Spiced Carrot Loaf Cake
Updated: May 12, 2020
I know it's controversial but this recipe calls for a glaze instead of a classic cream cheese frosting. Using a glaze keeps this Spiced Carrot Loaf Cake deceptively healthy and gives it an irresistible crunch. Just trust me on this!
for 12-18 carrot loaf cake slices
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 small eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons fresh ground cardamom
3 teaspoons cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
Zest of 2 lemons
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
½ cup full-fat milk or heavy cream
½ tablespoon vinegar
4 tablespoons light cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
⅔ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
A pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking pans with parchment paper, making sure you leave an overhang to easily lift the carrot cake out of of the pan once it's baked. Rub a generous amount of oil to encourage an easy release.
2. In a small bowl, add vinegar to your milk or cream, letting sit for 5-10 minutes. This essentially makes buttermilk. Mix in grated carrots to buttermilk.
3. In a stand mixer, whisk together sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until mixture has lightened in color, about 5 minutes.
4. Slowly stream in oil, two tablespoons at a time, to allow the batter to emulsify. This ensures a light and tender crumb to your carrot cake.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, lemon zest, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
6. Pour flour mixture to the batter in batches, alternating with the grated carrots mixture, to prevent clumping and ensure even distribution. Be careful not to overmix.
7. Transfer batter into parchment paper-lined baking pans.
8. Place in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Rotate once halfway through to brown evenly. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.
9. For the glaze, whisk cream cheese and butter together until combined. Stream in powdered sugar in batches until smooth. Add milk to thin it out. Pour over carrot cake and serve.
One thing I took to heart was knowing that carrot cakes can definitely handle its spices. Especially since carrot cakes are often characterized by these notable hints of fall. With this recipe, I wasn't worried about amplifying the flavors of these spices. It resulted to a carrot cake with so much depth of flavor it's addictive.
Believe me when I say I wasn't planning on opting out on a cream cheese frosting but with limited ingredients available, I had no choice! This was some leftover frosting from my Cardamom Cinnamon Rolls, which I left out to cool and become runny. I was not disappointed with the results.
- I made sure to hand-grate my carrots in the smallest setting of my box grater so it cooks evenly and finishes the same time as the rest of the batter.
- I used two 3x6" pans since that's what I had available, and filled 4 small tart pans, which I topped with raisins and brown sugar.
- I used oil in this recipe because it makes for a lighter and more tender cake.
- The vinegar won't add a sour taste in your cake but rather reacts with the baking soda to provide your cake more lift and moisture.
- I know cardamom isn't a common household spice, so feel free to use any spice you have available like nutmeg or even allspice! - You can certainly substitute fresh ginger for ginger powder but I didn't have it available and opted to grate mine fresh. Ginger powder is more potent so for this recipe, I'd suggest you use only ⅛ of a teaspoon.
Just look at how light and moist that crumb is! Make sure you try out this recipe, it's definitely one of my most requested ones.