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.
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.
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.
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
- 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 sunflower)
- 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.
What temperature are we baking the cake?
350 degrees 🙂
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!
Wonderful and judicious use of spices in this moist and flavorful; cake. -Hanne
Can we make it gluten free by substituting flour with ground almonds?
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?
I bet rice flour would work
Can drop cookies be made from the batter? Being Orthodox, I’d like to try this for our pot luck after Divine Liturgy.
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!
this looks amazing…I just ♥ carrot cake, and the golden raisins sound like a nice addition, thanks for sharing!
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 !!
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”?
yes and clarified above! thanks for asking 🙂
Can you use pure maple syrup instead of molasses?
yes! i believe it’s a 1:1 ratio, just will give a slightly different taste but I think it will work well 🙂
Can I use spelt flour?
I;ve never worked with spelt flour to be honest. is there a spelt to all-purpose substitution ratio somewhere?
Cloves? Of what? sorry (my bad if it’s a silly question ha)
never a silly question!
cloves – the aromatic, hard, dark brown, very small, nail shaped spice. you can use them whole or ground 🙂
Can I replace the molasses with maple syrup?
Also, Can I use Bob Mill gluten free 1for1 flour?
ps. love your recipes 🙂
yes and yes 🙂
Anyone know the name of the cake to ask for it at the local bakery
the name was told to me by a friend from Kerkira/Corfu as simply ‘κέικ με καρότα’ or (very literally) ‘cake with carrots’ 🙂
When you strain the carrots, do you leave the cloves in or take them out? That is, are the cloves just for seasoning the carrots while boiling or are they also grated into the cake? Thank you for your recipe.
REMOVE the cloves! 🙂
Thank you! I made this for a work event last week. Some of my colleagues are orthodox and fast on Fridays. Even the non-vegans really liked it!!
Isn’t it wonderful! So glad everyone enjoyed it – I’ve made it for work more than a few times, it’s actually been requested!, and I don’t think the majority of people have any idea it’s vegan 😉
Can I substitute applesauce for the oil? This cake looks amazing!
I’m not sure about subbing in applesauce for the oil….. I have seen many cake recipes that do so successfully so it would be worth a try I think. Just can’t tell you for certain 🙁
Is the molasses the liquid type you get or is it molasses sugar form ?
molasses the dark brown, thick, syrupy kind 🙂
This is my absolute favorite cake! I subbed applesauce and it works beautifully.
Jean, thanks for sharing your applesauce substitution! Can I ask, how much applesauce did you use? Is there an applesauce to oil ratio you find works well? thanks again! Kiki 🙂
These convert beautifully into a whole wheat muffin! I’m freezing a batch for Holy Week! Thank you, you’ve saved my priest-husband from a week of Larabars!
Thank you for this recipe! An absolute hit over the Easter Lent period for my family.
It froze very very well!
Hi Kiki, thanks for this receipe, I’m addict to carrots cake May you please tell me what is « cooking liquid »? Here in France we have oil or butter and margarine…which one can I use for make it works? Have a great week-end XXX
Hi Rachel! cooking liquid is the liquid left in the pot after you remove the boiled carrots 🙂