To know me is to know I LOVE carrot cake. The rich spice, tender crumb (this one happens to be gluten free!), and natural sweetness — plus all the impressive pomp and circumstance of a layer cake, but this version could not be easier.
I got rid of raisins and added extra carrots and walnuts to pack this lovely snacking cake full of flavor and texture — and don’t mind me while I pillow clouds of fluffy brown sugar buttercream frosting on top!
See this recipe come to life on IG.
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves: 8 to 10
Coconut oil, for greasing
1 cup walnuts
¾ cup almond flour
¾ cup oat flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup carrots, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
Brown Sugar Frosting (yields 1 cup) :
¼ cup (1/2 stick) salted butter, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons used during the whisking in of confectioners’ sugar if too thick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
•Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan with coconut oil and line with parchment paper, set aside.
•Spread the walnuts onto a baking sheet and allow to toast for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking halfway through, until fragrant and nutty smelling. Remove from the oven, allow to cool then roughly chop and set aside.
•In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and whisk to combine.
•In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil and the sugar until well-combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well between each one (adding a little bit of air here in the whisking helps the cake rise a little more to become a bit more airy and not too dense). Lastly add the applesauce and the vanilla and whisk again until everything is smooth.
•Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the center of the well. Gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together until a nice batter forms. Add the grated carrots and walnuts and stir again until everything has come together nicely.
•Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and allow to bake for 38 to 40 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
•Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan then flip out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
•Meanwhile, make the brown sugar frosting. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat add the butter, brown sugar and heavy cream and bring to a low boil, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes. You are looking for the sugar to completely dissolve, it will look like a delicious creamy caramel sauce that you would pour over ice cream. Remove the mixture from the heat once combined, and allow to cool completely. When the sauce is completely cooled, it will have thickened slightly, it should look almost like thick butterscotch at this point (you can chill in the refrigerator more quickly, be sure to stir every 10 minutes or so while cooling down to keep the cooling rate even in the sauce).
•Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer. On low speed, add the confectioners’ sugar in ½ cup stages, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and airy, 5 minutes in total. Add a tablespoon of heavy cream if the mixture is looking to crumbly and paste-like, this will help it to thin out (I had to add about a tablespoon of cream after adding each cup of confectioners’ sugar). Add more confectioners’ sugar if the frosting is looking too loose to thicken. The consistency of this frosting is light and airy and very spreadable.
•During the last increment of the sugar add the vanilla extract as well and beat again until combined. Spread onto the top of the completely cooled cake. Feel free to garnish the cake with additional chopped walnuts as desired.
•The best storage of this cake is in the refrigerator lightly covered with plastic. The frosting will slightly harden if not covered with plastic depending on preference.