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eat cake: get more veggies in your diet
[5 ingredients | simple baking]

carrot cake-2

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been slightly disappointed by my efforts to make carrot cake. I mean, I love the concept of grated carrots adding sunshiney colour and moistness to a cake. And I adore the idea of them bringing along their wonderful earthy sweetness to the land of cake. But every time I’ve followed a carrot cake recipe, it just hadn’t really tasted like, well, carrots.

So a few weeks ago I came home from the farmers markets with a seriously large bunch of carrots. We’re talking a bargain, $2 for enough carrots to feed an elephant, or at least Bugs Bunny’s whole extended family. We’re talking carrots with their tops on, so vibrant and perky that you knew they had only been picked hours ago.

I’ve been on a quest to increase my veggie intake since talking to nutritionist Kathryn Elliott and realising that my diet could do with a boost in the veggie department. Maybe it was time that I got a little veggie goodness at dessert time?

So I decided to invent with my own carrot cake recipe. Something delicious. A cake where the carrots are standing proud, the star of the show rather than hiding and apologising for showing themselves in the world of sweet treats. And my friends, we have a winner.

This cake is so moist, I think it’s almost impossible to over bake. The texture is like my ginger self-saucing pudding but with carrot bits. It’s the type of cake that doesn’t need cream or ice cream or frosting to accompany it. Although I’m sure a little of the cream cheese frosting from my chocolate guinness cake wouldn’t go astray.

And best of all it’s both gluten and dairy free, so my Dad can enjoy it too. Yay for carrot cake!


carrot cake video

carrot cake carrot cake-3

[5 ingredients | simple baking]
super moist carrot cake

serves 6 – 8

Almond meal can be expensive, though so if you’d prefer to keep costs down substitute the almond meal with some self raising flour or all flour. The texture will be lighter and more traditionally cakey, but it will still be lovely. You probably won’t need to bake it as long either.

This is like one of those wonderfully squidgy brownie recipes where it’s not meant to be cooked all the way through. If you’re a little nervous about eggs not being 100% cooked, by all means do so, but the texture will loose some of it’s pudding-like moistness.

I’ve also made these as 2 individual serves, recipe below

250g (8 1/2 oz) brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil
3 eggs
250g (8 1/2 oz) almond meal
250g (8 1/2 oz) carrots, coarsely grated

1. Preheat your oven with a baking sheet on the middle shelf to 180C (350F).

2. Line a 20cm (8in) spring form cake tin with baking paper. Grease the base and side with a little oil.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and oil.

4. Add eggs, one at a time mixing to combine. Stir in almond meal and carrots.

5. Pour cake mixture into the prepared tin and level off with a spoon.

6. Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden and feels firm to the touch. Cool in the tin.

carrot cake-5
[5 ingredients | simple baking]
super moist carrot cake – 2 servings

For times when you want something sweet but the idea of a whole cake lying around the house isn’t appealing.

If you don’t want the cake to stick, it’s critical that you follow step2.

If you were cooking for a dinner party you could easily mix up the cakes ahead and then pop them in the oven to cook while you eat your main course. You could bake the recipe above in 6 ramekins and use the baking time below.

85g (3oz) brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
1 egg
85g (3oz) almond meal
85g (3oz) carrots, coarsely grated

1. Preheat your oven with a baking sheet on the middle shelf to 180C (350F).

2. Line 2 x 1cup ramekins with baking paper. Grease the base and side with a little oil.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and oil.

4. Add eggs, one at a time mixing to combine. Stir in almond meal and carrots.

5. Pour cake mixture into the prepared ramekins and level off with a spoon.

6. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and feels firm to the touch. Cool in the ramekins or serve warm with icecream.
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And it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally updated my Now Reading list. Kinda surprised that I’m still on track to make 52 books for the year.

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{ 60 comments… add one }

  • Marie (a.k.a. gardenfreshtomatoes) 28 October, 2010, 8:41 pm

    That looks amazing. Plenty of carrots left in the garden, too…

    Do you suppose this could be baked in individual cakes?

  • Lisa 28 October, 2010, 9:42 pm

    Oh, this cake looks delicious! I love sneaking veggies into baked goods for texture, taste, and a bit of nutrition. Although in this case, the Carrot Cake title gives it away :-). Thanks for your focus on 5-ingredients – can’t wait to try this one.

  • annette 28 October, 2010, 9:48 pm

    I love your recipes. I tweaked your recipe a little. Only 200 g sugar, butter instead of oil, added 70 g chopped dark chocolate and glazed the cake with 70 g melted dark chocolate too. Also delicious.

  • Sunshine [at] The Culinary Vampire 28 October, 2010, 10:03 pm

    I love this idea! I’m allergic to almonds, so I’ll sub in some pecan meal. Can’t wait to make this. Thanks!

  • Perfect for the weekend – this shoots to the top of the baking list. Almond meal is no biggie in a Vitamix, if you have one. Just throw in a handful of nuts and run the machine for a minute.

  • Henrika 28 October, 2010, 11:38 pm

    This is just what I needed to bring to tomorrow’s halloween party at my kids school! Great way to sneak in veggies into kids meal. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday 29 October, 2010, 12:16 am

    WOW. This sounds phenomenal. I will have to try making it!

  • Wei-Wei 29 October, 2010, 1:18 am

    I’ve never seen such a simple carrot cake recipe. I think I must make this into cupcakes.

  • Stephanie 29 October, 2010, 2:32 am

    oh my gosh, this is PERFECT! your blog always seems to be completely aligned with what my life needs. i too have realized that i need to up my veggie intake, and my partner is obsessed with carrot cake anyway… we’ll be making this over the weekend, after visiting the farmers’ market. hurray and thank you!

  • jules 29 October, 2010, 6:21 am

    I love that you have carrots in the garden marie
    Absolutely yes to baking in smaller serves – was planning to offer the recipes for both but time got away – now you’ve given me a great excuse to experiment with baking times this weekend. yay.

    annette
    great idea to get chocolate involved – would never have thought of chocolate and carrot together but makes perfect sense – glad you enjoyed.

    lisa
    good point – will try and get more creative in the future.. maybe it could be a ‘little ray of sunshine’ cake?

    henrika
    I hadn’t thought of the veggies for children thing.. but great idea!

    weiwei
    if you do make cupcakes, let me know how long they take to bake!

    great minds stephanie ;)

  • faeviante 29 October, 2010, 11:31 am

    Wow, dairy free cake! I have to try this.

  • Michelle 29 October, 2010, 12:21 pm

    Yum! I would love to see an update with cooking times for the indiviual cup cakes.

  • ramya reddy 29 October, 2010, 2:51 pm

    Jules, this is so sinful ! I love carrot cakes and cannot wait to try it out !

  • Emma 29 October, 2010, 3:42 pm

    Absolutely adore carrot cake, thanks for this healthy recipe :)

  • Tracy 30 October, 2010, 6:58 am

    The carrot cake looks good! I think i have to do this as soon as possible=)

  • Jennifer 30 October, 2010, 8:07 am

    So, this is probably a silly question….I notice in your various baking recipes recently, some ingredients are listed as so much of a cup etc., and other items are given only as so many oz or g, with no reference to cups or spoons. If one does not have a kitchen scale, would it work to assume that 8 oz of a given ingredient is close enough to a cup to work? Even though I think a cup of some foods must really weigh rather differently than a cup of others….The question is not so much specifically in relation to this recipe as just in general applied to any of them. Thanks for help! Have a great weekend! Jennifer

  • jules 30 October, 2010, 8:23 am

    Hi Jennifer
    Great question. I’d highly recommend investing in a set of kitchen scales, you can get decent digital ones for $20 these days.

    But if you do need to convert, different ingredients vary HEAPS in density so you need to convert for each particular ingredient. ie. 8oz of butter will not be the same in cups as 8oz flour. The best conversion website I’ve found is http://www.cuisinedumonde.com/convert.html it makes it really easy.

  • Jennifer 30 October, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Thanks! = )

  • gareth 31 October, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Hi Jennifer,

    Fantastic shots and the cake looks like the perfect partner for a strong cuppa and a book. Like the idea of using the almong meal. I wonder what it would be like with beetroot instead of carrot? Might have to try that and your tasty looking recipe. Thanks

  • jas 1 November, 2010, 11:44 am

    ooo – yum! Gluten Free Carrot Cake! And a traditional Carrot cake at that, being oil based! Your photos are stunning – love the little forks!

  • Mel 1 November, 2010, 6:05 pm

    Sounds absolutely delicious Jules! Think I might have to make it for my birthday :)
    Could I substitute the brown sugar though for maple syrup or date sugar?

  • jules 1 November, 2010, 7:01 pm

    Mel
    Love a girl who isn’t afraid to make her own birthday cake!
    The extra water in maple syrup might make it a bit too wet. I haven’t used date sugar but if it’s crystalline, I’d say it would be fine.
    Do let me know how you get on!

  • amber 1 November, 2010, 7:35 pm

    I have been OBSESSED with carrot cake recently; I’m not sure why. I can’t wait to try a riff on this one. I’m guessing I will go half walnut/pecan meal and half rice flour. I made a nice carrot cake recently with banana, carrot, and orange rind and juice, but it would totally flout your 5-ingredient rule. (It also had a maple cinnamon cream-cheese frosting.)

  • Deirdre 2 November, 2010, 12:04 am

    Put this cake recipe together in 10 minutes using plain flour and just a regular cake pan coated well with baking spray. It turned out beautiful! My 2 year old woke up this morning asking for more cake! I think I’ll make it with zucchini next week. Thank you for the great recipe(s)!

  • lisa 2 November, 2010, 4:44 am

    I love your blog! I am a working mom who is always looking to make a good meal in a hurry so I was thrilled when a friend introduced me to your blog.

    I made this carrot cake yesterday with the following modifications and it was delicious! Thanks for the great recipes.

    -250g of carrots is a lot of carrots! I didn’t have enough on hand, so I grated an apple to make up the difference
    -substituted half of the oil with applesauce
    -cut the sugar to 200g
    -threw in a handful of shredded coconut because I had some I needed to use up

  • jules 2 November, 2010, 7:06 am

    amber
    Im hearing you with the carrot cake obesssion!

    deirdre
    thanks for sharing – glad to hear the flour version works as well!

    lisa
    thanks! and you’re right – 250g carrots is a LOT. like the sound of your variations

  • Jennifer 2 November, 2010, 7:46 am

    Looks like a fabulous cake and very moist.

  • Shoshana 2 November, 2010, 4:16 pm

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you for this recipe! I made the smaller portion for my mom and I…she loves carrot cake and said she might even like this better than the usual carrot cake!!! It was very good, and so easy…did my best converting to US measurements since I don’t have a scale…and added a sprinkle of chopped pecans and a drizzle of raw honey on top. MMMM thanks!

  • Teresa 3 November, 2010, 6:05 am

    Hi, Jules,
    your carrot cake recipe looked so great (and simple) that I could not resist to bake it for a small family gathering yesterday. Admittedly, my baking tin’s diameter was larger than yours, and by mistake I put a cup of oil instead of half a cup, and used 4 eggs, and somewhat more carrots than the prescribed 250 g, and a cup of wheat flour instead of 250 g again, but the result was smashing! I served it with Greek-type yoghurt and apricot jam on the side; the cake vanished in no time. Thanks for a great idea!
    Teresa

  • jules 3 November, 2010, 6:29 am

    pleasure teresa
    wow, you really went to town on this one – so glad to have been an inspiration.

    shoshana
    love the addition of the pecans and honey – I was tempted to stretch it to 6 ingredients and add some pecans or walnuts

  • Hi Jules
    Just saw this come up on Photograzing – don’t you love it when your photo is out there?
    I finally made this last night and it was great, thank you. Can’t wait for more 5-ingredient recipes. Here’s my version http://carfreeinannarbor.blogspot.com/2010/11/5-ingredient-carrot-cake-by-stonesoup.html

    Astrid

  • Majeeda 7 November, 2010, 12:18 pm

    I must show this too my daughter. She does the carrot cakes around here and even though she is only in early primary school she does such a tremendous job of it. I’m sure she will enjoy watching your video.

    Also, I finally tried out your eggplant parmagiana recipe and I LOVE eggplant after that. It was so, so good. Thank you.

  • iggy 8 November, 2010, 2:18 pm

    It’s getting cold here in the UK now and to warm up in the morning I decided to make a variation of my normal breakfast – carrot cake, well, of sorts! No added sugar, no butter and will fit in with your 5 ingredients (although whenever possible I will always go up to about 7) and prob within 10mins. I saw the recipe on a food blog (I found it on a teenage gourmet’s blog but it was originally by teenage health freak) and modified it to suit me. Mix oats and dessicated coconut and add milk to cover, grate a good sized carrot and chop up 2/3 dates finely (or use raisins, sultanas or apple to add some fruity sweetness, if you want) and add to the soaking oats and coconut. Heat and stir until it gets to a consistency you like (I like mine to be quite thick with a lot of the moisture evaporated, a bit like a soggy cake). That’s it! I added almonds and dashes of nutmeg and cinnamon too but that takes it to 8 ingredients.

  • Ginger 22 November, 2010, 6:31 pm

    Hi Jules

    I’ve made this tonight and my flatmates and I have just eaten well over half in one sitting. SO CRAZY DELICIOUS. Thanks so much for this recipe!

    Ginger

  • Theresa 23 November, 2010, 12:05 pm

    This looks amazing! I’ve found almond meal and am going to try it out.

    Is there any reason that I shouldn’t substitute olive oil for vegetable oil? Forgive me if its an obvious answer, I’m a cooking newbie.

    Thanks!

  • jules 23 November, 2010, 2:13 pm

    hey theresa
    If you have a ‘light’ flavoured olive oil that would be fine but regular extra virgin is going to really change the flvour profile which is why I’ve used vegetable. Hope that helps
    J

  • Theresa 3 December, 2010, 7:59 am

    Thanks for the info, Jules. I made this on (US) Thanksgiving, with veggie oil, and it was FANTASTIC. I will definitely be making it again. It was such a hit!

    Thanks for sharing it.

  • jules 3 December, 2010, 8:08 am

    awesome theresa
    so glad you enjoyed it! great idea for thanksgiving.

  • Tony 3 April, 2011, 10:08 pm

    Just wanted to drop a note saying ‘thank you’ for this and all the other wonderful recipes! I love how they have the basic ingredients you need for a delicious meal, so if you don’t have to raid the supermarket every time you decide to cook. From the basic recipe, it is very easy to modify and tweak, depending on your personal taste and available ingredients.
    This cake in particular I have made twice and plan to use even more often as me and my whole family LOVED it. My additions are the grated orange peel instead of 50gr carrot (fresh, not the candied stuff…) and some spices: nutmeg (I think it goes very well with this cake), cinamon, ginger and some vanilla. The smell is divine, and the peel gives a real freshness!
    Thanks!

  • Pascale 14 August, 2011, 10:14 pm

    I’ve just discovered your blog and there’s so much there that I’ll love ! I made the carrot cake yesterday. Man and children love it ! Only next time, they want the icing too … So, you see, your recipes are going to be a success in Belgium ! Your blog is already in my favourites next to Chocolate&Zucchini and Clea …

  • jules 16 August, 2011, 8:33 pm

    Pleasure Tony & Pascale

  • M 27 September, 2011, 4:25 pm

    Yum! This cake turned out soft and moist and tasted fantastic!
    I opted with 250g of self raising flour rather than almond meal. I added the flour before the carrots and it looked like it was going to become a big ball of dough, so quickly added the carrot which gave the batter a much better consistency. I was also running low on brown sugar. I only had 120g left so I topped that up to 160g with white sugar. I thought the sweetness of the cake was perfect with that amount of sugar.
    Thanks so much for this recipe too, Jules! It’s a winner!

  • Sumaiyyah 5 January, 2012, 4:16 pm

    This is the only recipe I’ve used for making carrot cakes so far, because it’s so easy. Thanks Jules!

  • Cheryl 26 March, 2012, 9:54 am

    My son is allergic to nuts…what can i used instead of almond or pecan meal?

    • jules 28 March, 2012, 8:53 am

      Cheryl
      Regular flour would be fine instead of the almond meal.. it will make the texture a little lighter and less moist but still good

  • Esther 15 April, 2012, 1:35 am

    I made this for my mum’s birthday last night, combining ground-up almonds with flour. It was superb! Thanks for all your recipes, Jules. I love that I don’t have to go to the grocery store to pick up a million new ingredients when I want to try a new recipe from your blog!

  • lorene 4 May, 2012, 4:55 am

    Looks great, how do I go about converting ounces to cups? I have no way of weighing ingredients.

  • Enya 27 May, 2012, 12:18 am

    This cake is amazingly moist, but it should really be called ‘absolutely divine carrot cake’! Maybe I’m biased, it’s definitely me fave cake, but I think anyone would love this. I added some fresh ginger (arguably too much for some) but I loved it as did my housemates :D I’m still finding my feet in the kitchen so was lovely to have a success, the same can be said for your other recipes Jules. You make cooking so easy, because it is, and always should be! Thanks for always putting a smile on my face when I receive you interesting emails. Enya :)

    • jules 31 May, 2012, 10:10 am

      Thanks Enya!
      Love your new name for the cake :)

  • Sara 28 June, 2012, 11:21 pm

    This recipe is delicious, thank you.
    I threw in some crushed walnuts and grated orange peel plus a dab of juice, using flour instead of the meal, and there were happy faces all round.
    My friends wanted seconds in no time ha. I had no option but to bake another!

  • emz 16 August, 2012, 10:16 pm

    Making this for the second time today. I make it half self-raising flour, half almond and i add in lovely spices like nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon, the result is gorgeous! the cake is moist yet like and fragrant!my fav carrot cake recipe by far!

    • jules 23 August, 2012, 12:40 pm

      Wonderful Emz!
      THanks for sharing

  • Leah 11 September, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Hi Jules, I came across your site from Pinterest and tried this yesterday. I used plain flour and baking powder instead of almond meal (none in the pantry), added mixed spice, and used probably a cup and a half of grated carrot, and it’s absolutely delicious! My husband has already threatened to eat the whole cake, so I’ll definitely be making this one again :)

    • jules 15 September, 2012, 12:47 am

      Yay Leah!
      So glad you liked it

  • Kris 3 December, 2012, 5:08 am

    I wanted to post a tweak of your (tasty) recipe that I made tonight, but wanted a version without sugar since I’ve followed a reduced-carb way of eating the last few years.

    The tweaks (some out of necessity, some not):

    For the oil I used a blend of melted organic coconut oil and salted butter, about half of each.

    I didn’t have quite enough almond flour handy so I used about 80% almond flour and 20% coconut flour (finely shredded dried coconut).

    And instead of brown sugar, I used a mixture of xylitol and stevia to sweeten – but since we don’t have brown sugar “substitutes” where I live (Northern Finland) to get some flavour into it I used a little bit of:

    grated fresh ginger (about a grape-sized dollop)
    a generous pinch each of powdered cardamom, cinnamon, clove
    2 drops caramel flavouring

    The recipe is forgiving, given all the changes I made, PLUS I had about an 18cm pan (7.5 inches), and it only needed 30 minutes or so (my oven can be a bit fast). It does break the 5-ingredient rule, granted, but it turned out really good, so thank you for this post!

    • jules 4 December, 2012, 5:27 pm

      Wonderful Kris!
      Thanks for sharing

  • Karly 16 January, 2013, 10:36 am

    Hey Jules, just discovered this great post! What would you say about substituting the almond meal for coconut flour? (only as I have lots of coconut flour in my pantry I’m trying to use up!) Would the flavours/texture not work as well? Thanks!

  • Gergana Dimitrova 2 February, 2013, 12:30 am

    It is a must to try this one great recipe.

  • Laura 12 July, 2015, 8:29 am

    I love the idea of the cake! However, there is way too much sugar. I weighed it out and it came out to more than 2 cups! I think you loose the savory sweet aspect of the carrot cake because it tastes so overly sugary sweet. I think it’s a fantastic idea, and it does showcase the carrots more than your typical carrot cake. It is also super moist. But, in my opinion there definitely needs to be a lot less sugar. Did anyone try it with less? How did it turn out? I would definitely try this one again.

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