Carrot Cakes

Quintessential carrot cake is made with lots of shredded carrots and chopped pecans (and also sometimes raisins), with a generous topping of cream cheese frosting. To mix up this dessert classic, we love improvising with almonds, oatmeal or coconut flour, or swapping in lemon mascarpone icing for traditional cream cheese. If you’re not a carrot cake enthusiast, try this chocolaty loaf-cake version instead. Cocoa powder and crème fraîche are blended into the batter to keep it super moist, and a chocolaty crumble adds to the decadence. Find these recipes and more in Food & Wine’s guide to carrot cakes.

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Carrot and Orange Cake with Sour Cream Glaze

There’s something extremely delightful in peeling an orange to reveal the sweet and sour flesh hidden inside the fruit. It begins with the intensely aromatic essential oils that form a little cloud of scent around you. Then there’s the tingling sensation that erupts on your lips when you taste your first slice of fruit. This sensation is called chemesthesis; it plays a big part in the flavor experience of eating. We deal with the phenomenon of chemesthesis daily: in how we encounter the heat hidden inside a green or red chile, the warmth of a stick of cinnamon, the cooling sensation evoked by mint and green cardamom. When the nerve endings lining the surface of your mouth and lips come into contact with certain chemicals present inside these ingredients, they get irritated and send signals to the brain, which then tells you what’s happening and how to respond, all in a fraction of a second. Over time our brains evolved to interpret this irritation as a pleasurable experience, compelling us to cook with spices, herbs, and ingredients such as oranges and lemons. My Carrot-and-Orange Cake with Sour Cream Glaze celebrates the way oranges trigger our senses. Pay attention and notice your own responses as you scrape the zest from the orange. Rub a piece of zest across your lips and feel your nerves dance in response. The feast for the senses doesn’t end there, of course: the bright sweetness of the juicy oranges marries with the rich orange pigment carotene in the sweet spring carrots. Chopped pieces of dried apricots and candied orange peels give each slice of cake of spot of unexpected fruit sweetness, while the pistachios add texture to the soft cake. Serve it with a cup of warm tea or coffee to complete the experience.

Carrot-Almond Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh, how I love a snack cake. It just feels so… friendly. It’s doable, casual, and unassuming—and thus you’ll find one in my house way more often than a layer cake (which suits my kids just fine). Don’t be fooled by their less-glamorous looks; snack cakes are every bit as good. They’re certainly easier to make, so I can whip one up with little effort—and more frequency—and make everyone in my house happy. So what exactly is a snack cake? Well, my own personal definition is that it’s a one-layer cake with frosting on top (as opposed to the strata of a layer cake). I like ’em tall and topped off with a hearty layer of frosting. I know many snack cake recipes forego the frosting, but that’s just wrong if you ask me. If I’m going to have cake, I want frosting, too. For the batter, I prefer a one-bowl method. Since snack cakes are more rustic, and a little rougher around the edges, whisking the batter together works great. You’re not aiming for a fine, delicate crumb that only a high-speed mixer can provide. In this carrot cake, almond flour is the predominant flour, which makes for a rich, dense, moist texture. A little all-purpose flour helps with structure, and you can use gluten-free all-purpose if you’d like. I tested side by side with traditional all-purpose, and neither I nor anyone else in my family could tell the difference. I use honey to sweeten this cake because I love how its floral complexity complements almonds. And because honey is more hygroscopic (absorbs more moisture from the air) than sugar, the cake keeps well and stays moist for a week or more. One side note where the frosting is concerned: I had some cream cheese that I bought at a discount grocer and wanted to see how it would perform here. The verdict? Yuck. It was ropey and strange (it must have contained more guar or xanthan gum), so I seriously warn you about straying from a tried-and-true brand. Your snack cake deserves better. And so do you.

How to Drink Your Juice and Eat It Too

Think a juice cleanse is going to make up for all that holiday eating? We dare you to double down by also using the pulp in one of these 5 unexpected ways.

How to Turn Carrots into a Luscious Flourless Cake

Dense, moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is an American classic that was invented in the 1970s and remains popular forty years later.

12 Carrot Cake Recipes to Keep in Your Back Pocket This Spring

Nothing brings together savory and sweet elements like carrot cake. The fluffy cream cheese frosting with a moist and buttery cake is a treat we like just as much for dessert as for breakfast (because, why not?). The best carrot cake recipes span the gap between the traditional frosted layer cake and newer updates on the classic (including a gluten-free one). Carrot cake muffins, carrot cake cookies, even carrot cake waffles will take the springy dessert to a new level. If you’re looking to bake a classic carrot cake from scratch, or looking for a twist on the classic, these recipes will satisfy everyone.