Best. Carrot. Cake. Ever.

Carrot cake.  I adore thee.  In all your moist, carroty deliciousness, you bring me comfort.

Okay, I realize that’s weird.  But it might also be a little bit true.  Of all the cakes in all the world, carrot cake might just be my favorite.  And I’m not one to claim favorites all that easily and lightly.  Don’t try to get me to name a favorite movie or t.v. show, or even a favorite song or book.  Ask me to choose a favorite meal?  Forget it.

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Carrot cake, though?  There’s a soft spot in my heart for you.

Not just any carrot cake, though.  No sirree.  I don’t like a lot of spices, I’m not a huge fan of nuts, and it has to contain fresh carrots – not baby food puree.

I’ve been working on developing some cake recipes lately using freshly ground flour.  In particular, I’ve been trying to make a nice light white cake, which can be difficult to achieve when using whole-wheat flour and unrefined sweeteners like honey granules and sucanat.  The other day I came pretty close in the cake department, using freshly ground soft white wheat flour that had been sifted through a fine mesh sieve.  By removing the coarser bits of bran and germ, the resulting flour was much finer and lighter, yielding a light (in both color and consistency) cake.  I hated to let all that nutritive bran and germ go to waste, though, so I chose to use it in this carrot cake. You could just as easily use regular whole-wheat flour in this recipe, though.

Carrot Cake
prep time: 10 minutes
bake time: 20-25 minutes
yields: three 9-inch layers

Ingredients
2 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 2/3 cup sucanat
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup fresh pineapple, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 cup raisins
8 egg yolks
1 cup olive oil

Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. butter
6 cups powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F and butter and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
Combine the flour, sucanat, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.
In another bowl, combine the carrots, pineapple, ginger and raisins.
Whisk together the 8 egg yolks.
To the eggs add one cup olive oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Add the carrot/pineapple/raisin/ginger mixture to the batter and mix to evenly incorporate.
Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until a cake tester inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes before turning out on a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on high until light and fluffy.  Carefully add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition, and fold some of the butter/cream cheese mixture over on top of the powdered sugar to avoid dusting your entire kitchen with powdered sugar.

Once layers have cooled completely, frost with cream cheese frosting, slice and enjoy!

I think the fresh ginger in this recipe has as much to do with its success as anything else.  Ginger and carrots just go so well together.  That, combined with the moisture and richness from the egg yolks and the oil, produced a tender and flavorful cake.

I took this to a friends house for Easter lunch and it was a big hit.  I’ll definitely be making this recipe again (wheat germ and bran included).  If you’re a fan of carrot cake, give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

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Categories: baking, dessert

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13 Comments on “Best. Carrot. Cake. Ever.”

  1. 24 April 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    >That looks incredible! Love the ingredients list as well. Although I don't love separating that many eggs. What do you do with the whites? I know you can freeze them, but then I never know what to do with them. Do you think the recipe would suffer much if I substituted some whole eggs, with maybe an extra yolk or two? I might give it a try – I love carrot cake as well :) I can imagine the ginger flavor – yum!

  2. 24 April 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    >Funny you should ask about the whites – I had used them in my white cake recipe earlier in the day, and I didn't want the yolks to go to waste. You could absolutely use whole eggs – probably 4 would do the trick. Or maybe 4 whole and then one or two yolks for added richness. You can freeze whites, though, and use them later for meringues or macarons or buttercream frosting.

  3. 25 April 2011 at 4:24 am #

    >OH. MY. I'll be trying this recipe very very soon. Love your photos too!

  4. 25 April 2011 at 11:27 am #

    >3 layers of my favorite cake!! And with pineapple? Oh, this is truly a winner! I'd love a slice…or two…

  5. 25 April 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    >Carrot cake is one of those things that has so many variations. Nut or no nuts, pineapple or no pineapple. I have actually never heard of using baby food puree. It does kind of gross me out. Glad you got a recipe you like!

  6. 26 April 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    >Oh my! I cannot resist carrot cake so there was no hope for me when I saw your title: Best. Carrot. Cake. Ever. Great idea to sift the wholewheat flour. With this and the carrots and fruit and cheese I can pretend it is healthy :D

  7. 26 April 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    >Beautiful! Congratulations on making the top nine. This is certainly worthy!

  8. 26 April 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    >this cake looks amazing! i never pick favorites either, but carrot cake is without a doubt my favorite! now i really want to make this…tonight!

  9. 26 April 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    >Oh I sure wish I had a slice of this carroty heaven right now! Lovely photos!

  10. 27 April 2011 at 12:48 am #

    >I love carrot cake. Just had some today, actually, so it's on my mind! Your recipe looks amazing!!

  11. 27 April 2011 at 12:54 am #

    >Thanks all! It really is delicious – I'm about to go have another piece right now.

  12. 27 April 2011 at 12:59 am #

    >I love the use of more wholesome ingredients! Carrot cake really is an eternal favorite–always enjoyable, regardless of the reason or season. Congrats on your inclusion on Foodbuzz's Today's Top 9!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. On the Road: Carrot Cake Cookies | life, in recipes - 6 November 2011

    [...] and then again yesterday with the residual carrots I had left from making my youngest son’s 2nd birthday cake.  I’m planning to take some on the road today for sustenance (because who couldn’t use [...]

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