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Maple Carrot Cake with Frosting


I created his recipe for my first cookbook in 2003, and it is still the best carrot cake recipe I know. But I have recently a few small changes: a little more spice, and lemon zest in the frosting to up the flavor. I don’t add nuts, raisins, or pineapple to keep it purely carrot, yet I  suggest a bit of coconut for the frosting if you are a fan. The dark maple syrup is best for cooking and baking, reserve the milder and lighter syrup for pouring onto pancakes.



The Cake

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder.

2 teaspoons baking soda.

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teas ground ginger powder

¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup pure (dark) maple syrup

1 cup granulated sugar

1/ cup vegetable or light olive oil

4 large eggs room temperature

3 cups shredded carrots plus ½ cup.

The Frosting

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 (8 ounce) Package of crem cheese at room temperature

4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 lemon, zest only

¼ cup pure (dark) maple syrup


Position a rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat to 350*. Butter and lightly flour two 9 -inch round cake pans.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a mixing bowl, combine the vanilla, maple syrup, sugar, and oil. Turn the mixer to low and blend together. Add the eggs one at a time, keeping the blender beating on medium for a minute or two to fully whip the eggs. Gradually stir in the flour mixture and blend gently until all is mixed with no lumps. Stir in 3 cups carrots and blend by hand or on low.

Transfer the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed in the center. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the insides and invert onto a rack to cool completely before adding the frosting.

In a mixing bowl (or food processor) combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla and zest of 1 lemon. With the mixing running, add the maple syrup, scrapping the sides of the bowl to combine all. It will make a soft frosting, so add more confectioner’s sugar and butter in proportion for a thicker texture.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate, spread with frosting, add the second layer, and frost the top, leaving the sides of the cake exposed to show the frosting. It’s okay to drip over the sides. Spread and gently press the remaining ½ cup grated carrots on top, along with a dusting of sweetened coconut.