This is a dlicious carrot cake with a touch of warm spices. It is incredibly moist and the orange cream cheese icing is the perfect way to kick it up a notch.
There are 2 kind of people in the world – those who love carrot cakes and those who don’t.. well it gets a little more complicated than that . Regardless , whichever group you fall into chances are you will like this Spiced Carrot Cake . It is made with hearty whole wheat , with a touch of spices enhancing the nutty warm tones. The cream cheese frosting is optional but absolutely delicious when paired with the warm tones of the cake . Without the icing this could pass for a healthy breakfast option .. .
Among vegetables carrots have high sugar content . Before processed sugar became so common carrots were used in deserts around the world . The shredded carrots cooks in the cake and helps retain some moisture . These cakes are usually moist and denser and many times loaded with other mix ins like raisins and nuts . Many of the recipes call for copious amounts of sugar and fat robbing it of its nutritional advantages and loading it with empty calories .
It does not have to be so . Cakes like these are perfect when made with whole wheat flour . Sugar is not the star here , there are more earthy , nutty robust flavors for the adult palate . Cutting back on the sugar allows the robust flavors of the carrots and spices shine through . Slather on the icing for those time when you need a sugar high , but for me I will have these plain any day with a hot cup of Joe .
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides . Set aside . Coarsely grate the carrots and set aside. Use the food processor or the grater . The goal is to get thin pieces of carrots about 2 mm thick or so . Sift the dry ingredients , and spice powders – Whole Wheat flour , cinnamon , cardamon , ginger , nutmeg , salt and baking powder – together . In another bowl beat oil and egg until uniformly blended .
Add the yogurt and vanilla essence to the wet ingredients and mix well until no lumps remain and uniformly mixed . Sift the dry ingredients over this reserving 1 tbsp . With a spatula or wooden spoon fold the dry ingredients into the wet . Toss the chopped nuts in the reserved flour and set aside .
Add the grated carrots to the batter and fold in . Reserve about 1 tbsp of nuts and fold the rest into the batter . Of course you can always mix in all the nuts at this time .
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the reserved nuts on top . Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick/tester inserted in the center comes out clean . Cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting into a cooling rack to cool completely
While the cake is cooling prepare the icing . The quantity given here is just sufficient for a smooth spread over the top or to make a semi clad version . Make sure that the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature (softened) before starting . Take butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat together until blended . Add about 2 C sifted icing sugar and mix in and vanilla and beat in until thick and creamy and soft peaks form on the beater . . Taste and add extra sugar if necessary .
Place the cake on a serving platter . Pile the frosting on top . Spread using the back of a spoon or offset spatula . Do not worry about getting a smooth finish . Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top (optional) and decorate with chopped nuts .
Spiced Carrot Cake
- 1 1/2 C White Whole Wheat Flour / Atta (180 g)
- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 Tsp Cardamom
- 1/2 Tsp Ginger
- 1/4 Tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tsp Baking Powder
- 3/4 C Granulated Sugar
- 1 Egg Large
- 1/3 C Oil Notes
- 3/4 C Plain Yogurt
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 1/2 C Carrots Finely Grated
- 1/2 C Walnuts/Peccans Chopped
Option 1 – Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 1/2 C Cream Cheese
- 2 – 2 1/2 C Icing Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Option – 2 Orange Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 oz Cream Cheese
- 1 C Icing Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Orange Juice As needed (Notes)
- 2 – 4 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
- A Pinch Cinnamon – A Pinch
Make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Prepare a 9″ round cake pan or a 6 Cup bundt cake pan. Place the chopped nuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Finely grate the carrots . Sift the dry ingredients – flour , salt , cinnamon , cardamon , ginger , nutmeg and baking powder – together. In another bowl beat the oil and sugar together until blended well. Add the egg and beat well. Mix in the yogurt and vanilla essence. Fold in the grates carrots. Make sure that there are no lumps.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of flour with the nuts. Add the remaining dry ingredients to the wet and gently fold in using a spatula .Add the chopped nuts and gently fold in. Pour the batter to the prepared baking pan.
- Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. The cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean .Remove from the oven , let cool in the pan for 5 minutes .Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. If using a bundt pan leave the cake in pan and place the pan on the cooling rack for 15 minutes before inverting.
If Making the Frosting
- Sift the icing sugar and set aside .Place the softened butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat together until blended .Add vanilla and about 2 cups of icing sugar and beat in until thick and creamy and soft peaks forms on the beater. Taste and add extra sugar if necessary. Pile a layer of frosting on top of the cake and spread using back of an offset spatula or spoon.
If Making the Icing
- Make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature. Plac e it in a medium mixing bowl and mash with a spatula or mixer until soft. Sift the powdered sugar on top and mix in. Add the vanilla extract. Mix well and thin to desired consistency by adding orange juice. Pour the icing over the cake and let it drip along the sides.
Adding The Finishing Touches
- Place the cake on the serving platter. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon and decorate with chopped nuts.
- Any flavorless oil or flavors that complement can be used in this recipe.
Originally published on May 09, 2016.