Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Time is flying by!
Three months ago, in February, I was anxiously prepping for my spring internship. Now, today, I just completed my last weekend of work. With two more days remaining, I'm left to stare at the calendar and the clock while I await the final moments before I drive on down to the airport to pick Luis up for his visit to Berkeley and following that-our road trip down the coast of California. More on this later.

For now, I want to backtrack one week to Mother's Day weekend-when my mom flew up to spend a few days with me. The time we had slipped from our fingers, but it was time well spent.

On Sunday, Mother's Day, I pulled up to the airport terminal with a bouquet of flowers. We immediately took a drive across the bay to San Francisco to walk the botanical gardens and treat my mom to her first thai restaurant experience. Back in the hotel waiting for us, was two little 4" carrot cakes (her favorite), one draped in cream cheese frosting and one drenched in honey and toasted coconut (the lactose-free carrot accommodation cake for myself).

On day two, we headed down to Santa Cruz and explored Natural Bridges State Beach on a Monday morning, where life was (almost) no where to be found. This was truly beautiful. It took a little convincing on my end, but we walked through tide pools looking for signs of life while dodging the waves splashing up on the edge of the rocky cliff.

After an eventful day and an hour of following a windy road under the moon on the way back to the hotel-more cake, please. 

I put a personal touch on a great vegan carrot cake recipe by Love and Lemons. Of course, my version is vegan optional, and while it may be covered with cream cheese frosting, the original recipe does have an interesting take on a non-dairy cream cheese frosting using cashews and macadamia nuts. I really did want to try this, but sadly did not allow myself the time to soak the nuts overnight. Anyway, here it is:

Carrot Cake
Click here for full printable recipe
Adapted from: loveandlemons

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour 
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt (use coconut/soy yogurt or more applesauce to make this cake vegan)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup milk of choice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots 

Method of Prep:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line two 8" cake pans with a circle of parchment paper. 
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. 
  3. In a large bowl, mix the applesauce, greek yogurt, coconut oil, and sugar on medium speed with a paddle attachment or hand mixer for one minute to incorporate air.
  4. Combine the milk and vanilla in a measuring glass.
  5. Add the flour and milk alternately to the oil/sugar mixture beginning and ending with the flour. Then, fold in the carrots using a rubber spatula. 
  6. Evenly distribute the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes. 
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing the cake from their pans. 

Cream Cheese Frosting:
Yield: 2 cups
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • coconut for topping (optional)

Method of prep:
  1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and unsalted butter together until light and fluffy. 
  2. Slowly add sifted powdered sugar and salt until fully combined. Beat in vanilla.
  3. To toast coconut, spread on a silpat or parchment paper lined sheet pan and place in an oven heated to 350 for 4-5 minutes. 

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© A Little Baker
Maira Gall