For some more unusual choice than not, I would like to encourage everyone to start using carrots in baking because you will end up with such a moist and sweet carrot cake you will feel guilty for not having made it before. Carrots indeed are quite sweet and act similar to apples when baked. What I also love about this recipe is that it is so versatile – you can mix in your favourite combination of nuts, fold in a handful of raisins, dry fruit cubes (pineapple or banana chips would go great) or even chocolate chips if you want to.
Also, you can cut the baked carrot cake in half and fill it with light cream cheese filling. I kept it simple because I wanted a moist and dense carrot cake with thin layer of cream cheese glaze. Of course, I threw in a good amount of ground cinnamon because I love it in everything and scented both cake and cream cheese glaze with orange flavour. This is such a good winter cake. It is perfectly moist and sweet, but not to sweet. And it got better the day after because it had really set and you could get a nice and clean cut. The flavorings really complimented the cake. Enjoy your carrot cake while having a lazy day watching your favourite movie.
preparation time: about 30 minutes
baking time: 45 to 50 minutes, 180°C/350 F
baking pan size: 25×11 cm/10×4,3 in
Ingredients for the batter:
320 g shredded carrots
120 g ground wallnuts
50 g coconut flour
4 eggs, separated
130 g brown sugar
1 pack (10 g) vanilla sugar*
180 g all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
1,5 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
zest of half an orange
50 ml vegetable oil
*Where I live, we are much more used to vanilla sugar rather than vanilla extract. But if you are more common to the flavor of extract, use that. Click to see easy instructions on how to make your own vanilla sugar.
Ingredients for the orange cream cheese glaze:
80 g cream cheese
4 Tbsp powder sugar
4 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1. Begin with shredding carrots as this is the most time consuming phase of the recipe. Then ground the wallnuts using a food processor. I put the coconut flour in there as well and processed them together because I wanted to have smaller bits of coconut, but it also helped to apsorb the natural oil that came out of the wallnuts while they were being processed.
2. Separate the eggs – put the egg yolks and egg whites into separate bowls and using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment beat the egg whites into soft peaks – for about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
3. Beat the egg yolks with brown sugar and vanilla sugar (or vanilla extract) for about 5 minutes until the sugar is fully combined and the mixture looks pale brown and has more than doubled in volume.
4. Mix together briefly all the dry ingredients and the flavorings – flower, salt, nuts, coconut, cinnamon, orange zest and baking powder and using a spatula patiently fold them in the egg yolk mixture alternating with shredded carrots. Finally, add the oil.
5. Once you have your carrots, egg yolks and nuts-flour mixture combined, using a spatula slowly fold the whole mixture into egg whites. Start with a smaller part, fold it in and then add the rest. Don’t overmix.
6. Place the batter into bread form baking pan lined with parchment paper and put into preheated oven. Bake on 180°C for around 45 to 50 minutes, depending on your oven and the size of your pan. You can always do the old toothpick trick – insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and if it comes out clean – you know the cake is done baking.
7. Make the glaze: using a small whisk, mix together cream cheese, powder sugar and squeezed orange juice (I used half of an orange) until you get runny, but thick enough glaze. If you want, you can make it a lot thicker and turn into a frosting – just double the amount of sugar and cream cheese and leave the same amount of orange juice. Pour the glaze over baked cake.
8. You know you should let it cool and set for a few hours, but I was so excited that I had to cut right into it. Enjoy with a cup of tea.