Delicious, moist and with a cheese frosting, but without any nuts – yes, that is my carrot cake. I have made many carrot cake in my life, but this one is my favorite.
You may wonder why I’d skip a key ingredient in a classic carrot cake, the nuts? I’m not a nut-hater, but I wanted to make a nut-free cake, so people with nut allergies can enjoy carrot cake too!
The second reason I skipped them in this recipe is that nuts disappear very quickly in my home. It’s much easier to just make carrot cake without them than to constantly run to the store and replenish my supply.
The results are surprisingly good and I really do not miss the nuts at all!
But we have a carrot cake to make, so no more delays. Read on for this perfectly moist and delicious carrot cake recipe – without the nuts!
What Makes a Good Carrot Cake?
Good carrot cake balances many variables. The cake has to be sweet yet with a hint of spice, moist, yet delicate, beautiful, but not pretentious.
The recipe I am about to share embraces all of these features and they all are packed under a delicious layer of fluffy cream cheese frosting.
Many carrot cakes are extremely sweet. The carrot cake recipes usually call for two types of sugar – brown and white. I do stick with these, but I use brown sugar as the main sugar, and less of the white.
Sugar is a tenderizer and for cakes, that is important. You want your dessert to be sweet enough, but not so sweet that your teeth ache!
Why Make Carrot Cake?
Besides the obvious fact that the carrot cake is as delicious and perfect as a cake can be, it is also the tastiest way to incorporate a dose of veggies into a sweet treat.
Carrots are loaded in nutrients, especially beta carotene which is good for skin and eye health. So, with each piece of the carrot cake, you are actually doing good to yourself – pampering yourself on a kind of healthy way. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I’m eating this dessert!
Key Steps For Making a Carrot Cake
First, always prepare your pan! When I started baking this was my last thing to do, and it is completely wrong.
For this recipe you will bake two carrot cake sponges, so you will need two 8-inch spring form pans. I love these as they are perfect for easy removal and they are the ones I always choose.
Prepare your pans by lining them with a parchment paper and greasing the sides of a pan with butter.
If you think you can just pour the batter in one large spring form pan and cut through it, in order to get two sponges, I must beg you not to! You will get a sponge that is unbaked in the center. To get the center perfectly baked, your top and bottom layer will burn.
So, stick with two spring form pans!
Second, add carrots at the right time! I add carrots in the last step, once the batter is done because it’s easy, but if you want something special, mix half the carrots with the dry ingredients, and the remaining with the liquid ingredients.
The flour will prevent the grated carrot from sinking to the bottom, and will be evenly distributed through the cake. This is just an extra step in case your grated carrot is not finely grated.
Lastly, always cool the sponges! I cannot emphasize how important this step is. For one thing, you have to cool the sponges in the spring from pan before removal. If you try to remove the sponge while still warm, you may break it.
For another, applying frosting over a warm sponge will make the frosting melt and can also tear up your cake. Now no one wants to see that!
How to Get That Moist Spongey Texture
The key to moist carrot cake is in grating carrots yourself.
With the help of a box grater, the carrot sherds are fine and retain a lots of moisture, meaning they get nice and tender in the oven, and add a lots of carrot flavor.
You can use the store-bought shredded carrots, but if you want to use them, I would place these just a bit in a microwave to soften them up. Still, freshly grated carrots are much better and will give the best results.
The Perfect Frosting
The perfect frosting is that smooth, sweet, yet refreshing confection that complements the cake perfectly.
As the cake is sweet enough, your frosting has to be only moderately sweet, otherwise the cake may be overfilled with the sugar.
I use fresh chilled mascarpone for the cheese frosting, but you can use the plain cream cheese.
Make sure the cream cheese is chilled and cut into cubes before you start mixing it. You can use a hand held mixer or a mixed with the paddle attachment, which blends perfectly.
How To Make a Carrot Cake Without Nuts
Start by making the cake.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 8-inch spring form pans with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs with oil, vanilla, brown and white sugar.
Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir until smooth.
Finally, stir in the grated carrots.
Divide the batter between two spring form pans, and gently tap on the kitchen counter to settle the batter.
Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cake in the spring form pan for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Continue to cool the cake while you make the frosting.
Make the frosting as the cake cools.
In a bowl, beat mascarpone or cream cheese until creamy. Beat in powdered sugar, ¼ cup at the time.
Pour in heavy cream and beat for 1 minute. Chill the frosting until the cake is completely cooled down.
Assemble your cake. Frost the top of one cake layer, and place the second cake layer on top. Frost the second layer and cover the sides. This is not mandatory, but looks nice.
Refrigerate cake for 1 hour before slicing and serving.
- For the Cake: 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup brown sugar, ½ cup white sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 4 eggs, 3 cups grated carrots
- For the Frosting: 8oz. mascarpone or cream cheese (chilled), 1 ¼ cup powdered sugar, ⅓ cup heavy cream, a squeeze of lemon juice (optional for a nice, fresh kick)
Start by making the cake.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 8-inch spring form pans with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs with oil, vanilla, brown and white sugar.
- Gradually fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir until smooth.
- Finally, stir in the grated carrots.
- Divide the batter between two spring form pans, and gently tap on the kitchen counter to settle the batter.
- Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the spring form pan for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Continue to cool the cake while you make the frosting.
Make the frosting as the cake cools.
- In a bowl, beat mascarpone or cream cheese until creamy. Beat in powdered sugar, ¼ cup at the time.
- Pour in heavy cream and beat for 1 minute. Chill the frosting until the cake is completely cooled down.
- Assemble your cake. Frost the top of one cake layer, and place the second cake layer on top. Frost the second layer and cover the sides. This is not mandatory, but looks nice.
- Refrigerate cake for 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 221mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 37gProtein: 6g
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