Rustic Carrot Cake

My old-school carrot cake recipe, which I tried when I was in high school for the first time using Joy of Baking’s recipe. Her secret ingredient is crushed pineapples! It provides a natural sweetness and moistness, which I love. You can’t really taste it though, and I have used crushed pineapples in every single carrot cake I have made since then.

Another question is whether to make butter-sugar based with the cream technique, or oil based. Creaming butter and sugar creates a more rustic feel (make sure to cream it very well to ensure lightness. Feel free to substitute with half brown sugar as carrot cake can take the extra deeper flavor and caramelization if desired). The oil based carrot cake is more similar to the traditional Singaporean local cakes we see in Toast Box, that our parents are used to. The crumb is tighter and more delicate, but it may not hold the extra toppings (eg raisins, pineapples, large walnuts) as well.

It’s up to your personal preference! For me, I like one that a UK afternoon tea cafe would serve. And it has to be a thick slice of cake with generous amount of tangy and fluffy cream cheese.

I didn’t intend to decorate it much for the rustic feel, but there’s an itch in me to do so – looks a bit too plain and incomplete for my liking… I’m on the look out for carrot cake designs for my next bake, happy to hear any ideas!

Rustic Carrot Cake
Makes 1 9 inch cake
Rustic Carrot Cake adapted from Joy of Baking

Carrot Cake
(with pineapple, recipe here, here and tips and tricks here)

1 cup (100 grams) pecans or walnuts
3/4 pound (340 grams) raw carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated)
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 (200 grams) granulated white sugar *reduced
1 cup (240 ml) vegetable oil (or other flavorless oil)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
226 grams crushed pineapple, drained

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups (230 grams) confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

To make Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Make a well in the center and add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in carrots, walnuts and pineapple. Pour into cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Don’t panic if the center sinks a little. Allow to cool.

To make Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until creamy and lightened in color.

To assemble

Slice carrot cake in half horizontally. Spread on frosting in the middle and on top. Enjoy!

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