Carrot Cake Heaven
Updated: Feb 3
This carrot cake is packed with walnuts, shredded carrots and spices. Addition of pineapple brings vibrant, tropical flavour and moisture to this classic cake. Even though the cake is packed with goodies, the crumb is light and moist. Simple cream cheese frosting (scented with lemon and only lightly sweetened) complements flavours really well. Toasted pistachios, cranberries and poppy seeds are brining a pop of colour to this delicious and moist carrot cake.
It's simply a carrot cake heaven!
For a good bake:
- Room temperature - before starting to bake make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. Especially carrots and pineapple. Plan ahead - it takes a while to bring carrots to room temperature if stored refrigerated.
- Grating carrots - for this recipe, grate on medium scale.
- Pineapple - use tinned pineapple. For this recipe - remove all the juice. Give the pineapple a proper squeeze before mixing into the cake batter.
- Oil - use neutral scented oil - canola oil or sunflower oil.
- Rye or wholemeal flour - addition of rye (or wholemeal) flour gives beautiful texture and contributes to flavour - use it if you have it in a cupboard. If you don't - replace with 50g all-purpose flour.
- Use light touch and don't over-mix the batter.
- Frosting - use soft butter and cream cheese at room temperature to avoid lumpy texture. The frosting will seem very thin when just prepared - no need to add more sugar or butter (keep it only lightly sweetened)! Refrigerate or store in cool place overnight and it will set.
- Pistachios - toast nuts before decorating (will become soft otherwise). If you plan to store the cake for few days, stick with cranberries and poppy seeds (and decorate with toasted nuts before serving).
This cake can be stored (refrigerated) for up to 7 days. Bring to room temperature before serving. The cake can be easily converted into layered cake. No need to increase the ratios for cake batter - cut baked cake horizontally and double the recipe for cream cheese frosting to use as a filling and to decorate.
Carrot Cake Heaven Recipe
Yield: 16 servings
Tin: 21cm round or ring form with removable base OR bundt cake form (10 or 12-cup)
Active time: 30 min prep + 55-65 min baking
- 200g all-purpose flour
- 50g rye or wholemeal flour
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
- 1 and 1/2 tsps baking soda
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2/3 tsp coarse sea salt
- 160ml oil (use sunflower or canola oil)
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 120g pineapple (tinned) and coarsely chopped (juice removed)
- 150g walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 large carrots (240g before peeling) - 180g carrots, grated
Cream cheese frosting:
- 40g unsalted butter, soft
- 40g confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp clear, freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 180g cream cheese (Philadelphia), room temperature
- shelled pistachios (100g), cranberries (80g), poppy seeds (30g)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the tin with parchment paper and grease sides with soft butter. If you are using bundt cake form - spray with non-stick baking spray or brush with soft butter and dust with flour (remove excess).
2. Prepare dry ingredients: Whisk flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt. Sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
3. Combine: In your main mixing bowl beat eggs for 1 minute until fluffy. When ready, in a steady stream add oil and mix only until combined. Add dry ingredients (from Step 2) and mix gently only until just combined (paddle attachment - low speed, or use spoon or spatula). Add grated carrots, nuts and chopped pineapple. Mix only until incorporated. Pour cake batter into the baking tin.
4. Bake at 180C for 55-65 minutes. Check with skewer if fully baked through. When baked, remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 15-20 minutes, then transfer onto the cooling rack to cool the cake completely before decorating.
5. Prepare cream cheese frosting: Beat butter for 1 minute on high speed until soft and creamy, add sifted confectioners' sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, salt, lemon juice and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Roast pistachios before decorating (set oven at 150C and roast for 5-7 minutes). Decorate with cranberries, toasted pistachios and poppy seeds.
This recipe was inspired by California Carrot Cake (you can find it in 'Happiness is Baking' by Maida Heatter - wasn't she the first who recommended using pineapple in carrot cakes?!) and by many carrot cakes baked and shared by wonderful baker - Dorota Świątkowska - you can find her published books here.