Sweet & Savory Spring Carrot Cake

Posted by Lindsay Kluge on Thursday, May 31, 2018

I’ll be the first to admit that I am no natural baker. I can follow a recipe like a pro, and have some (often fluke) skill at making on-the-fly recipe adjustments. And yeah, stuff usually turns out acceptably good and frankly, I’m not a stickler for visual perfection which I know totally doesn’t serve me in the foodie blog world. BUT! That’s no reason not to just have total happiness and overconfidence when sharing a recipe that I actually do love, and is perfect for a spring / early summer excuse to eat some veggies with some sugar and fresh flowers. Thus, my ultra moist sweet and savory spring carrot cake. 

A favorite spring recipe of mine has always been spiced carrot cake. May is my birthday month, and almost every year carrot cake is my cake of choice…often using a different variation of a recipe every year. This year, I was experimenting with a more savory and less sweet version of a carrot cake and then making the icing a bit sweeter. Thus, if I’m in the mood for a less sweet cake I can just eat a little less icing, and if I want a little more sweet I’ll eat allllll the icing with every piece. I’ve made this cake in the past with several different variations – new flours and different spices and various forms of natural sugars. Each time the cake turned out a bit on the dry side (which, I don’t always mind because – ice cream fixes that) but this time I used a bit more oil and oat flour which adds a nice moisture to the end product. The spices, however, can make or break a good carrot cake. 

With this version of my spiced carrot cake, the cinnamon is just absolutely amazing. If you haven’t had Mountain Rose Herbs sweet cinnamon powder yet – it’s some of the best cinnamon powders you’ll ever have! It’s so rich and complex and subtly sweet…I’ve been putting this in everything from cakes to oatmeals to smoothies and even my morning yogurt. I also used a bit of allspice and nutmeg to flesh out the classic flavors of a spiced carrot cake, and added a bit of vanilla bean powder for a more savory and robust flavor. As for the oils, this is pretty forgiving. I prefer to use sunflower seed oil but you can use vegetable oil or safflower or even olive oil if you want a really savory cake (but the flavor will be more altered using olive oil). You can use more or less oil (but 1/4 cup either way) for a more moist or dryer cake. This cake turned out quite moist, so I would err on the side of less if you prefer a dryer more flaky cake. 

Sweet & Savory Spring Carrot Cake

For the Cake:
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1.5 spelt flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp sweet cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1/2 tsp allspice powder
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup sunflower seed oil
  • 1 pound of carrots
For the Frosting:
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Shred the carrots in a food processor or grater - you should have approximately 3 cups. Combine all of the dry ingredients (flours, spices, baking soda and baking powder) in a large bowl. Add the carrots to the dry ingredients and mix well until the carrots are well coated. In the same food processor, mix the eggs and sugars together until well blended. While still blending, add in the oil and mix well, about 30 seconds. Scrape the mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and blend all together well until a batter forms. Taking 2 round pie pans, place parchment paper (rounded cut outs) at the bottom of the the pans and grease the edges. Pour the batter into the 2 pie pans equally and let sit a few minutes to settle. Bake for about 40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from heat and let cool completely in the pan (if you try to remove too early the cake may fall to pieces). Once completely cooled, ice away. For the icing, in a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combine (you'll need to scrape down the edges several times). Add in the powdered sugars in 1/4 cups at a time until completely mixed, tasting as you go to get to the your desired sweetness. Once all combined, ice each layer of the cake to your desired thickness and decorate with whatever's blooming outside!

This post is sponsored by my friends at Mountain Rose Herbs. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It is my goal to use and recommend only the highest quality herbal products from companies that I wholly trust and fully support. Industry standards including sustainable harvesting, quality control, organic / fair trade standards and responsible sourcing are all things I care deeply about when working with herbs and herbal companies. I have been using Mountain Rose Herbal products for almost a decade, and have always been so impressed with their commitment to environmental stewardship. You can sign up for their newsletter here to receive extra tips, tricks and monthly product specials! Thank you for supporting the brands that help to make this blog possible.