Best Ever Carrot Cake
I usually hate calling recipes “the best ever” or “perfect”, but in this case it’s true – this is, really, the only carrot cake recipe you’ll ever need. It’s uber-light, soft and not too sweet. It’s got layers of flavour without being too busy – no need for raisins or coconut or nuts. You can make it with things you already have in your pantry or fridge. In other words, it’s a very low-maintenance cake that tastes very high-maintenance.
I’ve been using this recipe for ages. I don’t think I have it written down anywhere. The reason I made it today is in honour of my beautiful niece and god-daughter, who lives in British Columbia, Canada (pretty much halfway around the world) and is turning ONE tomorrow.
I wish I would be there to give her a big birthday hug and hand her her birthday gift in person. I wish she and Maeve could spend the afternoon playing together and getting into mischief. But, unfortunately, my brothers and I have all chosen to live in very-far-apart places! In any case, we will have a mini-celebration here in Ireland and give her lots of hugs the next time we see her.
When we were all home in Cape Breton last August, I made this cake for my niece and nephew’s double christening. It went down a treat. Then, my sister-in-law asked for the recipe so she could make it for my niece’s birthday celebration. I actually had to think about it as, like I said, I don’t really have it written down anywhere. I gave her this recipe and then made it myself, just to make sure I got the measurements right. Now I’m sharing it with you, you lucky people.
This cake can be doubled and served as a big slab cake with traditional cream cheese frosting for a gathering or celebration, but’s its equally enjoyable in bundt form for a simple Sunday dessert. I topped mine with a whipped mascarpone and honey glaze before burning, not one, but TWO trays of walnuts. They were going to be crumbled over top.
The joys of country living mean I can’t just run to the shop for more walnuts, but I will tell you that the cake is lovely as is. I hope the cake my niece eats tonight is just as tasty (her mom is a pretty excellent cook, so I’m sure it will be).
Happy birthday, beautiful Charlotte!
Best Ever Carrot Cake
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice (nutmeg, allspice, cloves)
2 cups grated carrot
1 can crushed pineapple
For the Glaze:
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise & seeded
3-4 Tbsp good quality honey
splash of fresh cream or orange juice
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius, no fan). Grease and flour a bundt or rectangular cake pan. Set aside.
- In your stand mixer (whisk attachment) or with a hand mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla together until pale in colour and doubled in volume.
- While whisking, slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil to make a thick emulsion.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add all at once to wet and mix until just blended.
- Fold in the carrot and crushed pineapple. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Cool 15 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove to cool completely on wire rack.
- Make the glaze: in your stand mixer (paddle attachment) or with your hand mixer, beat the vanilla seeds and mascarpone cheese until light and fluffy. Drizzle in honey, continuing to mix.
- Add the cream or orange juice. Mix until all is well combined. You want a thick but pour-able glaze.
- When the cake is cooled, pour the glaze over top. Serve immediately or the next day – it gets better with age. Keep covered and chilled.