Carrot Cake with Orange Ginger Frosting

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Another holiday, which means another cake! Madison’s mom requested carrot cake this Easter as we were also celebrating her 60th! I found dozens of recipes online but ultimately decided I did not want raisins or walnuts in the cake. I kept it simple and healthy with Geneveive Ko’s carrot cake (no modifications!) but played with additional flavors, adding orange to Barefoot Contessa’s frosting recipe and increasing ingredients to have enough to cover my three layer cake. The cake turned out incredibly moist and dense and not too sweet. The ginger in the frosting was a nice touch – I’m not sure I’d add it on top again – I  think I prefer a nice smooth white top, but loved having bursts of flavor in the center. Totally making this again.

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 3 cups of grated carrots (about 5) – used our Cuisinart grater and it worked perfectly
  • Ginger Mascarpone Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Crystallized ginger (not in syrup), chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease 3 (9 x 2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease with cooking spray.

Whisk both flours, the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl. Zest the oranges into another large bowl, then squeeze 1/2 cup juice from the oranges and add to the zest. Add the applesauce, oil, and both sugars and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape the bowl. Turn speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, bating until just blended; scrape the bowl occasionally. Beat in the carrots until evenly distributed. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35 min. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.

Place one cake on a flat serving plate, rounded side down. Spread half the frosting with ginger on the top (not the sides). Place the second cake on top of the first cake, and spread the rest of the ginger frosting. Place the third cake on top – rounded side up. Frost the top and sides with the plain frosting. Sprinkle top with the ginger and serve at room temperature.

Orange Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

  • 16 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Juice from one large orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, juice, and vanilla together for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Separate it in half and stir in the crystallized ginger to one of the bowls. This made juuuust enough frosting so if you have a little more mascarpone and sugar I say just add it in and add more juice until you have your desired consistency.

carrot cake layer

Alice loved her first Easter, especially trying carrots – her new favorite food!

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