I don’t make carrot cake as much as I should. I never really think of it, because I’m too obsessed with chocolate. Also, to be completely honest, grating things is my absolute least favourite kitchen activity, and I’m lazy. I hate grating carrots. You don’t have to grate chocolate for chocolate cake. It’s a shame, though, because carrot cake is great, particularly for spring. This pistachio carrot cake is simple, robust, and delicious.
It’s also surprisingly light. There’s no point pretending that because this cake’s got fruit and vegetables in it that it’s healthy, but it’s definitely not as heavy as the chocolate-fudge-caramel-frosting confections I usually pedal on here. It keeps very well because of the high moisture content of the carrot and pineapple. And everyone loves a good carrot cake.
Adapted from and inspired by this recipe.
I have never put pineapple in carrot cake before, even though I have seen it in plenty of recipes. I always thought it was unnecessary. But this time I thought I’d give it a go, and I actually loved it. You can skip it if you like and it won’t ruin the cake, but I’d urge you to try it if you haven’t done so before.
This list of ingredients looks long, but it’s because it’s got a few spices and cupboard staples in it that you likely have knocking around.
240g all-purpose flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
350g light brown softsugar
130g coconut oil (or any flavourless oil like vegetable or corn)
130g buttermilk (or natural yoghurt)
2 tsp vanilla extract
180g freshly grated carrot
200g tinned or frozen pineapple
70g dessicated coconut
100g chopped pistachios
cream cheese icing
450g cream cheese
120g butter, room temperature
250g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
handful of chopped pistachios
- Get the butter for your icing out of the fridge first. Thank me later.
- Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease and line two matching cake tins (around 20cm in diameter). Put your flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger in any bowl and give them a mix. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or by hand), beat the eggs and sugar together until combined. Beat in the oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix in your dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in your grated carrot, pineapple, coconut, and pistachios.
- Divide your cake mix evenly between the two cake tins. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until golden and set in the centre. Let the cakes cool completely before you try to ice them.
- For the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter together until evenly combined. Beat in the icing sugar and vanilla – don’t overbeat because if you overmix cream cheese frosting it just goes runny. Put half the icing on one cake, top it with the other and finish with the rest of the icing. Sprinkle with your reserved pistachios.