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Carrot Cake Pound Cake

Today, Friends, you’re getting an intimate look at one of my holiday faves. Carrot cake.

I can’t tell you when or why carrot cake became a must have in my home at holiday time, but what I do know is that when I unveil a carrot cake at any holiday dinner, it’s gone in sixty seconds flat.

I’ve loved carrot cake since I was a child. My mother was an amazing baker, but it wasn’t something that she made; I couldn’t tell you where those magical carrot cakes came from, but what I can say is that time just seemed to slow down from the moment that first bit of cream cheese icing hit my tongue to the time when I was done licking the last crumbs from the plate.

Forgive my table manners. I was a kid.

So when I decided to design a carrot cake of my own, I knew exactly what I was going for.

And it was this:

And let me tell you Family, this cake far exceeded my expectations. There’s the lusciousness created by the freshly shredded carrots and the subtle spicy bite of the currants that makes me squinch my face at the decadence. The simple syrup has an added surprise that gives this cake a signature je ne sais quois; it’s the flavor that your friends and family won’t quite be able to trace, but that will become part of “your” carrot cake.

Be forewarned, though. This cake is a slow food superstar. The currants, to reach peak deliciousness, need to soak up to 12 hours in a brandy/cinnamon bath before being incorporated into the batter. You won’t regret this additional step.

Currants macerating in brandy with cinnamon sticks.
…and don’t dump the liquid!

Beginners Start Here

This cake is accessible for any baker, whether you’re brand new to baking or you’ve been baking for a while.

If you are new to baking, first of all, welcome! There are lots of resources on this website that will help you be successful with this recipe, even if it’s the first thing you’ve ever baked. Here are a few!

If you have lots of questions and still want to make this cake, I’m but an email away. While you don’t have to read these articles in order to be successful with this cake, they will absolutely help you with both your baking confidence and your baking competence as you embark on this baking journey.

Important Tools Used in this Recipe

Below, you’ll find some tools that I used for all of the pound cakes in this event; they’re tools that I use and love on a regular basis. **I get paid a small commission if you purchase directly from some of these links, but they are truly amazing products that you’ll find in my home kitchen.**

If you have them already, great! Think of this as a checklist to help you build the confidence that you’ll need to execute this recipe!

This cake takes a while to make, so let’s get onto the recipe, shall we?

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Carrot Cake Pound Cake

This is the cake when you’re in the mood for a slow food showstopper.  This beautifully-spiced carrot cake features macerated currants and is a centerpiece-worthy addition to any table.

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Batter:

  • 125 g brandy
  • 128 g currants (raisins will also work)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 384 g flour, plus 2 tbsp to grease the bundt pan
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 227 g butter, room temperature, plus 2-3 tbsp to grease the bundt pan
  • 500 g granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (~360 g) freshly shredded carrots (not the pre-bagged kind)

For the Simple Syrup

  • 83 g water
  • 83 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp macerating liquid, strained (optional)

For the Cream Cheese Glaze:

  • 77 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 120 g confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

Before the Batter:

  1. Place the currants, brandy, and cinnamon stick in a small bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to soak for 30 minutes to 12 hours.
  2. Remove the currants from the brandy.  Don’t throw out the leftover brandy!

To Make the Batter with a Stand Mixer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  It’s highly recommended to use an oven thermometer for this recipe, since proper oven temperature will impact the outcome of your cake.
  2. Peel and shred the carrots immediately before baking the cake.  Using bagged, pre-shredded carrots won’t work in this recipe because those carrots have lost most of their moisture.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  4. Sift the flour mixture into another medium bowl.  Add kosher salt to the mix and whisk to combine.
  5. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl of your stand mixer.  Mix on low speed until smooth.  (30 seconds)
  6. Slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  (5-10 minutes)
  7. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for at least 45 seconds after each addition.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed (I usually scrape the bowl after the third and sixth egg).  Don’t skimp on this step because it helps the cake rise!  (7 minutes)
  8. Add vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.  (1 minute)
  9. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  (30-45 seconds)
  10. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add all of the carrots and mix until just combined.  (~1 minute)
  11. Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost combined.  Stop mixing just before the mixture is fully together.  (~1 minute)
  12. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the currants.  Then, fully scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Then, mix the batter until it is smooth and consistent.  Make sure to fully scrape the bottom of the bowl!
  13. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with the remaining butter and flour and place the batter in the pan.

To Make the Batter with a Hand Mixer:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  It’s highly recommended to use an oven thermometer for this recipe, since proper oven temperature will impact the outcome of your cake.
  2. Shred the carrots immediately before baking the cake.  Using bagged, pre-shredded carrots won’t work in this recipe because those carrots have lost most of their moisture.
  3. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  4. Sift the flour mixture into another medium bowl.  Add kosher salt and mix until combined.
  5. Place the room temperature butter in a large mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed until smooth.  (~1 minute)
  6. Add half of the sugar and mix until the sugar is just incorporated.  (~30 seconds)
  7. Add the second half of the sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  (7-12 minutes)
  8. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for at least 1 minute after each addition.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed (I usually scrape the bowl after the third and sixth egg).  Don’t skimp on this step because it helps the cake rise!  (7 minutes)
  9. Add vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly combined.  (1 minute)
  10. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.  (30-45 seconds)
  11. Add all of the carrots and mix on lowest speed until just combined.  (~1 minute). You can also choose to fold the carrots into the mixture.
  12. Add the second half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until almost combined.  Stop mixing just before the mixture is fully together.  (1-2 minutes)
  13. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the currants.  Then, fully scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.  Then, mix the batter until it is smooth and consistent.  Make sure to fully scrape the bottom of the bowl!
  14. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with the remaining butter and flour and place the batter in the pan.

To Bake the Cake:

  1. Bake the cake at a true 325°F for 60-70 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 210°F-215°F.  My preferred internal temperature for this cake is 212°F.  Alternately, the cake is done with a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and a fingerprint indentation bounces back.
  2. Allow the cake to rest for ten minutes while you make the simple syrup.

To Make the Brandy Simple Syrup:

  1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir occasionally until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and add brandy. Stir until incorporated.
  3. After allowing the cake to rest for ten minutes, invert it onto a cooling rack and carefully remove the bundt pan.
  4. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the brandy simple syrup over the entire cake.
  5. Allow the cake to cool completely.  (3-5 hours)

To Make the Cream Cheese Glaze:

  1. Combine the confectioner’s sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, whole milk, and fine salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Mix with a whisk or a hand mixer (on low speed) until only slightly lumpy.  (1-2 minutes)
  3. Add heavy cream and mix on low speed until completely smooth.
  4. Final glaze should have the consistency of thick honey.  Overmixing will cause the mixture to have air bubbles, so make sure to mix on the lowest speed if using a hand mixer.
  5. Using a spouted measuring cup, spoon, or squeeze bottle, drizzle final glaze over the cake.  Use a spoon to help the glaze fall over the sides of the cake.

To Store:

This cake is best eaten immediately, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • An oven thermometer is strongly recommended to make sure that your oven reaches the correct temperature.
  • It is also strongly recommended to use a digital food scale to measure ingredients using metric measurement. It will seriously make your baking so much easier!
  • This recipe can be halved for a loaf pan or a 6-cup bundt pan.
  • Make sure you take your time to cream the butter and sugar on the front end!  Once you add your flour mixture, you have to mix gently in order to avoid over-mixing.
  • This is a big bundt cake.  I recommend placing a sheet pan underneath this cake while it bakes for extra insurance.
  • You can absoulutely finish this cake with chopped pecans!  I have a nut-free kitchen, so I wasn’t able to do that, but I encourage you to add chopped pecans for a more traditional carrot cake.  
  • Author: Shani

This recipe is so special to me. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Until tomorrow!


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    2 COMMENTS

    1. Oh my, this is definitely something i will make. When I was a little girl my mother also made me carrot cake for my birthday. She had lost her recipe and all the ones I’ve tried just never was it. Thank you for sharing.

      • I am so touched that you’re going to try my recipe. I hope you love it and that it’s the recipe you’ve been searching for. Please feel free to let me know how it goes!

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