Moist Carrot Cake


We are in the middle of the carrot cake season. Many bloggers have already written about this cold-weather dessert and, as it often happens with such popular sweets, there are myriads of versions. I have been faithful to exactly the same recipe for the last fifteen years, so you will be surprised if I say this is the best one I know. Obviously, this is a matter of personal preferences, but if I tell you that the moisture is what I appreciate the most in a carrot cake and that mine is, undeniably the moistest of all the carrot cakes I have ever tasted, you will understand why I dare calling it superior.

Nowadays, with internet and the world seeming smaller and smaller, the carrot cake is no longer a novelty. When I baked it for the first time it was a big adventure because using a vegetable in a dessert seemed highly exotic, if not extravagant. I quickly learnt I should never reveal the carrot’s presence before people tasted it because some were so disgusted by this unusual ingredient, they refused to taste it, inventing different false reasons, such as diets or a copious main meal. Since then I tell the truth (especially to picky eaters) only after they have finished their first slice. I have read somewhere that in Europe carrots have been used in sweets since Middle Ages, so it’s surprising this use has been abandoned in so many countries.

With the dozens of times I served it, I can affirm that this is a totally foolproof, particularly easy cake and, apart from the batter ingredients which guarantee the moisture and stickiness I am fond of, such items as nuts, raisins or spices can easily be exchanged with other ingredients. Unfortunately, at the time I wrote this recipe down I didn’t care much for the sources, so unfortunately I cannot thank the person who has invented it. I also don’t remember if I had modified the original amounts.

TIPS: Exceptionally, I have always measured most of the ingredients of this cake in cups. My cup = 250 ml

This cake is moderately sweet, but if you prefer “standard” sweetness in desserts, double the sugar amount.

I prefer this cake served very cold, straight from the fridge (this is the way I prefer most moist or/and sticky cakes).

Preparation: 1 hour 20 min

Ingredients (fills a 10 cm x 30 cm baking tin):

1 cup (250 ml) flour

1/2 cup (125 ml) sugar (unrefined cane sugar tastes better here, but is not obligatory)

1 1/2 cup (375 ml) finely grated carrots (5-6 medium carrots)

60 g (about 2 oz) melted butter

3 eggs

a handful of raisins (I prefer sultanas)

a handful of chopped nuts

50 ml (1,7 oz) milk

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (if not freshly grated, put the double amount)

1 teaspoon (flat) dried ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat the oven to 200Β°C.

Combine everything in a big bowl stirring with a spoon.

Grease the baking tin or (like I do) line it with baking paper.
Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for 45 minutes to one hour depending on the oven (a skewer put into the cake should come out moist and sticky but without traces of raw batter).

Since this cake is very moist, I prefer it served cold, straight from the fridge.




48 Replies to “Moist Carrot Cake”

  1. I was about to say I’ve seen so many carrot cake recipes flying around lately, but yours I will have to try (and adapt slightly perhaps)… Already have a little bit of a twist to it in mind. And just like you, I’ve been met with rejection of the most delicious of cakes and desserts when I told people there was veg in it. Now I do the same!

    1. Hi, Martyna. If you prefer the very moist and not floury carrot cakes, you will probably like this one. I’m looking forward to your modifications! I’m sure it will be very creative and delicious.

  2. Yes, never tell that there are healthy vegetables in the cake. I made lots of carrot cakes (and also pumpkin, summer squash) or – mufffins during the Kindergarten and Playground days of my son. He never knew that there was something disgusting in his sweet treats (laugh) and his friends also never knew. No complaints…

    1. Hi, Kiki. I see you have had a similar experience, but with children. Sadly, I have to do it with adults too πŸ˜‰ On the other hand, I actually don’t make this cake because it’s healthy but because it’s delicious and different from any cake I would prepare with fruits. It’s unique.

  3. This looks delicious and is a must try for me. I am always on the lookout for recipes that I can share with coworkers at the office. Have a great day!

  4. Yes I can see that we are in a carrot cake season. lol I just posted mine from my childhood a couple of days back. The fun part is that its so true what you said. 15 years ago it was something highly unusual. You should have seen our Austrian relation back then, for them it was like a mad baking adventure. By now it is just so common. ^.^ However, it’s still one of my absolute favorite cakes. I used to miss it so much at the beginning here in india.

    I have never tried a version with ginger, raisins and nuts. I do add coconut though. Nutmeg is new to me as well. Can’t wait to try your recipe Sissi! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi, Helene. I somehow missed your carrot cake! I’m hopping to see it! Coconut sounds like an excellent idea.

  5. Healthy as it is … or maybe it’s just because it’s healthy, I’m not a great fan of carrot cake. I do love carrots, raw or otherwise but in a cake it seemed like there’s a green-ness to it that feels like it should have been a savory instead. That’s just me. I do love the look of your carrot cake tho … never did like the icing. I wonder if I were to add some molasses in it, would it lessen the green-ness?

    1. Ping, carrots are very sweet and apparently not advised in low-carb diets, so I’m not sure if it’s considered very healthy by everyone πŸ˜‰ My light cheesecakes (made with curd cheese) are certainly healthier. I prepared this cake for the first time out of pure curiosity, certainly not its health benefits, and it was so delicious, I never stopped making it and never think about it as healthy even for one minute (although certainly it’s healthier than 100% flour, sugar and butter cake). It is very moist, not far from a custard and thanks to the spices and nuts and raisins it’s a kind of winter spice cake πŸ˜‰
      I hate the icing and never did it. My cake has a very pleasant sticky and moist surface and I wouldn’t add anything else to improve it. Molasses would go perfectly well because it’s quite spicy because of ginger. Something tells me you would like it in spite of what you say, but unfortunately I cannot send you a slice πŸ™

      1. You know what? You and I have quite similar tastes and level of flavors, sweetness etc. And I believe you when you say I would like this. So, I will attempt this soon … probably with the addition of molasses. I also like that the volume is small … just in case πŸ™‚

        1. Oops, now I’m really scared! Can I simply send this cake to you? I wish I could πŸ˜‰
          I cannot guarantee you will like it (if you like the spices I have used there will be more chances you do), but I don’t think it has this “healthy” obvious side some cakes have. The only thing I’m certain of is that you will love the texture. Maybe you can make half of my batch? Or maybe replace the carrots… To sump up: I’m certain you would love the texture; personally I don’t taste carrots in this cake and don’t feel the “healthy” grassy side, but it’s maybe because of the spices and nuts and raisins that take so much “space” in the flavours that carrots are hidden… I cross my fingers! (If you like pumpkin, maybe a pumpkin version would be less risky?).

  6. I haven’t seen many carrot cake recipes recently – I must be in lala land:)
    I should give this a try sometime, haven’t made or eaten carrot cake in a very long time. Your recipe has more carrots and less butter – appealing.
    Handful of raisins and nuts – how big are your hands:)
    I think I read somewhere that in the UK many decades ago (maybe during war) carrot was one of the main sources of sugar?

    1. Thank you so much, Mr. Three-Cookies. My recipe has most of all more carrots than flour and this is why it becomes very moist. Haha! I have written about handfuls because I add every time a slightly different amount. This really depends on people (I love lots of both nuts and raisins). I have also read that carrots were advised officially by the authorities as a sugar substitute after the 2nd World War. I read several times about UK food shortage after the war (in biography books for example) and it sounds awful, especially since it lasted for years and years…

  7. This posting reminded me of that episode of “Office”, where they were trying to throw the worst “Welcome Party” for the new manager, and the cake they decided to get was a carrot cake, since it’s not considered a dessert, more like a vegetable!

    Personally my whole family LOVE carrot cakes, other than the cream cheese icing being overly sweet, we can’t get enough of the moist cake portion. Your recipe has to be superb, I can’t wait to try it, just need to make sure the measurement translation don’t mess things up! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much, Jeno. I don’t like cream cheese or other icing, so I have never tried it on this cake, but it has a very nice sticky surface I wouldn’t like to cover πŸ˜‰ I hope I haven’t made mistakes in conversions. I checked them twice so I hope you can make it!
      I haven’t watched office for such a long time… I really like it though.

  8. Your loaf looks moist and tasty with the carrots, raisins and walnuts as well as the fall spices for flavour.

    The fall seems to be a time when I DO see a lot of carrot based desserts like muffins, cakes and loaves. And pumpkin of course. I’ve yet to try carrots but I DID cave on the pumpkin and I’m now trying to find a good home(s) for this beauty. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much, A_Boleyn. I somehow don’t even crave carrot cake in other seasons, especially when it’s hot, so for me autumn and winter are carrot cake seasons. I still haven’t seen your yesterday’s post! I’m hopping to admire your creation!

  9. I am once again, quite intrigued by your lovely recipe. Superior is quite the buildup for this humble little cake, but even the photo is moist looking and that’s a difficult feature to try to capture with a lens. Most North American carrot cake recipes contain an exorbitant amount of oil, thereby usurping any healthful benefits the cake might have offered (on a quick search, I found it ranges from 3/4cup to 1 1/4cup!). Also in North America they tend to coat the cake in a sickly sweet cream cheese icing, which if not too sweet can be very tasty considering the tang that cream cheese offers.
    I haven’t had carrot cake in ages and with the lovely warm spices of ginger and nutmeg. Very nice.

    1. Thank you so much, Eva. I’m glad you see the moisture of the cake because I also thought it was difficult to show… In general the cake is not the most beautiful πŸ˜‰ I think the small amount of butter here is really all this cake needs. Also the small amount of sugar because carrots are already so sweet, not to mention raisins. What strikes me in US cakes is most of all the amount of sugar. Some recipes I made from the famous Joy of Cooking book were still too sweet after I cut down the sugar amount in two (!).
      I don’t like too much fat for health and weight reasons but nothing puts me off cakes and sweets as much as a crazy amount of sugar.
      I have seen iced carrot cakes everywhere, but in general, apart from dark chocolate, I don’t like icing so I have never tried it on my cake. It’s good the way it is.

  10. Zucchini bread, carrot bread, carrot cake – all delicious recipes that you can’t tell people what it is. It’s crazy because I’m one of those that will try just about anything – even beef cheeks. πŸ™‚ I do love this carrot bread recipe! It looks moist and so yummy! Interesting that you like it cold. I personally like this type of bread toasted lightly on a griddle and warmed through. But now that I think about it, I’ve never tried it cold. Guess I need to try it because I might just be missing something. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Thank you, MJ. I also think it’s crazy. I already understand more if people don’t want to taste new animals (seafood for example), but vegetables just because they are sweetened???
      I can imagine you would grill carrot cakes which are closer to bread or to sponge, but this is very far in moisture from a bread… It’s difficult to explain and compare to anything, but I think it would stick to the grill (it’s very moist and sticky). I love custard cakes very cold, this is why I like this one very cold too.

  11. I had never had carrot cake before (when I was in Japan – which is already a long time ago) and when I first saw it I was actually shocked how unhealthy it looks with all the icing on top (typical American cake). However, some of the good quality carrot cakes tasted extremely delicious and I was hooked! I love your healthy looking carrot cake Sissi! With nuts and raisins it gives nice texture and some flavors added to the cake. Btw, I’m loving your styling!!

    1. Thanks a lot, Nami. I hated making this cake photos because whatever I did it seemed unappetising and finally I gave up with this one… I’m really not good at styling. I also hate the super-sweet cakes with icings, but this one (as you see in the ingredients) has more carrots than flour, just a bit of sugar and a bit of butter. It’s neither heavy, nor sickly sweet… It’s very sticky and very very moist with nuts crunchy note.

  12. Sissi, your carrot cake does look gorgeously moist (almost spongy soft)… I had no idea we were plumb in the middle of carrot cake season but perhaps that’s why it appealed to me so much when I saw the title (and even more when I saw the photo :)) – it seems so satisfying this time of year. Funny what you say about people turning away at the thought of carrot in a cake… carrot cake is immensely popular here – likely owing to the massive quantities of sugar in the batter and the cream cheese icing ;-). I’m very curious whether this is a North American thing. I tend to quarter the amount of sugar in most recipes I come across and still feel that it’s amply sweet, particularly if fruit – dried or fresh – is used. I must try your beautiful recipe Sissi. It looks utterly tempting!

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. It is extremely soft and sticky (difficult to show on the photo).
      I think we are in the middle of carrot season simply πŸ˜‰ and in a couple of months people will become fed up with autumn and winter vegetables, so I suppose they will not be so enthusiastic about the carrot cake.
      The fact that many people have heard about the carrot cake (not like 15 years ago for example) hasn’t changed the fact that they don’t even want to taste it. A bit like tofu. Everyone knows what tofu is, but most people don’t even want to taste it.
      I think that most US recipes have lots of sugar. In general the people I know who went for some time in the US notice that not only sweets but also sauces are extremely sweet… This is maybe why there are so many obese people because as you know of course sugar is addictive and the more one eats of it, the more one wants and then when a sauce is not overly sweet, people find it sour or bitter.
      I sometimes cut the sugar amount in half (like from the famous Joy of Cooking) and it’s still not enough, so I perfectly understand you.
      Here I used a small amount of sugar, but it can still be cut in half because the raisins are sweet (if I made it only for myself I would maybe add just a couple of tablespoons of sugar…).

  13. Hi Sissi, I actually get cravings for carrot cake all year round! I remember the first time I tried it… actually the first time I tried it was also the first time I made it. When it was all finished I just couldn’t believe that something so spiced and delicious could be made with carrot, and as you say – nowadays it’s not exotic at all. If you tell someone you made a carrot cake usually I don’t encounter any negativity at all.

    Personally I adore the cream-cheese frosting on top, as long as it’s not too sweet. Sometimes it tastes so artificial and sweet, but when it’s done well it’s the perfect topping to the cake, in my opinion.

    I love the look of your cake – really moist and delicious… I’m trying to remember if the recipe I followed in the past uses slightly different spices… I think it also uses a bit of nutmeg and cinnamon which a a gorgeous addition. By the way, which nuts do you use in this? I think I always use walnuts but I don’t think you specify a specific type.

    1. Thank you so much, Charles. I also use nutmeg and cinnamon and walnuts (sorry, I will correct it). Walnuts are my favourite nuts in sweets and cashew nuts or peanuts in savoury. Oh, and I find dried ginger obligatory! This mixture of spices makes this cake a bit medieval…
      What a coincidence! I also tasted my first carrot cake when I made it on my own (actually now I taste like this most of the Japanese and Chinese and Korean cuisine…). I remember that afterwards all the other cakes were too dry for me.
      I have never been a fan of cream cheese because growing up with tangy curd cheese I find it too bland… so I have never tried any icing. I can imagine a very dark chocolate icing though, especially if it’s bitter.

  14. Sissi, you are absolutely right about the different and various types of carrot cakes. I, myself, always prefer to addition of a small can of crushed pineapple, to add more natural sweetness, and moisture, and as you, I always add raisins and walnuts, and lots of carrots, but do add 2 cups of flour…noticed that you added one cup, which even makes it more moist. What I don’t like is that most carrot cakes are over loaded with sugar, and love how you added only half a cup.
    Your measurements in cups, ml. and grams…are ‘spot on’…lol…as the British say it; we say ‘right on’ (same thing) I like to make mine as a round cake if I’m using the cream cheese frosting…if not, I make it in a sheet pan, for easier snacking. Noticed that you made yours in a loaf pan, which would identify it as; Carrot Bread here, in the States!
    Either way, love your take on it, and the true flavor of the sweet carrots, laced with the nuts and raisins that make it soo delicious:)

    1. Elisabeth, thank you for the compliments and for the very interesting comment. It’s always such a pleasure to talk to you! I am glad mu conversion is ok because I have been trying to put both measurements for a certain time now since a visitor told me she didn’t have scales… The funny thing is that in many Polish recipes (not the official cookery books ones but the ones on blogs or given by family, friends…) many things are measured in cups (or rather mugs or glasses). This however doesn’t concern precise, tricky recipes where 10 grams could change the whole texture.
      I have always thought that breads are usually more “floury”, thicker, but if you say it can be called bread, than it’s ok with me πŸ˜‰

  15. carrot cake! I don’t usually liek cake, but carrot cake is an exception. I also have a thing for moist cakes, I hate sponge cakes, so this sounds great. esp love that it’s so esy, just stir together! I also preer using unrefined cane sugar in most ocassions, they just add a nicer depth of flavour, and I also know they are better for my health.

    1. Thanks a lot, Shu Han. I am not a big fan of sponge cakes (in general floury cakes), this is why I like this one. And of course the less I have to bother about mixing, beating eggs etc., the better πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks a lot, Robert-Gilles. Since the first carrot cake I tasted was my own, I didn’t have this problem (I was worried though that it wouldn’t be good of course). I like my version because it’s very moist.

  16. hi sissy! glad to visit your interesting and inspiring blog! i was happily driven here via Kelly@Inspired Edibles and Eva@kitcheninspirations! i appreciate the “disclosure” of measurements’ conversion in your recipes; i find it heplful when i try to prepare culinary suggestions of yours and others’ in my hellenic-european-global kitchen πŸ™‚ i’m looking forward to try the recipe of your lovely moist carrot cake! warmest greetings! βœΏβ— β€Ώβ— ) gina

    1. Hi, Gina, thank you so much for your kind comment and for visiting my blog. I hope I don’t make mistakes in conversions…

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