Ann Taylor Pittman minimizes mess and maximizes flavor with her carrot-almond snack cake.
At Ann Taylor Pittman’s house, her carrot-almond snack cake is serious business, and her kids can’t get enough of it. While the cake is made with almond flour, don’t be fooled by the name—pecans are the real star, toasted to a soft crunch. Add ribbons of carrots, a slathering of cream cheese frosting, and you’ve got a simple, rustic cake that Pittman calls “a winner.” She says snack cake is “stress-free, it’s no worry, it’s laid-back. It’s not perfect, and that’s part of the beauty,”—so you don’t have to be as precise with the batter as when you’re making a layer cake. The best part? The batter is all mixed in one bowl, so it minimizes the mess.
Leave the top of the carrot untrimmed
To avoid catching her knuckles on the grater (an unpleasant fate we’ve all suffered), Pittman keeps the top of the carrot untrimmed when she’s at work, so she has more clearance.
Parchment paper is your friend
When grating the carrots, Pittman lines her work surface with parchment paper, so she can easily lift the shavings up and transfer them without making a mess. The same idea applies to the baking pan—if you line it, the cake will come out much more easily.
Use almond flour, but not almonds
This recipe gets its almond hyphenation from the almond flour; however, instead of using almonds for the actual filling, Pittman uses pecans. She says almonds would make the cake dense and a little too crunchy—pecans have a softer crunch.
Go for honey over sugar
Honey is hygroscopic (it absorbs moisture from the air), so it will keep the cake more moist than sugar would. Plus, the floral flavor complements the almond flour.
While you might be tempted to crank up the speed while the frosting is mixing, don’t. Pittman says you’ll get powdered sugar everywhere.
Don’t skimp on the cream cheese
In her recipe notes, Pittman says you should use a tried-and-true cream cheese brand—off-brand ones can potentially affect the texture.
Wait to frost the cake
Let the cake cool before you put on the frosting; otherwise, you could end up ripping off the top layer.