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Mention carrot cake and get ready to open Pandora’s box of baking. People have opinions. Nuts versus no nuts is an early divider, but that’s not the only ingredient to get passionate about. Some prefer their carrot cake laden with fruity add-ins like pineapple and raisins. Others prefer to keep it simple but add interest with spices, like cinnamon or cardamom. The standard two-layer cake isn’t a given either: Carrot cake is just as happy in a loaf or Bundt pan. And then the frosting—do you keep it classic cream cheese frosting or do something different, like a sesame buttercream? Decisions, decisions.
Of course, we are talking about cake here, so there’s no wrong choice. But to help make it easier to choose, we’ve narrowed it down to three carrot cake variations. Each one has its own virtues, and whichever one you make, some-bunny is sure to love it.
Rather not grate cup after cup of carrots by hand? Or wash 15 bowls? You don’t have to do either with this cake—everything’s done in a food processor! First, the carrots and nuts get finely chopped, and then the rest of the ingredients are added and processed. While the cake’s baking, wash the food processor and then use it again to make the ricotta–cream cheese frosting. Easy, peasy.
Nut lovers, this cake’s for you. Rather than risk them getting lost in the cake, they take center stage in the cream cheese frosting. The recipe comes from Mary Catherine Tee’s late grandmother, Neva, and Mary calls it flawless, adding: “People literally lined up for one of these beauties. It even won a blue ribbon at the North Carolina State Fair.”
If you’d rather have a cake that doubles as breakfast, this is the one for you. Food52er sticksnscones tested it and raved about the fresh take on carrot cake, saying:
Coconut oil has become a popular oil to use for cooking, and this recipe maximizes its potential. It not only imparts a subtle coconut flavor that lingers on your palate but also contributes a velvety texture. This recipe uses significantly less sugar than most carrot cake recipes, but the sweetness of the coconut oil and pineapple compensate beautifully.
Tell us: What ingredients are nonnegotiable in your carrot cake? Nuts? Pineapple? Raisins?