16 July 2007

Whole Grain Carrot Cake

Back in March, Mom and Dave, who have long encouraged my culinary pursuits, gave me two whole grain baking books for my 38th birthday. This carrot cake recipe comes from one of those books, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. It’s a wonderfully easy recipe that results in a light, moist, delicious cake that hardly tastes like it’s made from whole wheat flour.

It’s not your typical, many-spiced cake with raisins. Instead, it uses quite a bit more carrot than usual, shredded coconut and pineapple to keep it moist and sweet.

I’ve altered it for agave nectar by cutting the amount of oil and sweetener. The original calls for two cups of sugar, but that seemed a bit on the sweet side. I was right. When I brought my altered cake to some friends to try for the first time, they said the sweetness was right on the money.

This cake definitely improves over time. Serve it a day after you bake it, keeping it at room temperature in a sealed container. It makes all the difference.

This recipe yields two 9-in rounds, 3 8-in rounds, 24 full-sized cupcakes or one 9 x 13 in. sheet cake.


4 large eggs
6 oz grapeseed oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups agave nectar
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (I did this with the food processor to get tiny pieces)
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple, very well drained (as much as possible)


1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour your pans and/or put liners in your cupcake pans.
2. Beat the eggs and add the oil while the mixer is running.
3. Add the vanilla and agave nectar, mixing well.

4. In a very large glass measuring cup, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing to achieve a smooth batter.

6. Mess up your smooth batter by adding the carrots, coconut and pineapple. Mix well.

7. Fold in the nuts.
8. Pour the batter into your pans and bake. Cupcake pans should be turned 180 degrees at 10 minutes. If you’re baking a pan of cupcakes and one 9-in. pan, switch the positions of the pans in the oven after you turn the cupcake pan. Seven minutes later, take out the cupcakes and move the cake to the center of the oven. Then, turn up the heat to 350 degrees F to finish the cake. It should take another 17-23 minutes to finish. Use the toothpick in the center method to test for doneness. The toothpick should just have the tiniest bit of cake on it.

9. Cool the cake/cupcakes in their pans (tip cupcakes up so that their bottoms are tilted and not touching the bottom of the pans) for 1 hour before releasing them from their pans and cooling completely a rack before frosting. Let the cake sit a day before frosting and serving.

10. To frost the cupcakes, first poke a hole in the middle of the top of a cupcake, then fill the hole with frosting. Then, frost the top, covering the hole.

As you can see from the photo above, when you're poking your cupcake, you may run up against a nut or chunk of pineapple. If you do, don't worry, just fill it with frosting!

Here's a photo of the 9-in. round I made covered with Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World's "Super Natural Agave Icing." I added more coconut to it, so that's why it's lumpy.


Anonymous said...

Looks great! That cake didn't last long when I made it from my King Arthur book. I used their "white" whole wheat flour.

I found something that might help your cookie problem: Date sugar. It contains fiber and is supposed to be digested slowly. It won't disolve, so use agave nectar for ice cream and beverages.


Deb Schiff said...

Thanks for your comment, and thanks for stopping by. While I love dates, I get the same effect from dates as I do from sugar -- I get very hot, flushed and later, moody. So, sorry to say, date sugar is out for me.

Also, I found that using coconut flour has done quite a bit to improve the cookie problem, thankfully. Also, I'm going to experiment a bit with barley flour. :D

Anonymous said...

I like barley flour, but my favorite flour is oat flour.

Since you like whole grain foods (I love them), you might also like "Laurel's Kitchen: Bread Book". Look for it on amazon.com, it's a very good price on amazon.

Anyway, all the recipes in the book are 100% whole grain. It has three sections. Yeast breads, quick breads, and bread machine usage. There are many great yeast breads in it, such as the Oatmeal bread, Anadama bread, Sourdough rye. Also there are really great quick breads in it. Like the Poppy loaf, carrot prune bread, fresh fruit muffins, cornbread, and many variations.
The recipes, instructions, and tips are written with lots of personality.

I'm like you, I modify nearly all of my recipes to suit my tastes and health restrictions. My mom bought me an entire book on bread (The Bread bible by Rose Levy), and there were few recipes I would have considered making without major modifications. Nearly every recipe was 100% white bread.
I did try making one of the breads without substituting for whole wheat.. but I just don't like the taste of white flour anymore (except for pie crusts).

Laurel's Kitchen is one of the few books I've made few, or no modifications to.

In the King Arthur Flour book, try the chocolate chip cookies. They have barley flour in them. You can use carob chips instead of chocolate chips.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks so much for all the great tips, Moop_stick! I'll look into them. I've picked out a new recipe to try in the Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain baking book for the next post.

This time, I'll be substituting the butter for yogurt to cut the fat since I'm dieting right now.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this! i made it for my son's first birthday cake and he LOVED it - so did everyone else.
will make again and again:)

first time using grapeseed oil but not my last.

Deb Schiff said...

You're most welcome! Glad it was a hit. I'll probably be making another carrot cake soon. There's a sale on 5lb bags of organic carrots at stop and shop. ;D

Thanks for stopping by.

emily said...

Thank you so much for this recipe! Substituted 6 oz grapeseed oil with 3/4 cup Kerrygold Butter, used 2 cups raisins instead of the pineapple and pecans, and used an extra cup of carrots instead of the coconut. Didn't have vanilla or nutmeg so added an extra 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, and didn't have baking powder so used more baking soda instead. Used "White Whole Wheat Flour" (still a whole grain variety supposedly - just a different sweeter variety of wheat). They turned out great! Moist, fluffy, and perfectly sweet (with added icing)!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Emily. That sounds wonderful! I'll have to try your version when I'm back on my feet.