I'm aware that the first half of this post's title sounds a little snobby. But, really, what I mean is that it's decidedly superior to the last carrot cake I posted. I thought about editing my previous post about carrot cake (and it's two not-so-hot images of a final chunk of carrot cake). But in the spirit of self-love and anti-perfectionism, I'm going to let it slide.
Let me jump around a bit before I get to the recipe.
M and I have been looking for a podcast that we can lose ourselves in, and it's been a journey to say the least. We're not so into the true crime stuff, and we try to avoid too much work/therapy/psychology-related stuff during our weekends. It's been hard to find something that's really caught our attention. But upon learning that Bon Appetit has a podcast, or rather "foodcast," we dove right in. Actually, we dove right into Episode 212: Carrot Cake, 3 ways.
If you've read my blog, you've probably realized that I'm a Bon Appetit YouTube channel fanatic. The cooks are relatable as opposed to intimidating (which chefs can sometimes seem), it's entertaining to watch them interact, and collectively (as well as individually) - they share so much knowledge. I learn something new and relevant to my cooking every time I watch a video or listen to the podcast. For instance - this time around - did you know that an oil-based cake can be preferable to a butter-based cake? We know that recipes sometimes call for one over the other, but we don't always know why. Well, since oil maintains its liquid state at room temperature, oil-based baked goods are often rich in texture in a way that butter-based baked goods are not. Before knowing this, I would have assumed that butter would make the more rich item, but that isn't necessarily the case when it comes to texture.
But, all of this makes sense - just think about shortbread cookies - they're made with butter, and sure, they're rich, but they don't have a rich texture per se. They have a rich taste, but have more of a crumbly texture. And now, on the other hand, think about brownies. Brownies are almost always made with oil - think about biting into a brownie. Chewy and rich in texture, right?! It all makes sense. I love learning this stuff.
Carrot cakes are oil-based cakes, and this one is made with coconut oil. I'm sure you can begin to imagine that this cake has a deliciously rich texture, which it does have! And to boot - it's "healthy-ish" (read on for an explaination). My point: win/win.
Getting back to the pod-cast, while all of the carrot cake recipes sounded appealing, we felt most drawn to Chris Morocco's Healthy-ish recipe. Healthy-ish is a segment of Bon Appetit in which meals are made to be delicious and (at least sort of) nutritious.
In fact, last night (prior to cake-baking), I cooked Andy's Tumeric Salmon with Coconut Crisp from the same segment. It was wonderful.
Ready to get back to the cake? Let's dive in.
GLUTEN FREE CARROT CAKE
(Aside from a few small changes, this is Chris Morocco's delicious GF Carrot Cake recipe for Bon Appetit)
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted, plus more to grease pans
3 cups almond flour, plus more for dusting pans
1½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. baking soda
5 large eggs
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
10 oz. carrots (about 1/5 - 2 cups), peeled, coarsely shredded, squeezed firmly to expel excess water
1 cup frozen pineapple, defrosted, squeezed firmly to expel juice, and chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1.2 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped (I used pecans in my recipe)
1/4 cup golden or regular raisins
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/8 cups gluten-free powdered sugar (add more to taste)
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (should be the thick greek yogurt - I used Fage plain)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease two 8" parchment-lined round cake pans with oil, cut parchment paper into rounds and place at the base of your pan, and then dust with almond flour, tapping out excess. I don't have two 8" cake pans (I know), so I split my recipe in two. I used my 9" spring form pan for the cake and used my cup-cake pan for the rest of my batter.
Whisk your dry ingredients (almond flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda) in a medium bowl.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl until more than tripled in volume and mixture holds a ribbon for several seconds when drizzled over itself, 5–7 minutes. (Beating the eggs thoroughly in this stage goes a long way toward creating an aerated, light crumb, which is critical when using gluten-free ingredients.) Beat in vanilla.
Combine carrots, pineapple, coconut, nuts, raisins, and ½ cup coconut oil in another medium bowl.
Reduce mixer speed to low.
Add your flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 3 additions, to egg mixture, beating well after each addition.
Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cake until lightly browned across the top, a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and the top springs back when gently poked, 33–36 minutes.
Let cool 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edges of pans to release cake, then invert onto a wire rack or cake plate. Let cool completely.
Frosting and Assembly
Using your electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese in a large bowl, scraping down as needed, until very smooth, about 2 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low and add powdered sugar. Beat until combined.
Add yogurt, vanilla, and salt and increase speed to medium-high.
Beat, scraping down occasionally, until light and airy, about 4 minutes. Chill 10 minutes if needed to stiffen slightly to a spreadable consistently.
We have a pattern of feeling in the mood to eat for something for 2-3 days before wanting to move on, which means that when it comes to cakes and items meant for 6-10 servings, our options are: share or freeze. Sharing is difficult unless we're heading into the weekend - so if a freezing option is possible, it's often ideal.
This cake freezes like a dream! It will likely stay fresh for up to 3 months in the freezer. Freeze individual portions of cake and/or cup-cake versions (including frosting).