RECIPE: Nutkrack Carrot Cake

Blue skies + breezes = picnic season at Nutkrack!

RECIPE: Nutkrack Carrot Cake

Each spring, I'm reminded of how much I love carrot cake. The combination of the nutty, spiced cake flavor and the super sweet cream cheese frosting makes my taste buds feel something again after a reclusive and bitter winter. This recipe can offer even the most cynical beings a source of optimism any time of the year.  🐰🥕🥕🥕

Ingredients: 

Cake:

  • 2 cups chopped Nutkrack (1 cup for cake, 1 cup for garnish)
  • 1 ½ cups packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil, canola oil, melted coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ smooth unsweetened applesauce (or ¾ cup crushed pineapple, drained)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 2 cups grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 16 oz block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two or three 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper.
  2. Whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together in a large bowl until combined with no sugar lumps. 
  3. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves together in a bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined. Then add carrots and 1 cup chopped Nutkrack. 
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans. Bake for 20-24 minutes if using three cake pans; bake for 30-35 minutes if using two cake pans. Test the center with a toothpick–if it comes out clean, the cakes are done. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. Cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  5. Make the frosting: in a large bowl beat the cream cheese and butter using a handheld or stand mixer with whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth. 
  6. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until creamy. Frosting should be soft, but not runny. (If too runny, add more confectioners’ sugar; if too thick, add a little milk.)
  7. Assemble and frost: Using a large serrated knife, layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place 1 cake layer on cake stand or serving plate and evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with second layer, more frosting, (then third layer). Spread remaining frosting all over top and sides. Decorate with remaining Nutkrack. 
  8. Refrigerate cake for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing. 
  9. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze individual slices for up to 5 months. 
Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Photo by Sally’s Baking Addiction.
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