When I asked the birthday boy what kind of cake he wanted and he replied “carrot cake” I died a little inside. My only experience of carrot cake to date had been those big slab ones made in a deep baking dish… so not ‘birthday worthy’ cake.
So I went snooping online and the first recipe that showed up was this one from Sally’s Baking Addiction. It caught my eye because it looked so darn pretty! Of course I had to tinker with it a little as I was going to make it with spelt flour (duh) and I was a little aghast at how much sugar was in it. I’ve swapped the wheat flour for white spelt flour here and cut back on both the sugar in the cake and the sugar in the icing. Believe me, it was still PLENTY sweet enough. The next time I make this simple beauty of a cake I would try cutting back the sugar even more.
Update: I made this deliciously simple cake for my man’s birthday again this year and seriously cut back on the sugar again since I clearly remember needing a large glass of water just to finish my slice from the previous attempt. I’ve knocked the sugar in the cake dough back by another 1/2 cup and reigned in the sugar from 4 cups (seriously?!) of icing sugar to 1.5 cups in the cream cheese frosting. I much prefer it this time around and can actually taste the cheese flavor of the cream cheese. The sweet tooth’s (aka my guy’s) verdict? Delicious. Less sugar for the win! 😀
Fancy Shmancy Spelt Flour Carrot Cake
- 2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 cup dark brown sugar packed
- 1 cup grape seed oil or other vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup applesauce preferably homemade
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups organic all purpose, unbleached spelt flour (also known as white spelt flour)
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 2 cups grated carrots about 4 large carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 500 g full-fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the chopped pecans on the sheet and toast for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Turn the oven up to 350 degrees F. Lightly rub butter all over the inside of two round 9-inch cake pans (I like to use a small piece of wax paper to do this).
In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together until combined and no lumps of sugar are left. In another large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves together until combined.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold the ingredients together gently using a spatula until just combined. Fold in the grated carrots and 1 cup of the toasted pecans. The rest of the pecans will be used to decorate the outside of the cake.
Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat for 2 more minutes. Add the vanilla and beat on high for another 2 minutes. Taste the frosting and add a pinch of salt if it is too sweet. The frosting should be nice and thick.
To assemble and finish the cake, first cut off the top layer of one of the cakes with a large serrated knife to create a flat surface. Place that layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Place the second cake on top and spread the remaining frosting evenly over the top and sides. Sprinkle the rest of the pecans evenly on the cake stand or serving plate around the base of your cake. Using a wide knife or spatula scoop from underneath the pecans, lift and gently press them into the icing. Chill cake before serving.