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