I used to think I hated carrot cake, and then I realized that I just hate nuts in baked goods. Don’t get me wrong, there’s really nothing fundamentally wrong with nuts and I deeply enjoy them in other foods. I.e. my favorite hazelnut arugula salad, which is my salad of choice and is made on repeat in The Gourmet Gourmand house and beyond (i.e. my mom’s house and my sister’s house for any get-together).But! Despite my nutty love, there’s something about the texture of nuts in baked goods that just interrupts things for me. Thus I prefer my cakes, cookies, and brownies unadulterated and nut-free.
So low and behold, when I discovered nut-free carrot cake is something that exists, I learned to be a reveler. Because rich, sweet, spice cake dotted with moisture-enhancing carrots and smeared with glorious and tangy cream cheese frosting is my idea of dream-dessert-come-true.
This recipe is the Cooks Illustrated carrot cake recipe, which I’ve adapted for loaf-making. I’ve been meaning to make their cake for a very long time- namely because the reviews are stellar, but also because it was created as an intentionally nut-free carrot cake! Score.
The cake is really everything that you could want in a carrot cake- it is moist, tender, spicy, and has great soft texture (read: not too dense or too fluffy). And I found that the cake gets better with age- day 1 is great, but days 2 and 3 are even better. It’s all about that carroty moisture, methinks.The frosting is a classic cream cheese frosting; a stick of cream cheese, a little butter, and a whole lot of powdered sugar. I did go a little over-board and dyed a little bit of the frosting with orange and green food coloring so that I could make cute carrot decorations all over the carrot cake loaf. (Because Easter season is seriously all about cute and adorable decorating, amirite?)This recipe actually makes 2 loaves of carrot cake, but you can easily halve the recipe if you are someone who is also a carrot cake reveler, but perhaps wanting to watch the waistline.For me, I can never have enough carrot cake and have an inappropriate and very unhealthy aversion to dieting. So I took one cake to the office (gotta make the new coworkers like me..) but kept one at home for intermittent “light snacking” aka gorging.So be prepared, folks, this adorable Carrot Cake Loaf was so amazingly good that it might just have made its way into “tradition” land of The Gourmet Gourmand Easter celebration.And I hope will become tradition at your house as well. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake Loaf
_For the Loaves_
_For the Cream Cheese Frosting_
For the Loaves
For the cream cheese frosting: