I’ll start by saying I really hate grating carrot by hand, and since I don’t own a food processor of any sort, this is the only way for me at the moment. I’ll continue by saying this cake is worth the dreadful task of hand grating carrots, cause it’s just that good, believe me!
I’m not so impressed with the fancy carrot cake kind with the heavy frosting on top, and/or between layers. I find it way too filling, heavy, sweet, overpowering the carrot cake flavors, and just too much. So I knew I wanted my cake to be frosting-less. I also dislike (and allergic to!) walnuts, which is the nut commonly used in carrot cakes. Somehow, I needed to add both richness and nuttiness to the cake, without the usual solutions. So I looked up some recipes, and ended up combining three of them with this add-on:
In my pantry, I had coconut flakes, so I’ve decided to toast them on a dry pan to get that extra nutty flavor and richness, and add it right into the batter. I also saved some for garnish and to mark the cake for coconut haters. What’s not to like?? Weirdos.
The result will blow your mind: an amazingly moist, soft, spiced carrot cake that I can not stop eating, so consider this as a warning in advance and thank me later.
Carrot Cake with Toasted Coconut
1 cake, 26x10X8 cm pan
– 90 gr grated carrot (around two medium carrots)
– 50 gr brown sugar
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 30 gr coconut flakes
– 80 gr sugar
– 200 gr Flour
– 1¼ tsp baking powder
– ¼ tsp baking soda
– 1 egg
– 1 egg white
– 135 gr vegetable oil
– ¼ tsp salt
– 1 TBSP hot water
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– 1 tsp brown sugar
– Carrot liquids
– 1 TBSP water
Heat an oven to 170℃ and line a baking pan with parchment paper. Add the grated carrots to a bowl with the brown sugar and 1¼ tsp of the cinnamon and let them sit until added to the batter until moisture is released and the carrot sweats. Toasting the coconut: place a pan on medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the coconut flakes and make sure to shake the pan every 30 seconds so the coconut will toast from all sides. Let the flakes toast until golden and take the pan off the stove to cool.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and soda, salt, cinnamon, and set aside. Then, in a bigger bowl, whisk together oil and sugar until combined. Add an egg and whisk again. Before adding the carrots into the mixture, drain it from the liquids (and save it for the syrup!), and add with 25 gr of the toasted coconut flakes. Fold them into the mixture with a spatula. Now, sieve the flour mixture in three it two batches, and fold with a spatula between each adding. Don’t overmix to avoid a dense cake. Add the hot water and mix shortly only until blended.
To create a really airy texture, whisk (with a hand mixture preferably, also possible to do by hand but takes more effort) one egg white to soft peaks, and fold it gently into the mixture. First, add just 2 tablespoons of the egg white to make the mixture airier, this process prevents the breaking of the mixture and allows better assimilation. After folding the egg white into the batter, it becomes airier and brighter by color.
Pour the batter into the lined pan and bake on 170℃ (no convection) for 35-45 minutes. When the cake is being baked, make the syrup. On medium-high heat in a small saucepan, pour the reserved carrot liquids through a small strainer. Add the lemon juice, sugar, and water. When it bubbles, turn the heat down and stir with a small spatula. Taste carefully and fix flavors if necessary. Set aside to cool down. The cake is ready when a toothpick comes out clean. Brush the syrup over the center of the cake and sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes to create a nice line of coconut in the middle. Let the cake chill in the pan over a cooling rack for 10 minutes at least before taking it out of the pan to cool straight on the rack for 10 more minutes. Then you can cut the cake and enjoy!
Don’t forget to tag me on social media so I can see your results!
#ShirEats or my handle on Instagram: @ShirEats