Grownup carrot cake

Grownup Carrot Cake | Something New For Dinner

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This grownup bourbon-ized carrot cake with olive oil, fresh pineapple and walnuts is moist and spicy. Topped with classic, buttery cream cheese frosting, this is a carrot cake lover’s dream.



For the cake

  • 1 1/4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 T butter or olive oil
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4 t baking soda
  • 2 T cinnamon
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t cloves
  • 2T vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 3 T bourbon
  • 6 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/4″ pieces (or canned pineapple)
  • 1 7-ounce package shredded sweetened coconut (about 2 2/3 cups)
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped

For the frosting

  • 6 T unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T vanilla or vanilla paste


For the cake

  1. Arrange oven racks in the middle of the oven so they can accommodate three 9″ cake pans. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put carrots in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until fork-tender, about 12 – 15 minutes. Drain the carrots and allow to cool. When cool, puree in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
  2. While carrots are cooking, line three 9″ cake pans with parchment paper. Butter or lightly oil both sides of the parchment so that the parchment adheres to the cake pans.
  3. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves together. Add the vanilla, bourbon, eggs and olive oil and mix to combine with an electric mixer. Add the carrots, fresh pineapple, walnuts and coconut and stir by hand to combine. Pour the mixture evenly into three cake pans.
  4. Bake the cake layers for about 1 hour. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set on cooling racks.

For the frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer. Sift the powdered sugar into the bowl, add the lemon and vanilla and continue mixing until frosting is smooth.
  2. When ready to frost, remove the parchment paper from each layer. Frost between layers and on top of the cake. This frosting is very rich, so I prefer not to frost the sides of the cake. Best chilled before serving, this cake will keep in the fridge for several days.


This recipe can be cut in half to make a 13 x 9 x 2″ cake. Baking time is about the same. Test with a toothpick for doneness.

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