Back in March, Mom and Dave, who have long encouraged my culinary pursuits, gave me two whole grain baking books for my 38th birthday. This carrot cake recipe comes from one of those books, King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. It’s a wonderfully easy recipe that results in a light, moist, delicious cake that hardly tastes like it’s made from whole wheat flour.
It’s not your typical, many-spiced cake with raisins. Instead, it uses quite a bit more carrot than usual, shredded coconut and pineapple to keep it moist and sweet.
I’ve altered it for agave nectar by cutting the amount of oil and sweetener. The original calls for two cups of sugar, but that seemed a bit on the sweet side. I was right. When I brought my altered cake to some friends to try for the first time, they said the sweetness was right on the money.
This cake definitely improves over time. Serve it a day after you bake it, keeping it at room temperature in a sealed container. It makes all the difference.
This recipe yields two 9-in rounds, 3 8-in rounds, 24 full-sized cupcakes or one 9 x 13 in. sheet cake.
4 large eggs 6 oz grapeseed oil 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 3/4 cups agave nectar 2 cups whole wheat flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 2 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (I did this with the food processor to get tiny pieces) 1 cup chopped pecans 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple, very well drained (as much as possible)
1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour your pans and/or put liners in your cupcake pans. 2. Beat the eggs and add the oil while the mixer is running. 3. Add the vanilla and agave nectar, mixing well.
4. In a very large glass measuring cup, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, mixing to achieve a smooth batter.
6. Mess up your smooth batter by adding the carrots, coconut and pineapple. Mix well.
7. Fold in the nuts. 8. Pour the batter into your pans and bake. Cupcake pans should be turned 180 degrees at 10 minutes. If you’re baking a pan of cupcakes and one 9-in. pan, switch the positions of the pans in the oven after you turn the cupcake pan. Seven minutes later, take out the cupcakes and move the cake to the center of the oven. Then, turn up the heat to 350 degrees F to finish the cake. It should take another 17-23 minutes to finish. Use the toothpick in the center method to test for doneness. The toothpick should just have the tiniest bit of cake on it.
9. Cool the cake/cupcakes in their pans (tip cupcakes up so that their bottoms are tilted and not touching the bottom of the pans) for 1 hour before releasing them from their pans and cooling completely a rack before frosting. Let the cake sit a day before frosting and serving.
10. To frost the cupcakes, first poke a hole in the middle of the top of a cupcake, then fill the hole with frosting. Then, frost the top, covering the hole.
As you can see from the photo above, when you're poking your cupcake, you may run up against a nut or chunk of pineapple. If you do, don't worry, just fill it with frosting!