Ultimate Carrot Cake

Today is my husband’s birthday.

{Happy Birthday love!}

It’s been a week long celebration with family, friends, and cake.

Good cake.

No, I mean really good cake.

What I like to call the Ultimate (at least Semi-Healthy) Carrot Cake.

I made this same recipe for his birthday last year and a repeat occurrence was requested again this year. I was only too happy to oblige because I wanted to eat it just as much as my husband did!

After a few tweaks to the recipe, I think this one came out even better. I spent Saturday night baking, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t taste the cake until his party on Sunday.

I did manage to lick the spatula clean of the icing after I was done though. Baking is somehow incomplete and entirely unfulfilling if you can’t lick the spatula clean.

The weather was, in a word, GORGEOUS. I was so happy to see temperatures in the 70s in November. (Good ole’ schizophrenic Tennessee weather.) We invited some friends and hung out at the park.

And ate good food, like blue corn chips with peach mango salsa, homemade strawberry lemonade, and veggies with raw ranch dressing.

And I couldn’t resist adding one New Zealand-themed touch, since we are, of course, spending the next year in NZ.

Then it was time for cake! The wind was so fierce we didn’t bother lighting candles.

But I don’t think it really mattered to Drew….

He did finally get his slice of birthday cake… and even went back for seconds!

Recipe time! I would imagine this cake would also be a big hit at holiday parties or family dinners.

The Cake:

  • 3 c. spelt flour
  • 1 c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. unsweetened coconut
  • 2 c. grated carrots
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 c. grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 c. maple syrup or honey (or a combination)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. crushed pineapple (with juice)

Preheat oven to 325. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl (or blender–I used my Vitamix), then add to dry ingredients. Stir until smooth.

Grease 2 round cake pans (I save my butter wrappers and rub them on the pan) and pour batter into pans. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes.

In the meantime, make the Cream Cheese Icing:

  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2/3 c. maple syrup or honey (or a combination)

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and blend until smooth.

When the cake is cool, ice away! I would love any tips for icing a cake without the cake crumbs getting all mixed up in the icing. I’ve always had trouble with that…

As a side note, this was my first time to use spelt flour. I generally stick with gluten-free flour options like brown rice flour or Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour. But a friend recommended spelt and told me it was very low in gluten. She said many people with gluten intolerances still do well with it. And I have to say, I was really pleased with the consistency of the cake using the spelt flour.

What is your best birthday cake memory? Or your favorite variety of cake?