Olive Oil Carrot Cake

Warning, Warning, Slacking off no longer allowed!

I realized how long it has been since I have posted something, which means it’s been forever since I have baked something. What could possibly be going wrong in the cosmic universe to cause this to happen? I knew my life seemed out of balance and now I know why. But fear not, faithful followers, I am back and better than ever.

I am Catholic, which means that for the past 40 days I have been celebrating Lent. And silly Allison decided to give up sweets for Lent! Clearly someone took over my brain to make that decision. So I have been devoid of dessert and devoid of material to write for you. But no longer. I have some making up to do.

Naturally, Easter rolled around and I jumped on the opportunity to make a sinful treat, and a classic Easter and spring dessert as well: Carrot Cake. But, as you should know by now, that I like to keep things fun and interesting, so I didn’t do a normal carrot cake base. I decided to make an olive oil cake.

There are quite a few differences when it comes to cakes made with olive oil vs. cakes made with butter and refined vegetable oils.

  • More tender, refined crumb
  • Richer, deeper character
  • Blends together ingredients to enhance the other flavors in the cake.
  • Does not help with leavening (which is why these recipes require more leavening agents)
  • Contains natural emulsifiers which improve moisture and texture
  • Don’t hold air bubbles the way solid fasts do
  • Able to coat flour proteins, which reduces gluten formation and keeps the crumb from getting tough and dense
  • More delicate
  • Better baked the day before and let sit overnight

These cakes aren’t too hard to make. In fact, you don’t even need a mixer since there are no heavy solid fats like butter to have to cream together.

cake 5First and foremost, preheat the oven to 325F. Grease a large cake pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of flour, taking care to shake off all excess flour.

cake 1
Instead of using spray and oil separately, I used the PAM Olive Oil spray, which worked perfectly for this recipe!

 

In one bowl, whisk together (make sure to actually use a whisk to incorporate more air) flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the carrots, eggs (make sure they are room temperature), buttermilk**, sugar, and olive oil. Stir the olive oil mixture into the flour mixture until everything is well combined.

cake 3
Pre-Bake (You can see how many carrots go into this!)

Pour into greased pan and bake for one hour and ten minutes, or until done.

 

Let cool completely before frosting. For better results, leave it in the refrigerator overnight and frost the next day.

cake 2
Post-Bake: Perfect golden color

Usually olive oil cakes are found without frosting, since the strong flavors stand on their own. However, breaking the status quo, I decided to do a classic cream cheese frosting on top.

 

My go-to, no fail cream cheese recipe is easier than the cake itself. I mix 2 (8oz) packaged of regular cream cheese, 5 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon vanilla extra, and 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar in a large bowl until combined. Then I simple frost the cake and enjoy. (After I have eaten a good portion of it first).

This may seem like a lot of frosting, but for this cake, trust me, you need it all. And if you’re like me, lick the spoon and bowl until there isn’t any left. It’s that good!

cake 4

 

cake 6
I never said I was a great decorator. I am at great baker which means great at flavors.

So there you have it. A new, slightly healthier version of carrot cake without all the butter and unhealthy fat (in the cake at least). You’ll have to give it a try. Trust me, you’ll never want to eat regular white cake again.

 

**Buttermilk hack: I always find that when I buy buttermilk, I only use a little bit and the rest ends up spoiling in the fridge. So now, I always make my own. It’s super easy, and means I save money and save the smell of rotten buttermilk. Just add one to two teaspoons for every half cup of milk and let sit for 10 minutes to curdle. It tastes and works exactly the same way in all of your recipes.

OLIVE OIL CARROT CAKE w/ CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

 

INGREDIENTS

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 pound of carrots, peeled and finely grated

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 cups of sugar

1 1/2 cups olive oil

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

2 (8oz) packages regular cream cheese, room temperature

5 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar (depending on how sweet you like your frosting)

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Grease a large cake pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a dusting of flour, shaking out any excess.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together grated carrots, eggs, buttermilk, sugar, and olive oil.
  5. Pour olive oil mixture into the flour mixture.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 min, or until done (top is slightly spongy)
  7. Prepare the frosting by mixing softened cream cheese, butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Once smooth and creamy, frost cake thoroughly.
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