Dec 23, 2008

Chocolate Carrot Cake

I had no idea you guys were such chocolate fiends when I posted my Winter Wonderland recipe! Your thighs and saddlebags are not gonna be happy with me today, though, that’s for sure :)

Over the past 10 years I’ve tried several chocolate cake recipes, but this one in particular sparked my interest. Ran into it in one of those ancient cook books and tweaked it a little. I love chocolate cake but in all honesty; plain chocolate cake can be boring. I absolutely adore carrot cake (there are veggies in it, what’s not to love?), but never in a million years would I have thought of combining the two. Just seemed like such an odd combination and it is. Now I really like odd combinations, so I gave it a go.

After one bite I knew this was a match made in heaven for me. The cinnamon and ginger gives the cake a little spiciness and creates a perfect balance among the sweetness of the chocolate and the creaminess of the frosting. Fudge-like almost. The chocolate makes it really rich and the carrots make it moist. Perfect.

Photographic intense posting ahead!


1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup packed white caster sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sunflower oil
3 oz chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 medium carrots
1 teaspoon salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 oz chocolate
4 eggs


14 oz cream cheese
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz chocolate


Preheat your oven to 350F (175c).

Have to start with this one; I’m nuts about these kind if nostalgic Dutch cocoa packages. Like them so much I can’t even bring myself to transferring the cocoa to a storage container— which would be much easier to dig a measuring spoon into. Go for 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

1 cup firmly packed caster sugar. I prefer putting everything in a bowl and keeping it nearby, of course you could also measure things as you go.

Suffice to say I also tossed 1 cup of all-purpose flour in a bowl. It makes sense!

Now I never really measure the exact amount of carrots I use for this cake. I just always grab 3 medium sized carrots. I prefer grating them in my food processor. Less work = a happy Dutch girl. It’s important to use really fresh and juicy carrots, though.

Let me chop the walnuts and you probably end up with only 50% of what you gave me. I keep putting them in my mouth. I don’t even do it on purpose, really! I swear!

So it’s much better to keep them safely tucked into a ziploc bag -far away from my groping hands- and smash ’em. Hopefully your meat hammer will look a lot better than mine. No matter how you do it, the walnuts are going to be a great addition to the cake. They give crunch and a hint of flavor.

Bring a small amount of water to a boil.

Grab a big heat proof bowl -one that will fit snugly over the pan you’re using- and break your 4 eggs into it. Also add the caster sugar.

Once the water is boiling, lower the heat until the water boils gently and place the bowl on top of the pan. Now use an electric whisk for this, it will make your life much easier, I promise.

Beat the eggs and sugar until it becomes a thick, light yellow cream. This will take a few minutes.

Break 4 oz chocolate (I went for milk chocolate) put it in a bowl and pop it in the microwave for about 30 to 60 seconds, until the chocolate melts. If you don’t have a microwave, you can simply melt the chocolate by putting it in a bowl and place it on top of the hot water you’ve used for the eggs and sugar.

When I’m baking a cake I always sieve the flour. Normally I can’t really be bothered with things like that.

Also sieve the cocoa. Now give everything a careful stir.

In no particular order; add 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt (chocolate cake really needs some salt), 1/2 tsp ginger powder, 1 – 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda.

Pour in the melted chocolate, sprinkle the walnuts on top and add the grated carrots.

Now gently, and I mean real gently, fold everything together. If you start whisking like a madman you’ll take all the air out and gone is your fluffiness. Pour the batter in your cake tin.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not open the oven door! You’ll let the heat esacape and may cause the cake to collapse.

This is what mine looked like after it came out of the oven. Now let the cake cool.

I’m using the whisk that came with my food processor for this job. Combine the cream cheese with 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 cups confectioners sugar. Don’t be like me -don’t use cream cheese that’s room temperature- use it straight from the fridge. Just sayin’.

Whisk until fluffy. I so wanted to stick my finger in there.

Melt 6 oz chocolate. You know you want to lick that fork! Making this cake always makes me feel like Charlie in his chocolate factory, liquid chocolate does that to a woman. Suffice to say I did lick the fork … and the bowl and spoons! Now before you eat it all, pour the chocolate in with the cream cheese.

Whisk until you a have a smooth and light brown frosting. I should have popped this bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes, but alas, I was rapidly losing the light.

Now simply cut the cake in half. A lot of people will slice the top off to get an even frosting surface. Not me. I’m not a pastry chef and this is just a home made cake.

Spoon half of the frosting on top of the bottom half, even it out with a knife but make sure not to come too close to the edges. The weight of the top layer will push the frosting to the edges. Put the top half back on and apply the rest of the frosting. If you use cold cream cheese you should be able to form much better peaks than I could.

Just use a vegetable peeler on a small piece of cold chocolate over the cake for garnish. Great frosting peaks or not, this cake was absolutely divine! Gone within half an hour and I’m not exaggerating.

If you need me, I’ll be on the stairmaster … for the next 5 hours or so.

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    1. 1

      This looks SO good. Okay, I’m hungry and I just had breakfast! I like the carrots in the chocolate cake idea.

      I can’t get caster sugar here :( One of the things I miss from NL! (and speculaas, pepernoten, oliebollen, appelflappen, drop…..)

      The Topiary Lady on Dec 23, 2008 @ 4:13 pm Reply
    2. 2

      I love this cake, it’s just a little more special than an ordinary chocolate cake.

      You can’t get caster sugar? It’s just pulverized regular sugar, I like using it because it dissolves more quickly, but you can use normal sugar as well.

      I think I need to do a give-away soon. It seems that a lot of people who have been here got addicted to the stroopwafels etc— things you can’t get abroad. I should just grab my camera one of these days, go downtown and buy a few packages from one of those old stores, shoot a few photos and make it a give-away.

      Kay on Dec 23, 2008 @ 4:19 pm Reply
    3. 3

      Jaja, stroopwafels, and bastognekoeken as well!!! When I”ll go to the Netherlands next week I’ll stock up on koekkruiden and speculaaskruiden, and all those other very handy spicemixes that the Spanish have never ever heard of…. (Chicken Tandoori, Gyros, Shoarma, Chicken Tikka, Nasi kruiden, Boemboes and all sorts of spices for Gehakt!).

      Richelle on Dec 23, 2008 @ 5:21 pm Reply
    4. 4

      Richelle, you know that once you’ll start eating the double flavored bastognekoeken, you can’t stop anymore, right?:)

      Kay on Dec 23, 2008 @ 5:23 pm Reply
    5. 5

      I LOVE carrot cake! and chocolate! I never would have thought to put the two together either. Don’t you just love those old cookbooks?!

      Thanks for the printable recipe also. Makes it much easier.

      I need to make some banketstaven yet this year….maybe for new years. or olliebollen…..Do you make either of those? Would love to have your versions.

      Kat on Dec 23, 2008 @ 7:10 pm Reply
    6. 6

      You gotta give it a try, Kat, it’s absolutely amazing. Gonna try it with pecan nuts soon, guessing that’ll be pretty darn good as well.

      I always had the printable recipes, but you could only see the little printer icon. Didn’t think it was very clear so added a text link today.

      I’ve never tried to make a banketstaaf, mainly because I’m not a big fan of the almond paste that goes into it. Oliebollen is something my mom used to make, I only did it once but you could still smell it a week later, so never tried it again :)

      Kay on Dec 23, 2008 @ 8:01 pm Reply
    7. 7

      oooh…. I love almond paste!! My friends always call it “that stuff” because they can never remember the name. I make it in logs – about six to a batch.
      I’ve not made the oliebollen myself, but Mom did when I was growing up. Don’t remember a smell…. other than from frying. I remember they were “heavy” tasting. Mom made them with raisins – I’ve seen lots of recipes with other dried fruit additions.

      Kat on Dec 23, 2008 @ 8:25 pm Reply
    8. 8

      oh. and yes. the text link for printing made it much clearer…. lol. at least to me. I never saw the printer icon…
      but, I’m blonde. lol.

      Kat on Dec 23, 2008 @ 8:30 pm Reply
    9. 9

      I like a little almond paste but not those huge lumps they put inside of a banketstaaf. It’s so sweet.

      I always buy regular ones and the ones with raisins. But downtown they also sell them with the thick, heavy and yellow pastry cream inside of them. They are sinful, I tell ya!

      Kay on Dec 23, 2008 @ 8:31 pm Reply
    10. 10

      maybe we’re thinking of two different recipes. Mine doesn’t have any lumps. I combine softened, grated almond paste with sugar, eggs and vanilla for the filling. Then a pastry dough rolled out into rectangles (4″x8″), spoon the filling down the center and wrap the dough around and seal. I’ve seen the translation as “Dutch Almond Pastry Roll” or “Dutch Letters”. So good. It is sweet, though.

      Kat on Dec 23, 2008 @ 9:11 pm Reply
    11. 11

      Overhere they make them in a similar way. I don’t mind a little almond paste but here 1/3 of the center is almond paste, it looks like a big lump of paste inside a slice of bread. It’s so sweet ir makes me cringe.

      Do you also add raisins to the bread dough?

      Kay on Dec 23, 2008 @ 9:23 pm Reply
    12. 12

      This sounds absolutely divine!!! I love chocolate and carrot cake! What a combination! My guys are always trying to get me to put chocolate into everything from pancakes to cookies to breads. You are so fortunate to not have to use American chocolate to cook with it! My father was military during my childhood and we lived in Germany from the time I was 5 to 13 so I have been tainted. Mom used the chocolate available on the economy (out in town.) Needless to say I am now spoiled, at least according to my family. And they are now spoiled because we used to buy imported chocolates and other ingredients from Aldi’s. Sadly they have not made it as far north as the Interior of Alaska yet I have a dear friend in Ohio who sends us a package about once a year or so!
      Thanks for the printable recipes! I’ve been copying and pasting everything so far but this is so much easier!!! I think between you and Ree (pioneer woman) I am going to have another three ring binder filled soon!

      Once again thanks for all the great recipes and beautiful photography! You have such a talent!

      Peggy on Dec 23, 2008 @ 9:43 pm Reply
    13. 13

      I forgot to mention caster sugar is roughly equivalent to our extra fine sugar here in the States. It is not quite as fine a scaster but it still works

      Peggy on Dec 23, 2008 @ 9:47 pm Reply
    14. 14

      Raisins. Not to the pastry dough for banket. That’s just flour, butter, Crisco (shortening), and water.
      When I went home this summer for vacation (Michigan), my sister and I went to Holland, MI to the Dutch Village they have there. They have a Dutch cafe that had banket, so I ordered some. They used phyllo dough as their “pastry” dough. Didn’t taste the same to me. They also used it as their dough around the pig in the blankets. (sausagebroodles) I know I messed up the spelling on that one!! didn’t like that either.

      Mom would add raisins to the oliebollen. If I remember right, she mixed everything up in a bowl and dropped large spoonfuls in a deep fryer. Cooked until medium brown, then taken out and covered with powdered sugar.

      btw – I have a recipe for Cobbler’s Cake that I just found in “Dutch Cooking Today” cookbook. It calls for 1 packet of crispbakes. What are they?

      (I can e-mail you my recipes if you like. will have to find Mom’s oliebollen one, but I think I have it.)

      Kat on Dec 23, 2008 @ 11:23 pm Reply
    15. 15

      Saucijzebroodjes is the name/spelling I have for Pigs in the Blankets

      Kat on Dec 23, 2008 @ 11:45 pm Reply
    16. 16

      Oh wow! This looks divine. I love carrot cake, but chocolate carrot cake…I have never had it before. Sounds delicious. You have a really neat blog with some beautiful pictures. I added you to my blog roll. :)

      Melissa on Dec 24, 2008 @ 3:15 am Reply
    17. 17

      Gorgeous! Combination of both of my favourites so will be trying it out ASAP!!
      Love your blog, found it through thepioneerwomencooks and have been addicted ever since!

      aadila on Dec 24, 2008 @ 4:20 am Reply
    18. 18

      Wow, this looks so lovely! I’ve been meaning to try making a carrot cake! This is bookmarked Kay!

      Mrs Ergül on Dec 24, 2008 @ 4:33 am Reply
    19. 19

      I’m just gonna leap in on this castor sugar thing – here in South Africa castor sugar is very expensive, I’m talking twice the price of ordinary sugar, so my mom came up with a solution some years ago – just put the ordinary sugar in the food processor for a quick blitz and voila, quick and cheap almost castor sugar. Be sure to use a very dry processor bowl though as a not completely dry bowl will leave you with a sticky mess!

      Louise on Dec 24, 2008 @ 7:18 am Reply
    20. 20

      Kat, no Filo dough is merely used for Vietnamese eggrolls and other snack type of food here. It’s not considered pastry dough and it sounds pretty gross to me to be using it as such. It’s missing something … flavor?:) You can actually make amazing cups out of filo dough to serve shrimp cocktail in as an appetizer. I could do a how-to on that as well.

      I’m addicted to saucijzenbroodjes—lots of puff pastry with spicy meat. I should turn it into a posting, also our worstenbroodjes are so good. Especially with sweet chili sauce.

      You’re giving me great posting ideas :)

      Kay on Dec 24, 2008 @ 11:15 am Reply
    21. 21

      Peggy, I’ll often make it myself … I’ll just put some granulated sugar in the spicemill that came with my food processor. Works like a charm!

      Kay on Dec 24, 2008 @ 11:18 am Reply
    22. 22

      Exactly the perfect dessert for tomorrow!! Thank you so much and have
      a great Christmas!

      Hilary Williams on Dec 24, 2008 @ 5:54 pm Reply
    23. 23

      We had a carrot cake for our wedding with white chocolate frosting – and I really worried as I never had the combination before. NOR had anyone ever made a carrot cake I liked as much as mine. I had other things to worry about, so I let our friend’s daughter do her baker best and make the cake. It was divine! SO huge and beautiful, so many people were even able to go home with a slice.

      I have never though had the recipe, so I look forward to trying this – SOON (I think I say that about most of your recipes!)

      I appreciate your extras that you put into recipes, such as the instruction not to put the middle frosting too close to the edge as the top layer will push it outward – naturally. I would have never thought of/nor remembered that…

      ek on Dec 25, 2008 @ 12:19 am Reply
    24. 24

      Just to let you know, I made the cake, it didn’t rise like yours and I was worried…
      but it was a total hit. That’s 3 out of 3 slightly unusual recipes I’ve made from your blog that are big hits. Thanks!!

      Hilary Williams on Dec 27, 2008 @ 2:36 am Reply
    25. 25

      Looks like we had the same idea, I also made one for Christmas! It’s rapidly turning into one of my favorite cakes. Really glad you like the recipe!

      Kay on Dec 27, 2008 @ 10:53 am Reply

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