Rustic Carrot Cake

by Ross Lamkin



  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots, tightly packed
  • 1⁄2 cup raisins, preferably golden
  • 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped pecans or wal- nuts, toasted if desired

Gabriela Herman

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour an 8- or 9-inch cake pan, springform if possible. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices until well combined. Set aside.

In an electric mixing bowl, whisk together the orange zest and brown sugar on low to medium speed untilcombined and the sugar is perfumed. Add the eggs and whisk on medium-high until light and thick, about 3 or 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. The orange zest may stick to the whisk— gently scrape it back into the batter with a spatula.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly drizzle this mixture into the sugar, zest, and egg mixture. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until everything is completely incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the dry ingredients, gently folding them into the wet batter with a spatula until fully incorporated. Then, gently fold in the carrots, raisins, and nuts as well.

Pour the finished cake batter into the prepared pan and bake on the center rack of the oven for approximately 1 hour, rotating the pan after 30 minutes to ensure even baking. The cake should be a deep golden brown. You’ll know it’s done when the edges have just begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, the top is no longer wet and springs back when gently pressed with a finger, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely in the pan before removing and frosting.


12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon table or kosher salt
1 3⁄4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Combine all ingredients except the confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high until smooth and everything is well incorporated, approximately 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the confectioner’s sugar and mix again until the sugar is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth and fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Spread on the cake and serve.

Yield: 1 large cake, 10-12 servings