A Genius, Chocolate-Splashed Bundt Cake for Halloween (and All Other Days)

October 18, 2017

This is, in fact, a carrot cake—even though at first glance, it seems to have almost nothing in common with the chunky sort of spice cake with cream cheese frosting loved in many corners of the world.

The defining trait these cake sisters share is, of course, the carrots, which bring moisture and sweetness to both. Neither requires much effort or forethought, and both are deeply, sweetly comforting. But the delivery method in this one—which I found by way of pastry chef, blogger, and Youtube star Danielle Noce—is much, much different.

In this carrot cake style—traditional in homes across Brazil—whole chunks of raw carrot go straight into the blender with eggs, oil, and sugar and quickly dissolve into a colorful batter.

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Carrots are much wimpier than you'd expect! There isn't a shred of solid matter left, even in low-tech blenders—just a smooth liquid that bakes into a downy, naturally orange-tinted pound cake without having to pre-grate (or even peel) a thing.

On Noce's baking blog, I Could Kill For Dessert—the biggest sweets site in Brazil—she's published a number of slightly different versions handed down from various family members. All of them are written in Portuguese, but with the help of Google Translate, I adapted and tested the one from her mother-in-law.

(That's how simple this recipe is: Even with a few direct translation hiccups—I did have to make the leap from "powder drink" to "baking powder"—there were few places to go astray.)

Although cream cheese frosting would taste just fine here (there are few places it wouldn’t), this sunny puff of a cake is instead hugged with a shiny dark chocolate ganache, offsetting the gentle sweetness with bitter and rich flavors instead of creamy tang.  

It's a comforting, not-too-sweet any-day cake, but it's also accidentally perfect for Halloween. Boo, naturally.

Photos by Julia Gartland

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected]. Thank you to my dear friend and Anita's Coconut Yogurt founder/genius Anita Shepherd for this one.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Rosalind P. December 31, 2017
Please help! The volume vs. weight measurements for flour don't appear to by in sync. Standard weight for 1 cup of all-purpose flour is 120 grams per cup. The recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of flour, which would convert to 210 grams, not 240. Is the volume correct, or the weight? Thank you!
Kristen M. January 1, 2018
The 240g weight is from Danielle Noce's blog, I Could Kill for Dessert, and the volume is backed out from that at 125g/cup (which is the standard conversion we use in our cookbooks). But it was still a couple tablespoons off in the conversion, so I've updated the amount—thank you for asking!
Michelle W. December 31, 2017
I made this cake just as written and it was a huge it. However, I’m also getting all sorts of ideas for the next time like roasting the carrots with maple syrup and adding warning spices. It’s so quick and easy to pull together.
[email protected] December 29, 2017
Can you share the source of your beautiful bundt pan?
Kristen M. December 30, 2017
Of course—here you go: https://food52.com/shop/products/3577-nordic-ware-heritage-bundt-pan
Lynn C. December 27, 2017
I've made this cake twice and both times it was a huge hit. I usually follow recipes exactly the first time, but for this one, I thought it sounded a bit bland, so I added the zest of an orange and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Next time I might try the warming spices that others have used instead. All of these would play very well with the ganache (which is an inspired choice).
shelagh December 27, 2017
This cake was beautiful to look at, and very easy to make. It just didn't taste like a carrot cake. I will make it again, naming it a spice cake not a carrot cake.
Jenny November 3, 2017
Made this with the addition of 1/2 teaspoon each of ginger, allspice and cinnamon and subbed out one cup of flour for whole wheat. Dense and subtly spiced crumb. Loved the ganache which was super easy and generous. My only mistakes were not buttering my bundt pan enough- perhaps the higher temp to start made it harder to dislodge from pan? AND: do not use avocado oil. I thought this would be neutral, but it gave the cake an odd undernote flavor.
Theatregirl25 October 23, 2017
I made this cake for Sunday dessert. We added a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and it was so good. Love. and super easy!
Suzy S. October 22, 2017
This is a beautiful cake! The batter was a little too bland for me, so I added 1 t. cinnamon & 1/2 t. ginger and vanilla. That gave it nice flavor without turning it into a spice cake. What I find puzzling is the ganache. OK, I'm not a huge "frosting" fan, but why a densely flavored ganache on this wonderful cake? I was happy I left it off. Served it with homemade, no-churn coffee ice cream. Everyone loved it, and it's SO easy!
Darice D. October 18, 2017
Any suggestions to make it without eggs for vegan friends? I was thinking bananas, but afraid it would affect the flavor~
Kristen M. October 19, 2017
The most common one I've heard of is ground flaxseed mixed with water, but this article has a lot more helpful context (and aquafaba, a.k.a. chickpea water, actually won her test!): https://food52.com/blog/14095-the-best-vegan-egg-replacer-for-baking
Jane R. October 18, 2017
What do you think of using almond flour instead of regular wheat flour here?
Kristen M. October 19, 2017
I haven't tried this myself—it would be quite a bit denser but might still be delicious, in a different way. Danielle Noce has a similar gluten-free recipe on her blog that uses a mix of 190g gluten-free flour and 50g almond flour (Google Translate is helpful, since the recipe is in Portuguese): http://www.daninoce.com.br/receitas/bolo-de-cenoura-da-tia-jo-sem-glutenlactose/
Jenny October 18, 2017
Sounds simple and delicious. Perfect for a potluck this Sunday. What do you think about adding a hint of spice a la American carrot cake - cinnamon, allspice? nutmeg? ginger? Don't want to go overboard, just a little warmth.
Kristen M. October 18, 2017
Sounds delicious—the strongest flavor here is the bittersweet chocolate glaze, so you should like the idea of the spice playing against that (ginger sounds particularly good to me).