Who couldn’t use an extra way to add some veggies into their diet? One idea is to use treats like zucchini bread or beet brownies as a vehicle, and while that may seem counterintuitive, you’ll still get some nutritional benefits.
Pastry chef Diana Zamora offers a recipe for one of the most famous vegetable-in-dessert creations: carrot cake. In her household, the treat was a staple at birthday celebrations. “My mom was the first to make this carrot cake,” Zamora says. “My whole family loves it – my grandmother, my sister, me. I took her recipe and adapted it.”
The chef and owner at Nena Postreria in Dallas recalls the root vegetable that grows everywhere. “We had a garden in the backyard and we grew all kinds of vegetables,” Zamora says. “My grandmother made carrot juice almost every day. We always had carrots in the house.”
While the recipe calls for five layers of delicious, spiced cake, it can be adapted for two layers. (We know not everyone has five pie pans, so we’ve included additional instructions for those who prefer two.)
Nowadays Zamora gets her carrots Harvest Project Food Rescue, where she serves as head chef. The nonprofit fights food waste by salvaging supermarket surplus produce that would otherwise be sent to landfill.
One person’s waste is another’s delicious cake.
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon allspice
1 ½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 ½ cups canola oil
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups grated carrots
2 cups butter, softened
2 cups cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons whipped cream
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Put aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine oil, white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and eggs. Mix until creamy. Fold in the carrots and then add the dry ingredients.
- Divide the batter between five 9-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-25 minutes. (Or, if using two pans, bake for 30-35 minutes.)
- Remove from oven and let cool on cooling racks.
For the glaze:
- In a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until very creamy and white in color.
- Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar in threes and mix well after each addition.
- Reduce speed to low and, with mixer running, add lemon juice, vanilla extract and heavy cream.
- Frost your cake between layers and spread any leftover icing on top and sides. Garnish with carrot spirals.