Homemade Carrot Cake

I gave my mother’s homemade carrot cake recipe a makeover, using applesauce (so less oil!), cardamom, toasted pecans and my homemade cream cheese frosting.

This year we’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and then moving right on to Easter.

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It always feels strange celebrating Easter in March. Spring literally just arrived but here in the mitten it’s still pretty cold. Even when Easter is in April, rarely is it warm enough for an outdoor egg hunt or to wear those cute spring dresses that are out on display, so when it’s in March it’s even worse. Seriously, the weather app on my phone says there’s a chance of snow this Friday. Case and point. A white Easter?

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As a kid some of my fondest memories revolve around Easter. Hunting for eggs in my purple housecoat, getting water color paints in my basket and my mom’s carrot cake. She’d alternate between making this Lemon Lime Cake or carrot cake and I remember seeing it served right after the traditional ham and cheesy potato dinner. Seeing it and never tasting it because helloooo carrots in cake was not my idea of a dessert. How wrong I was.

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Obviously I got over myself and jumped on the homenade carrot cake wagon.

My mom was gracious enough to give me her recipe. After taking a look at it, I decided I would make a few minor changes. Changes that I’m positive my mom would approve of; like adding in ground cardamom and freshly grated nutmeg, swapping out half of the oil for applesauce and instead of walnuts, I mix in toasted pecans- which in my opinion, make this cake.

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Gather and pre-measure all of your ingredients. This makes the whole process easy and effortless.

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Another good idea is to prepare the pan ahead of time, simply grease a 9-inch spring-form pan by greasing with a tablespoon of butter and then add in 2 tablespoons of sugar, turning the pan to coat then tipping out any extra. Then just set it off to the side.

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Into a medium bowl, crack in 3 large eggs and add in a 1/2 cup of both apple sauce and grapeseed oil.

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To that, add in a tablespoon of vanilla extract and a 1-1/2 cup sugar, then mix until all of the ingredients are combined.

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In a large bowl, measure and add in the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg, then whisk to combine.

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Pour the wet ingredients…

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Then stir by hand to incorporate.

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Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

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Next add in the 1-1/2 cups of grated carrot and a 1/2 cup of chopped toasted pecans.

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…mix…

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…until combined.

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Pour in the carrot cake batter…

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Then slide the cake into a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.

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Allow the cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before releasing the spring form and removing it from around the cake. Run a large offset spatula between the cake and bottom of the pan and transfer the cake to a cooling rack to cool for 2 hours.

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Once the cake has cooled make the cream cheese frosting.

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Scoop a large amount onto the cake.

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Spread from the center out towards the edge…

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…until it falls over the edge of the cake.

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I may be the worst cake froster but there it its.

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Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of finely chopped toasted pecans. Then I pop the cake into the fridge until ready to serve.

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So pretty. Oh and if you’re using my cream cheese frosting recipe, you may have some frosting left over… try dipping strawberries in it. AMAZING!

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The flavors of this homemade carrot cake is outstanding. The cardamom and cinnamon is so lovely and the toasted pecans are my favorite part.

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It doesn’t have to be Easter to make this cake. But if you do make it… invite me over?

Enjoy!

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My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

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Homemade Carrot Cake

I gave my mother's carrot cake recipe a makeover, using applesauce (so less oil!), cardamom, toasted pecans and my homemade cream cheese frosting! Same delicious cake, just a updated!

Yield: 1 9-inch springform (about 8) or 1 9x13 pan (about 12)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: about 1 hour plus 2 hours for cooling

Total Time: about 3 hours and 30 minutes

Ingredients:

3 large eggs

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 cup sugar

1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1-1/2 cups grated carrot (about 4 medium carrots)

1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Cream Cheese Frosting

GARNISH:

1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch spring-form pan with a tablespoon of butter. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to the pan and turn to coat, tipping out any extra.

In a medium bowl crack in 3 eggs and then add in the applesauce, oil, sugar and vanilla. Then use a hand mixer and blend to combine.

In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Whisk to combine before pouring the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry.

Use a spatula and mix by hand until just combined. Then add in the carrots and the 1/2 cup of pecans, stirring those into the cake batter.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and slide into your preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean after being inserted in the center.

Allow the cake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before releasing the spring form and removing it from around the cake. Slide a large offset spatula between the cake and the pan, then transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 2 hours.

Once the cake is cool, make the cream cheese frosting and frost the cake. Pop the cake into the fridge until ready to slice and serve.

Note: to toast the pecans, add whole nuts to a 10-inch skillet. Heat over medium-low until fragrant. Let cool and chop.

Also, the baking time may alter depending on your oven, the pan your using so watch carefully and check it as early as the 40 minute mark.

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6 Responses to “Homemade Carrot Cake”

  1. #
    1
    danielle — March 21, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    oh no: I was all set to make sigrid’s carrot cake from the pioneer woman. and now you post this?!?! you always win in my book, so nevermind, sigrid.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — March 22nd, 2016 @ 1:26 pm

      Ha ha! Well thank you, friend! I hope you like it!

  2. #
    2
    Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures — March 23, 2016 at 7:37 am

    I like the cardamom in this cake! Yum!

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    3
    danielle — March 29, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    Just following up to tell you that you win. This cake was awesome. I’m eating a leftover piece (how are there leftovers?!) right now. It is confirmed: so long, Sigrid.

  4. #
    4
    Donald Beilke — April 4, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    What oil could I substitute for the grapeseed oil? It expensive where I live and would only need it for this recipe.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — April 5th, 2016 @ 10:00 pm

      Hi Donald! You can try an extra light (so it’s flavorless) olive oil or even coconut oil would be fine too!

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