Zesty carrot cake. Making the most of citrus season i decided to make this carrot cake with the bounty of oranges and lemons i had.
I added spices, chopped nuts and candied stem ginger so its full of flavour.
This cake came about because i had to bake a dairy free cake for a workshop i was teaching.
I thought of a vegetable cake, and carrots seemed like a great idea.
It’s frosted with some vegan cream cheese mixed with some vegan coconut yogurt and powdered sugar.Jump to Recipe
If you don’t mind dairy then mascarpone and cream is also a great frosting choice.
I adjusted my favourite spiced parsnip cake recipe and used carrots instead.
This zesty carrot cake went down a treat. I gave my auntie some left overs and she messaged me to say it was the best carrot cake she had ever had so that was lovely.
We photographed the cake together at the workshop and the light was so interesting.
I love how the colours of the light changed from cool to warm every so often.
Zesty carrot cake notes
- Use a balloon whisk attachment on a stand mixer or an electric whisk.
- Add the sugar and oil and beat for at least five minutes until it is paler and airy, then add the eggs one at a time and beat for at least three minutes before adding the next egg.
- While it is mixing you can prepare the tins or chop the nuts and ginger.
- Once all the eggs are added turn up the speed and whip until pale and has some volume.
- By mixing the cake batter this way it makes a really light and fluffy cake.
- Sift the dry ingredients and fold in with a spatula rather than the whisk.
- You don’t want to over mix the flour as it can build up gluten making a tough sponge. So fold in gently.
- I used a mix of hazelnuts and walnuts
- Extras, as well as the candied stem ginger you could add candied orange or lemon.
- If you have a food processor then use it to grate the carrots to make things easier.
- The cakes will be golden and a knife inserted in the centre will come out clean when they are ready.
- I cook my layer cakes at 160c fan. This helps them rise evenly and flat so you wont have to trim any off to stack them.
zesty carrot cake
- stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment
- food processor with grater attachment or fine grater
- three 8 inch layer cake tins
- baking paper
- 250 ml vegetable oil 1 cup
- 200 grams caster sugar 1 cup
- 85 grams soft light brown sugar 1/2 cup
- 4 eggs
- 190 grams finely grated carrots 2 cups
- 255 grams plain flour 2 cups
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 45 grams ground almonds
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 85 grams chopped mixed nuts (walnuts and hazelnuts)
- zest from one lemon
- zest from one large orange
- 15 grams candied stem ginger
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 160c fan – 180c if not fan assisted.
- Grease and line the three baking shallow 8 inch layer cake tins with baking paper
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whip the oil and sugar until airy and the sugar has dissolved. At least 5 minutes.
- While that is whipping, sift together the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, salt and spices in another bowl and put to one side
- Add the eggs to the oil and sugar mixture one at a time, whipping for at least 3 minutes between each one, then turn up to high speed and mix for a further 2-4 minutes until pale and fluffy.Scrape around the bowl with a spatula.Fold in the dry ingredients that you sifted earlier.
- Finely grate the carrots and weigh out 190 grams, then squeeze them to remove some of the liquid. place in a bowl.
- Finely chop the nuts and candied ginger and add to the bowl of grated carrots with the zest of the orange and lemon
- Fold in the carrots mixture using a spatula until evenly combined.
- Fold in a tablespoon of orange juice, then separate the mixture evenly between the three tins.
- Place tins on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes. (moving the tins around half way through to ensure even baking)
- Cakes are done when a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 20 minutes, then gently remove from the tins and peel off the baking paper and place on a cooling rack to cool fully.
Zesty carrot cake frosting
Because the cake had to be dairy free for the workshop participant, i had to think about the frosting.
I was going to do meringue, but i think carrot cake goes so well with cream cheese.
At whole foods i found some vegan cream cheese. The brand was called creamy she original.
I had not tried that brand before but i decided to give it a try and liked it.
I found that two 250g tubs, mixed with half a pot of coconut collaborative vanilla vegan yogurt and some powdered sugar worked really well.
If you are not dairy free then mix 500g mascarpone, with 300ml double cream and add icing sugar to your taste, then whisk together.
I usually add about half a cup of powdered sugar.
I am not a fan of overly sweet frostings, but if you are then add more sugar and taste.
Maple syrup or honey can be used instead or icing sugar.
(I am not affiliated in any way with those brands, i just thought they are great vegan alternatives)
Other vegetable cake recipes
A few other vegetable cake from the archives.
Butternut squash, pear and hazelnut cake
Apple blackberry and squash cake
Pumpkin ginger and walnut cake
Making the most of citrus season
Margaret Johnson says
Another BEAUTIFUL recipe. Your instructions are so easy to follow. And ofcourse the photography is GORGEOUS. Happy New Year to you and yours!! And THANKYOU..ox
Thank you so much Margaret x
Ruth Miranda says
I love carrot cake with an orange hue to it, I usually add the zest and the juiceand a tiny pinch of turmeric just for the colour factor
that’s a great idea, i made a citrus cake yesterday and turmeric would have been a great thing to add colour i will have to try it next time x