I love carrot cake and, with Easter so recently behind us, it’s that time of year when I most crave it. So when I saw Ally’s version over on sweetandsavoryfood.com, I knew I had to try it! The hardest part about this recipe, I think, is grating the carrots which isn’t that bad, just slightly time consuming but totally worth it. It definitely made me miss my food processor that broke after only a year of
heavy use and I just haven’t replaced it.
Instead of using my big box grater, though, I actually used my cheap mandolin from Kroger (a whopping $7.99 at regular retail but I still got it for 50% off 🙂 ). It was a breeze and took about 15 minutes from start to finish, including peeling the carrots first.
If you compare mine to Ally’s, it looks a lot different for some reason. Mine is thicker and darker but still amazingly sweet and moist. I did substitute about 1/2 cup of the flour for white wheat flour and added a touch of nutmeg but that shouldn’t have changed how it looks. I wouldn’t think so, anyway. But even with the differences, I would gladly make this again. And again. And again.
I was concerned at first about how thinly spread the cream cheese frosting was but it’s so sweet that just the tiny little layer on the top adds the perfect amount of sweetness to complement the spicy cake.
If this wasn’t called carrot cake, I don’t think anyone would even know that there’s a pound of carrots in that pan. I like sneaky “healthy” foods like that. Shh… just ignore the fact that there’s a cubic ton of sugar in the cake and frosting and you’ll be fine. Especially since cakes are a sometimes food.
While I am an advocate for “real” foods without artificial ingredients my nephew can’t pronounce, I do have one recommendation for the cream cheese in the frosting if you can or care to: use Philadelphia. I can’t use it because it makes my stomach hurt so I use an organic brand. And even though it is very tasty, it just doesn’t cream as smoothly or get as fluffy as the Philadelphia brand.
Even with the minute flecks of cream cheese in this frosting, though, this is a very yummy cake.
- 1½ c all-purpose flour
- ½ c white wheat flour (use all AP flour if you don't have white wheat)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 c granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- ½ c canola oil
- 1 c unsweetened applesauce
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 cups)
- 8oz cream cheese, at room temp
- 2 c powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly grease a 9"x13" pan. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In either the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the granulated sugar, eggs, oil, and applesauce on medium speed. Slowly incorporate in the flour mixture until just mixed and smooth.
- Fold in the carrots with a large spoon.
- Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and place in the oven.
- Bake 50-60 minutes, checking for doneness after 40 by inserting a toothpick in the center. Once it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven.
- Let cool on a rack until completely cool.
- Once cool, in a med bowl using your hand mixer, blend the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla, starting out on low speed and moving to medium, until smooth and fluffy. Spread gently on top of the cake with a spatula or butter knife.