The recipe was given to me by a long time family friend, Denise. She got the recipe from her grandmother on her mother’s side. She remembers visiting her every summer in Costa Mesa.
I love keeping family recipes alive.
After our family was wholly traumatized when my Mamo passed away, and no one had bothered to write down the chiffon cake recipe that she had made for all the grandkids and all the great-grandkids for birthdays over the years, it made me realize how important it is to hold on to these memories. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
(If you are wondering, we were able to finally find the infamous chiffon cake recipe. I will be posting that story here as well.)
The original recipe is not a gluten-free recipe.
Denise is gluten intolerant, so she has been making this recipe gluten-free for many years. I tested it out, and I promise you will not miss the gluten. I made a few tiny substitutions and added a little extra spice to this cake. I made a note of my additions in the recipe in the recipe card.
Carrot cake is naturally a dense cake. The gluten-free flour does tend to make the cake even denser still. I don’t mind this at all for carrot cake. The chunky walnuts, pineapple, and coconut add a great texture to this cake.
If you aren’t trying to avoid gluten, feel free to swab in regular all-purpose flour.
What I learned while making this carrot cake.
The hardest part about making this carrot cake recipe is shredding the carrots.
I made this carrot cake batter in one bowl by just mixing all the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. I imagine this is probably the way Denise’s grandma made it as well. I sifted the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, gave it all a quick stir and then poured the batter into my prepared cake pans.
You should use finely shredded coconut.
The original recipe calls for a can of shredded coconut. I have never ever seen this before. I have since looked it up with our friend Google and you can order it, of course. I used unsweetened coconut, but I only had the large chunky flakes. I would definitely swap that out for the finely shredded coconut. I feel like this cake is sweet enough, so I decided that unsweetened coconut was a better choice here.
Buy more walnuts.
I ran out of walnuts so I ended up dressing the top of the cake with pecans instead. Pecans are fine, but I usually like to keep it consistent.
All in all this Carrot Cake was a success.
The cream cheese frosting is delicious! I really wanted to impress you buy piping some cute little orange carrots on top. But alas. My baking skill set is limited to just making sure that whatever I bake tastes amazing. Unfortunately, the looks of my baked goods, with a rare exception, are always marginal at best. C’est la vie.
Some of my other favorite Spring dessert recipes are:
Carrot Gold Cake
- 2 cups Gluten free flour sifted
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp Baking soda
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Ground ginger added by Laura
- ¼ tsp Ground nutmeg added by Laura
- 2 cups Granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups Salad oil I used liquid coconut oil
- 4 Eggs room temperature
- 2 cups Carrots grated
- 8 ounce Can of crushed pineapple
- ½ cup Walnuts chopped
- 1 ½ cups Shredded coconut I use unsweetened
- Preheat the oven to 350℉
- Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and flour. Set aside.
- Sift together the first five dry ingredients.
- Add the sugar, the oil, and the eggs. Mix well.
- Add in the carrots, pineapple, nuts, and the coconut.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Let the cake cool completely before frosting. At least two hours and up to overnight.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream together the butter and the cream cheese.
- Add in confectioners sugar and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
- Add in vanilla and blend until it is incorporated.