would probably be good on just about anything! =) But you’re right, it would definitely be amazing on chocolate cupcakes…hmmmm, I might just have to try it out!

  6. kita

    These look like dangerous kinds of cookies. Love the use of the improve ingredients.

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Kita! Your oatmeal looked amazing!

  7. Chandra@the plaid and paisley kitchen

    ASHLEY!!!! You have out done yourself!!!! Can I please come over and have one! = ) hee hee! Can’t wait to see you next weekend!!!!

    • Ashley

      Hee! I can’t wait to see you next weekend! Too bad I ate all of the cookies! =)

  8. Anne@FromMySweetHeart

    Ashley…these cookies look so unbelievably good! They almost look like the top of a cupcake…..which is the best part! And that dulce de leche icing…….perfect! GREAT job with the challenge ingredients and GREAT pictures! : )

    • Ashley

      Thanks, Anne! They were pretty good–and VERY cupcake-like.

  9. Anna

    You are speaking my language, Ashley! The bite pic is amazing! The buttercream was a brilliant pairing idea 🙂

    • Ashley

      The buttercream was pretty amazing, not gonna lie! =) I about didn’t get the bite pic posted, since I wanted to inhale the entire thing asap.

  10. Liz

    WOW!! What amazing cookies….and that buttercream is also fabulous!!! Great improv recipe!

    • Ashley

      Your whoopie pies looked great too, Liz!

  11. Teri @ The Freshman Cook

    I can not wait to make this buttercream. It sounds wonderful! What a great idea on the cookies. I am looking forward to making them as well. Beautiful!!

    • Ashley

      I hope you love ’em, Teri! We enjoyed them here!

  12. Kiri W.

    Dulce de leche buttercream? Be still my heart! 😉 What a great take on these ingredients – I tip my hat to you bakers, and went the safe, savory route 🙂

  13. Kate @ FoodBabbles

    Wow!!! These cookies sound amazing! And what gorgeous photos too!

  14. Cathy

    Oh yes. Carrot Cake is the perfect place to put ginger…oh and carrots. 🙂 I love that you made cookies out of yours. Mine turned into pancakes. That frosting looks particularily delicious….

  15. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    That entire title makes me hungry! These cookies look awesome. What a great change from carrot cake.

  16. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes

    Carrot cake in a cookie form sounds heavenly, especially with your dulce de leche buttercream.

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Hello There!

Interestingly enough, I didn’t grow up with an interest in cooking.  In fact, I informed my mother on multiple occasions that I was not getting an advanced education so I could spend my evenings preparing meals.

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