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Greek Carrot Cake

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traditional Greek carrot cake

This is, hands down, the tastiest, most flavorful, most delicate carrot cake you will ever enjoy. Authentically Greek and traditionally vegan, this easy recipe is a winner every time. Yes, I love it very much 🙂

Like to know the secret to this simple carrot cake’s divineness? Traditional Greek carrot cakes do not use raw, grated carrots and instead go a wonderfully different way. The carrots are first boiled in just a bit of orange juice and water with a few whole cloves and a cinnamon stick.  Right there you know this recipe is going in an amazing direction! The moist, dense and light crumb is perfection in every bite.

moist, light, dense crumb – perfection!

The carrots are boiled until just fork tender and the cooking liquid is used as well so you get all that carrot goodness. No more than a total of 5 or 6 quick pulses in the food processor, adding a splash of cooking liquid, render the carrots a fine, moist grate – not mushy or pureed and not hard or crumbly. The authentic Greek additions of molasses, orange or lemon zest and a pinch of coriander round out the cake flavors perfectly for a mighty nice breakfast – my favorite time to serve Greek carrot cake.

moist, finely grated, boiled carrots

A quick note about the cooking liquid – DON’T THROW IT OUT. And to get the ideal amount of cooking liquid leftover, bring the pot of chopped carrots up to a good boil first, then lower to the lightest simmer and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. This should leave you with just about 1 cup or so of cooking liquid which is just, or a smidgen more, than what you’ll need for the recipe. If you are left with less cooking liquid, simply add orange juice or water to make up the difference.

The batter will be VERY thick – and very yummy! – so make sure to spread it evenly in your pan.

thick, and delicious, batter!

Boiling the carrots – this can be done up to 3 days ahead, covered/refrigerated

  • 3 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • reserved 1 cup cooking liquid
  • 8 whole cloves

Batter

  • 3 1/2 cups flour (all purpose or white whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup cooking liquid
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds ground or 1  1/2 tsps ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp orange or lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (preferably sesame)
  • OPTIONAL: 1 cup walnuts and/or 1 cup golden raisins

Chop carrots into smallish pieces and add to a smaller rather than larger pot with orange juice, water, cinnamon stick and cloves (contained).

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carrot pieces should be just fork tender, not hard and not mushy. Set aside to cool in cooking liquid. (You can make this ahead up to 3 days, kept covered in refrigerator in cooking liquid.)

Drain carrots and RESERVE COOKING LIQUID!!!! Add carrots to food processor, pulse 2 or 3 times, scrape down sides, add 1/3 cup cooking liquid and pulse 2 more times. Scrape down side and set aside. (You can do this step up to 3 days ahead, kept covered in refrigerator with additional 1/2 cup cooking liquid reserved for batter.)

In medium sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, add 1/2 cup cooking liquid, sugar and molasses. Whisk until combined. Add spices, whisk. Add oil, whisk. Add carrots and stir to combine completely.

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix completely. Stir in golden raisins and/or nuts at this time if you’re including them.

Scoop out batter into bundt pan and press down into mold so top is even. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, no more than 50 min total. Allow to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes. Turn out and continue to cool or serve immediately. Store cake, covered, on countertop for up to 5 days – but it will never last that long 🙂

Want to use a 9×13″ cake pan? Just bake for about 40 to max 45 minutes.

And dust with powdered sugar if you’d like!

You’ll get 10 good sized breakfast pieces and up to 20 dessert slices from 1 bundt.

every slice is amazing!

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17 Responses to Greek Carrot Cake

  1. Dimitra March 10, 2017 at 9:42 pm #

    What temperature are we baking the cake?

    • Kiki March 10, 2017 at 9:55 pm #

      350 degrees 🙂

  2. Allison March 10, 2017 at 9:53 pm #

    My preschooler son will love these, as cakes/breads like this are the only way I can get vegetables into him these days! Thank you!

  3. Johanne March 11, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    Wonderful and judicious use of spices in this moist and flavorful; cake. -Hanne

  4. Vasso March 11, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Can we make it gluten free by substituting flour with ground almonds?

    • Kiki March 11, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

      I would say that almond flour would weigh the recipe down considerably and there would have to be other modifications made to accommodate for it. perhaps try using GF flour instead?

    • Maria March 12, 2017 at 6:52 pm #

      I bet rice flour would work

  5. Denny March 13, 2017 at 7:40 am #

    Can drop cookies be made from the batter? Being Orthodox, I’d like to try this for our pot luck after Divine Liturgy.

    • Kiki March 13, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

      Oh I wonder! That might work actually, though that’s just a guess 🙂 Let me know if you try it, would love to share if it works!

  6. Martha March 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

    this looks amazing…I just ♥ carrot cake, and the golden raisins sound like a nice addition, thanks for sharing!

  7. Christina March 13, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    Another winner . This cake is absolutely delicious and hearty as well. I can’t decide which is more awesome – this or the apricot cake !! Καλή Σαρακοστή !! Και καλή όρεξη !!

    Χριστίνα

  8. GretchenJoanna March 14, 2017 at 2:15 am #

    In this paragraph “Drain carrots and RESERVE COOKING LIQUID!!!! Add carrots to food processor, pulse 2 or 3 times, scrape down sides, add 1/3 cooking liquid and pulse 2 more times. Scrape down side and set aside.” did you mean “add 1/3 CUP cooking liquid”?

    • Kiki March 14, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

      yes and clarified above! thanks for asking 🙂

  9. kerry March 14, 2017 at 4:58 pm #

    Can you use pure maple syrup instead of molasses?

    • Kiki March 14, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

      yes! i believe it’s a 1:1 ratio, just will give a slightly different taste but I think it will work well 🙂

  10. Dina March 30, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    Can I use spelt flour?

    • Kiki April 4, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

      I;ve never worked with spelt flour to be honest. is there a spelt to all-purpose substitution ratio somewhere?

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