As much as I adore pumpkin loaf, or even pumpkin ice cream, I always find myself reluctant to start using it once the first day of fall hits and pumpkin-spice everything takes over. Which is weird (to me, at least) because as far as ingredients go, pumpkin puree is amazing- it’s moist, requires far less butter or oil than normal baked goods, and you can keep it in your pantry for years (well, 2-ish) without it going bad.Autumnal spices, however, are another story entirely. I start counting down the days as early as August as to when I can start making cinnamon cookies and spice loafs. Call me basic, I couldn’t care less. So once it finally started to cool down at the end of October/early November, I restocked my spice cabinet and got to work. Most notably with carrot cake, which I have easily made at least six times already. Even the scraps were worth capturing!I’d say I’m sorry for the large volume of pictures here, as the process of peeling and grating carrots isn’t exactly rocket science. Problem is, I’m not sorry at all. Amidst all of the desserts I make, this is by far the most vibrant it gets after summer ends.
Yet another reason I love this recipe is that you can make it by hand or with a mixer, allowing anyone with a whisk and a grater able to do so. It’s now been about four years since I got a stand mixer, and while it is one of my absolute favorite things, it has made me a bit lazy from time to time. Like when I have used it to make this very batter, despite it not even behind an arm workout.If you look SUPER closel, you can somewhat see the yellow flecks (and definitely some purple). #WorthIt (is that still a thing?)
As you can see from the photos, the whole rainbow bit barely showed up in the finished product (if you look closely, you can see some lighter and darker flecks), so aside from the pretty prep photos, it’s not really worth the trouble. Regular carrots will do just fine.
- I consider myself a bit of a carrot cake purist, in that I don’t believe there should be anything added to the batter aside from carrots; no nuts, raisins, pineapple and so on. So if you are of that preference, or you’d like to know how much to add in, you can check out the original recipe here – just remember that I halved the recipe, so adjust the amounts accordingly.
- I once tried making this with finely grated carrots (rather than coarse) and found the texture to be a bit off, so I would advise against that
- Adding extra spices might contradict what I just said about being a carrot cake purist, but I think it gives it a little extra depth in flavor. It’s delicious without it, as long as you don’t skimp on the cinnamon.
Rainbow Carrot Cake Loaf
Makes one 8″ x 4″ loaf
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
About all those asterisks:
I realized there were so many different iterations of this recipe depending on the ingredients, so I wanted to make a separate list of notes to keep this as clear as possible
*This is another recipe in which I have used gluten-free AP flour without issue, but again, I’m no authority on the matter
**I once tried making this with finely shredded carrots to see what effect it would have, and while the cake was a bit lighter, it came out a bit drier than I would have liked.
***I have yet to find an iteration of sugar that hasn’t been delicious, but my preference is using raw sugar, as it gives it a nice texture. You can also use granulated or light brown sugar, or a combination thereof.
****Using full-fat yogurt will obviously result in the richest cake, but I often use 2% Fage because I always have it in my fridge, and had it come out wonderfully. Fat free yogurt will not ruin the cake, but I found it to be far inferior. If you insist on fat free, you should lower the baking time to 25-30 minutes, making sure to check at the 15 minute mark.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 8″x4″ loaf pan with either butter and flour or a baking spray, and then a sheet of parchment paper [It will make removing the cake from the pan so much easier]
- Whisk together the flour, cinnamon (and other spices, if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In another bowl, grate carrots with the coarse side of a box grater.
- Working in a mixer fitted with either the paddle or whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a whisk, stir the sugar and oil together until (relatively) smooth.
- Add the yogurt and mix again, but don’t be concerned if the batter isn’t completely homogeneous yet.
- Mix in the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. If you are working in a mixer, reduce the speed to low. If you’re working by hand switch to a large rubber spatula, and gently stir in the flour mixture — mix only until the dry ingredients disappear.
- Gently stir/fold in the carrots, just enough so that it’s evenly mixed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan front to back at the midway point. Check at 30 minutes, lest you leave it in too long.
- The cakes are properly baked when a knife inserted into the centers of the loaf comes out clean; the cakes will just start to come away from the edges.
- Transfer the pans to cooling rack and cool for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, you can serve it, but it is my recommendation that you chill it in the fridge for at least a couple hours, as I find it
Storage: The loaf can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight, refrigerated for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.