Olive Oil Carrot Cake with Sesame Buttercream

September 29, 2016
5 Ratings
Photo by Linda Xiao
  • Makes one 9- by 13-inch cake
What You'll Need
  • For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrots (from 3 to 5 carrots)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, finely minced (crusted) and the juice (from 1/2 pineapple)
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • For the sesame buttercream:
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F and grease a 9- by 13-inch baking pan by spraying with vegetable spray and cutting a piece of parchment to fit just the bottom of the pan.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Whisk to combine all ingredients and set aside.
  4. In another medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl until fully incorporated. Set aside.
  5. Peel the carrots, then grate on a box grater until you have 2 packed cups. Fold into the batter.
  6. Roughly chop the toasted walnuts and fold into the batter until incorporated. Take 1/2 a pineapple, remove the core, and finely mince or chop. Scrape the pineapple and the juices left on your cutting board into the batter. Mix until well combined.
  7. Spread the batter evenly into the greased cake pan. Bake for 30 ­to 40 minutes, checking and rotating after 20. At 30 minutes, check to see if cake tester (or toothpick) comes out clean and adjust time accordingly.
  8. Once the cake is cool, remove the cake from the pan, by releasing the sides of the cake carefully with a small paring knife on offset spatula. Place the pan upside down onto a cutting board and lightly tap the pan until the cake releases from the pan and. Finish by frosting the top and sides. You can also leave the cake in the pan—just frost and serve.
  1. For the sesame buttercream:
  2. Place Crisco and softened butter into a mixing bowl. Beat until well combined and smooth, 3 minutes.
  3. Add in the sifted confectioners' sugar and beat on medium­ to high speed for a full 3 minutes.
  4. Scrape bowl, with the beater on low speed, add in milk, vanilla and salt. Once combined, continue to beat the frosting for a full 7 minutes. In order to get fluffy and airy frosting, it's important to beat the frosting for the full time.
  5. After 7 minutes, scrape the bowl well and, on low speed, stream in the tahini. Beat until the tahini is just incorporated.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • raychalz
  • Erin Higgins
    Erin Higgins
  • catalinalacruz
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
Erin Higgins

Recipe by: Erin Higgins

Erin Higgins is the Pastry Chef at Shaya in New Orleans, where her work has brought the restaurant to two notable accolades of late: Best New Restaurant at the James Beard Awards and Best New Restaurant: South at the recent Taste Talks Awards.

8 Reviews

aigre-doux April 21, 2017
Would there be a substitute for the fresh (or canned) pineapple and its juice? Thanks!
raychalz October 10, 2016
We used butter instead of crisco for the buttercream icing, and canned pineapple instead of fresh for the cake, and it was probably the most amazing cake I've eaten in months. Can't recommend more. Thanks, Erin!
Erin H. October 3, 2016
It should be 1 cup of olive oil. It's a typo and the Crisco makes this recipe parve if need be.
Sarah J. October 3, 2016
We've edited the recipe to reflect this change, but we did make it with 2 cups in the test kitchen and it turned out moist but delicious.
Ascender October 3, 2016
The ingredients call for 2 cups carrots and the directions indicate you use only one cup. I hope two is correct -- seems to balance the two cups of olive oil and two cups of flour better.

By the way, the reason to use Crisco in that lovely tahini buttercream is so people will think you bought the cake from Costco. Seriously -- Crisco is far worse for your health than either butter or lard. Ask your nearest cardiologist. Better yet, don't eat hydrogenated fats so you don't get to know a cardiologist professionally!
Sarah J. October 4, 2016
Yes, 2 cups of carrots is correct! Sorry for that confusion.
catalinalacruz October 2, 2016
Crisco! Hydrogenated palm oil, anyone? Seriously, I haven't had Crisco in the house for 20 years or more. We now have so many other healthy oils and fats from which to choose. Other than that, I love the idea of tahini in the frosting.
Sandra M. October 2, 2016
Sounds fabulous and I'd love to give it a try...with a question... Can I substitute canned crushed pineapple, drained, and use the reserved juice, and if so, how much of the juice needs to be added?