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Carrot Bundt Cake

Carrot Bundt Cake

 Some cakes are classically bundt cakes. Others are classically layer cakes. Carrot cake is one that I would put firmly in the latter category. The cake is usually made to be very moist and very dense – a combination that doesn’t really make for an appetizing, tall cake. Shorter layers keep the cake from seeming too heavy and the addition of frosting to break up the rich spicy flavors is usually necessary. Fortunately for me, I’m not a fan of wet and heavy carrot cakes (without fail, I find them to be greasy and unappealing) and because I tend to make mine a bit on the lighter side, they work out extremely well in bundt cake form.

This carrot cake is very moist and tender, without being wet or heavy. One of the big differences between this and what we’ll call the “average” carrot cake recipe is that it doesn’t use oil. I far prefer butter because it adds flavor and always seems lighter in the finished cake. That said, I do want a carrot cake to have some more substance to it than some other types of cake, so I use melted butter in the recipe. The spices are the same that you’d find elsewhere – cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg – and while I’ve given amounts below, feel free to play around with the proportions a bit if you prefer more allspice or less cinnamon. I also used raisins in the cake and omitted nuts entirely. If you prefer, use half raisins and half chopped pecans, or simply use all chopped pecans if you’re a big nut fan.

The only warning I want to give with this recipe is that greasing and flouring the pan is crucial. The cake has a lot of sugar in it and the sugar caramelizes against the side of the pan during baking, making the outside of the cake not only dark, but sticky. It can be tricky to get the cake out in one piece (although do-able with a butter knife and some patience) if you forget this step.

Cream cheese frosting is pretty much the standard for topping off carrot cakes and I almost always use it when I’m doing a layer cake, sheet cake, cupcakes or other format of carrot cake. But I never use it with bundt cakes. At the risk of sounding like a bundt cake snob, I just don’t like the way that bundt cakes look when they’re covered in a thick frosting. It covers up the pretty ridges and lines of the pan and almost always looks a bit sloppy. This cake can be left plain and it will be delicious. I opted to make up a simple orange glaze to top it off, however. It brings out the orange flavor in the cake and gives the cake a nice finishing touch, visually, too.

Carrot Bundt Cake
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup orange juice (fresh, if possible)
zest of one orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups shredded carrots (from about 4 large carrots)
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, butter, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla until smooth. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until almost combined. Stir in shredded carrots, followed by raisins. Batter should have carrots and raisins evenly distributed and no dry streaks of flour remaining.
Pour cake batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool (cake will be dark on the outside from the caramelization of sugar against the pan; don’t worry if it looks a bit darker than you’d expect) completely before frosting.

Makes 1 cake. Serves 12-14.

Orange Glaze
1 tbsp butter, very soft
2 tbsp orange juice
1 cup powdered sugar

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Add in a few drops more orange juice in the event that the frosting is too thick to pour easily.
Scrape glaze into a plastic bag and snip off the corner. Drizzle over finished cake (it is best to have the cake on a serving platter or on a wire cooling rack, where the excess can drip off if it runs down the sides of the cake) as desired.

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  • DoughGirl
    March 19, 2008

    What a beautiful bundt (my favorite kind of cake to make). I’d never thought about making a carrot cake as a bundt cake, I’ve always either made it as a sheet cake or in a 9 x13 pan…this is a good idea. And I agree about not covering up the nice bundt shape with thick icing, they are so much prettier with just a drizzle of glaze.

  • Kitt
    March 19, 2008

    That looks so delectable.

    Funny how recipes/ingredients run in waves on the blogs I check. I just saw another carrot cake here.

  • gail
    March 19, 2008

    wow this is another must try recipe from you. I’m just learning to bake and your site is the first visit when i have that need to bake. thank you!

    btw, i have tried your one bowl carrot cake and it was yummy!

  • Patricia Scarpin
    March 20, 2008

    It looks beautiful, Nic, and I love it that you used a orange flavored icing.

  • Karen
    March 22, 2008

    Thanks for this recipe. I was looking for an Easter type dessert and carrots seemed to follow rabbits….you get the idea.
    I didn’t have any confectioners sugar and wanted to make a glaze for it. I simmered 1 1/2 parts sugar to 1 part orange juice for about 4 minutes and basted the cake with it. Yummy….thanks again. This cake was a hit amongst those who tasted it.

  • Ashley
    March 23, 2008

    I have some mini bundt pans that I haven’t used yet and this sounds like the perfect recipe to try them out in!

  • Adrianna
    March 23, 2008

    I made this cake for Easter dessert today and it was delicious! I’d say it’s the best bundt cake that I’ve ever made. Wonderful texture and a delicious cake overall. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • eviedee
    March 26, 2008

    This looks absolutely lovely.

  • Claudia
    January 25, 2009

    Wow!!! I made this today and I made a couple of mini loaves and a mini bundt and the cake is sooooo good!!!

  • PS1 PSX
    March 1, 2009

    Great post, adding it to my bookmarks!

  • Adelina
    July 2, 2009

    Made this for a friend of mine today for the first time! She absolutely loved it and so did everyone else. It is very moist, dense and sweet! To my personal taste, next time I will reduce the sugar amount, probably to about 2 cups & 3 Tbsp. sugar will be enough, but that is just my taste. I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe otherwise. Thanks so much for sharing! Btw, I did grease & flour the Bundt pan very well, thanks to your recommendation, it did help to release the cake with ease!

  • Louise
    February 1, 2010

    Hi Nicole, I popped by in search of a Carrot Bundt Cake to include in a sort of round-up I’m doing for National Carrot Cake Day, Feb 3, 2010. Yours looks heavenly!!!

    I’d like to “borrow” your image to include in the post. I would of course link back to your delicious sounding recipe. I have your link on a post I did about Australia back in October and Donald Duck back in June.I didn’t “ask” permission back then for the links but I wouldn’t dream of including a picture without asking first. (I do however understand if you would rather not and would like to include the link either way:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Louise
    acalenda [at] gmail [dot] com

  • jason
    September 23, 2012

    hi i’m new to baking so thats why i’m asking i think all purpose flour is plain flour in the uk, theres also a cake flour so should i use the plain flour and not the cake flour,sorry for asking

  • Connie
    February 4, 2014

    I made a carrot cake from another website .. It called for 1 1/4 cup of oil.. but I used Apple Sauce instead and by accident I bad the oven set to high .. it came out good not greasy and I reduced the sugar too .. anyhow its good its a tad chewy on the outside.. but the flavor is good.. wish I had found this site first .. Im gonna top it with your orange glaze .. next time I will use your recipe …gonna bookmark it now !!

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