Charlotte Ree's Comforting Carrot Cake Recipe
Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, baker and author of Just Desserts, Charlotte Ree, shares her moist and comforting carrot cake recipe.
I have to admit, I was never a fan of carrot cake, but thanks to the persistence of a friend who implored me to perfect and bake one for his birthday (now a yearly tradition), this is my go-to cake for comfort.
It is a delightfully simple cake to bake, it's incredibly moist and smothered in a velvety cream cheese icing of which I think, more is always more! If you have a nut allergy, or aren't a fan, simply omit this from the recipe, but the pecans do add a caramel toffee taste that I cannot resist – you can even toast the pecans for a richer flavor.
- 400g plain flour, sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder, sifted
- 1 tsp bicarb soda, sifted
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon, sifted
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg, sifted
- 2 tsp salt
- 300g brown sugar
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 350ml vegetable oil, or coconut oil, melted
- 5 large eggs
- 4 large carrots, grated
- 440g tin crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved for glaze
- 400g pecans, chopped
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 100g brown sugar
- 4 tbsp pineapple juice
- 100g pecans, chopped
- 250g cream cheese (at room temperature)
- 100g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 250g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 22cm springform tin with baking paper.
Combine your sifted dry ingredients, sugars and salt in a mixing bowl. Beat the eggs and vegetable oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until it resembles thickened cream.
Add your dry ingredients, vanilla bean paste and beat until combined. Add the crushed pineapple, carrots and half of the pecans. Mix till combined and pour into cake tin.
Bake for 40 minutes. At the 35 minute mark, make your glaze by combining all ingredients in a small saucepan, over medium heat, stirring until combined and the sugar has dissolved. Remove cake from the oven, quickly shutting the oven door to preserve heat, and pour your glaze evenly over the top.
Bake the cake for another 40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
To make the icing, place the butter, vanilla bean paste and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until pale and creamy. Scrape down the side of the bowl and slowly add the icing sugar, beating for a further 6-8 minutes, or until fluffy.
Spread the icing over the cooled cake and top with the remaining chopped pecans. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.