A simple olive oil carrot cake for spring celebrations! The tender, springy whole wheat crumb is suffused with nutty olive oil, fresh carrots, and orange zest. The cake is topped with an airy, lightly sweet yogurt and cream cheese frosting, carrot ribbons, tarragon, and edible flowers.
There are lots of carrot cakes out there right now. Unintimidated by those towering layer cakes with their meticulously crafted fondant details, I made this particular carrot cake because I wanted to share a simple, pretty dessert option that can be pulled together in minutes.
Olive oil carrot cake, a variation on this carrot quick bread, comes out with the most beautiful crumb. Think of it as a springy spin on whole-wheat-hippie-
To top the cake, I sent my seven year-old out to collect wild violets, and scattered those along with fresh tarragon sprigs and carrot ribbons.
And finally, a note on carrots. Storage carrots, the deep orange kind sold without their greens in stores, are denser and sweeter than young carrots sold with their greens attached. For my part, I prefer the crisper, lighter young carrots, but go with whichever is easier for you.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups grated carrots, from about 3 medium carrots
- 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup whole milk skyr or Greek Yogurt
- Fresh tarragon sprigs
- Carrot ribbons, use a peeler to create
- Edible flowers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line with parchment and grease a 9-inch round cake pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder and soda, sea salt, and spices.
In a large bowl, vigorously whisk eggs and sugar for 30 seconds. Add grated carrots, zest, and vanilla. Switching to a silicone spatula, fold in half the flour, all of the olive oil, and then the remaining flour. Mix just until everything is well combined.
Scrape into prepared cake pan, bang pan on the counter three times, and slide into oven. Set a timer for 45 minutes. Check cake by inserting a toothpick into the center – it should come out with just a few crumbs attached. Cook cake for a total of 45 - 55 minutes, or until center is cooked through and cake is golden brown.
Cool 20 minutes, then flip on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make frosting, either with a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the yogurt in dollops, beating each addition until fully combined. Set frosting in the fridge to chill.
To serve, spoon frosting onto the cake and use an offset spatula to smooth frosting right up to the edges. Top with garnishes, slice, and serve.
Note: Garnishes, especially the carrot ribbons, can get in the way during slicing, so remove before you cut into the cake.