Everyone has embraced quarantine cooking – including yours truly. According to Eric, I’ve baked more this month than I have in the past ten years. He’s right.
I’m not quite sure how I came to be a carrot cake expert, (seeing as I didn’t even like carrot cake prior to making my first!) but I’ve now made no less than 7 of them, resulting in rave reviews and also my current ‘food baby.’ While Eric and I couldn’t help but polish off a whole batch of mini carrot cakes in one sitting, (oops…) my most recent bundt cake creation garnered such a glowing review that I thought I should share the recipe with you.
Warning: this cake is highly addictive. You can make it with or without frosting- this cake is so rich and moist it can most definitely be enjoyed on its own. If you’re dairy-free like me, my ‘cream cheese’ frosting is actually vegan & has fooled everyone that has tried it.
“You could have told us you bought this and we would have believed it!” – My best friend
I’ll preface this by saying that I’m no Martha Stewart, and I’m most definitely no professional… I’m simply sharing what has worked for me in my kitchen in hopes that it can sweeten your day during this weird time we’re living through. If you give this a try, I’d love your feedback! Feel free to share with me on Instagram (tag me @kellysaks on your feed or Story so I can repost,) or send me a note via email. Happy baking! x
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ¼ c. canola or other vegetable oil
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
3 c. grated peeled carrots (5 to 6 medium carrots)
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans
‘CREAM CHEESE’ FROSTING
1 container Tofutti* vegan cream cheese (I have tried other brands of non-dairy cream cheese and this has worked best)
1/2 c. vegan margarine, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. lemon juice
1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour the bottom of a 12-cup bundt cake pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients including flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk together the oil, sugars, and vanilla on low speed. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
4. With a large rubber spatula, scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl containing the wet ingredients. Then slowly add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, gently stirring until they disappear and the batter appears smooth.
5. Stir in the carrots and nuts, and mix well until combined.
BAKE the CAKE
6. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. (Fill the pan about ¾ full. You should have extra batter left over that can be used for another small cake or mini cupcakes.) Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the top of the cake is springy to the touch.
7. Cool the cake in its pan for 15 minutes before placing it onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before flipping. (If your cake is stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave it upside down and allow gravity to work its magic.)
8. In an electric mixer, combine the vegan cream cheese and vegan margarine and beat together with wire whisk on medium/high speed.
9. Slowly add in the powdered sugar while mixing on low speed, followed by the vanilla extract and lemon juice.
10. Continue mixing on low speed until all ingredients are well combined, and frosting looks smooth and fluffy. Keep at room temperature until ready to frost the cake.
11. Start frosting only when the cake is completely cool. Prepare the frosting in a pastry bag. (I didn’t have one on hand so I used a ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner- just as effective.) Start at the outside edge of the cake and drag a line of frosting up and over the cake into the center hole. Continue doing this in a zig-zag motion until you’ve made it all the way around the cake and you’re satisfied with the design. There’s really no wrong way to do this.
12. Finish off the cake with a sprinkle of pecans and cinnamon on top.
- The original recipe called for two 9-inch round cake pans, but you can use any pans you have on-hand (cupcake, square, bundt, etc.) Be sure to adjust the baking time according to the size of your pan – deeper pans will require longer bake times, while mini muffin and cupcake pans will reduce bake time.
- For two 9-inch round cake pans: Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- For carrot cake cupcakes: Fill cupcake cups about half full as the batter will rise as they bake. Depending on the size of your pan, adjust baking time to 14-18 mins (or until cupcake tops are light golden brown in color and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Mini cupcakes will cook more quickly; make sure to monitor so they don’t burn. Let cupcakes cool in pan for a few minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
- When making the batter, always fold dry ingredients into wet – not vice-versa. This helps the ingredients mix together more evenly, (and is a lot easier on your mixing arm!)
- You can use any type of flour you have on-hand, including cake flour, whole wheat or gluten-free flour. (If you do substitute, be sure to adjust the amount if your flour is not 1-to-1 with All Purpose Flour.)
- Grease & flour your pans for a fool-proof “flip”! Even when using a non-stick metal, I like to lightly grease my pans using a cooking spray followed by a light sprinkle of flour – this ensures your cake won’t even think about sticking to the pan.