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Your New Favourite Carrot Cake Recipe

Marit Hovland’s Nordic Bakeland is a Cakewalk

Carrot cake has its legions of fans for good reason—who can resist that luxurious cream cheese frosting? I was standing in line at a New Westminster coffee shop with a friend a few years ago when our conversation suddenly came to a halt. She overheard the order of the customer in front of us and her face dropped. “I just want the carrot cake—can you remove the icing?” My friend immediately chirped in, “I’ll take it!” And she did. She ordered a latte and ate another customer’s generous dollop of cream cheese icing, sans carrot cake, with a spoon.

We can all instantly name names when it comes down to who makes the best carrot cake in our family and friend circles (PJ Moore!). Whether the recipe is a flour-dusted, oil-splattered index card from a great-grandmother, Betty Crocker or a Food Network link on your tablet—this recipe is going to be your new favourite.

Don’t be intimidated by the cover of Marit Hovland’s Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature (Greystone Books). You don’t need a fine arts degree to pull off these edible gallery pieces—just a little confidence in creating marzipan carrots will do. Hovland’s idea for creating realistic, just-pulled-from-the-earth carrots is brilliant—cocoa powder! And the fancy rosemary sprig tops will have everyone fawning over your cake.

Hovland is a Norwegian graphic designer, photographer and baker who uses simple kitchen hacks like foil, cotton swabs and toothpicks to make her magic happen. If you preview her ingredient lists, you’ll see that her recipes are based on pantry staples. Inspired? Bakeland is one giant fairy tale romp through a confectionary forest. From birch bark cookies to meringue mushrooms and candied forget-me-nots, elevate your baking with 50 recipes all about the wow factor. For more eye candy, visit Howland’s brilliant blog: Borrow My Eyes. To buy the book, click here: Bakeland.



makes one 9-inch (23 cm) round cake

A moist cake, full of carrots, walnuts, and raisins. A little cocoa powder on the walnut marzipan carrots makes them look like they’ve just been pulled out of the dirt.


Carrot cake

⅓ cup (90 g) butter, melted
3 eggs
½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (130 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
1½ packed cups (200 g) coarsely grated carrots
1 cup (125 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
⅓ cup (50 g) raisins

Walnut marzipan carrots

1 cup (125 g) walnuts
1 cup (125 g) almonds
1⅔ cups (200 g) icing sugar
1 egg white
orange liquid gel food coloring
unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
fresh rosemary leaves (optional)

Cream cheese filling and nut Topping

¼ cup (65 g) butter, at room temperature
1 cup (125 g) icing sugar
3.5 oz (100 g) plain cream cheese
¾ cup (100 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
⅓ cup (75 ml) maple syrup


Carrot cake

Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Line the bottom of a 9-inch (23 cm) round springform pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and both sugars together until pale in color. Blend in the cooled melted butter. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger. Sift the dry mixture into the egg mixture and stir until you have a smooth batter. Add the grated carrots. You can toss the walnuts and raisins with 1 Tbsp flour before you fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula—this will prevent them from sinking to the bottom.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake for 30 to 40 minutes on the middle rack of the oven. To test if the cake is done, stick a toothpick in the middle—if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Remove the cake from the oven and loosen it from the pan. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack covered with parchment paper. Let the cake cool before you cut it horizontally into two layers.


Walnut marzipan carrots

Grind the walnuts and almonds in a nut grinder. Mix in the icing sugar and grind one more time. Add the egg white and work the mixture together. Add a few drops of orange food colouring until the marzipan is the colour of carrots.

Roll out short marzipan carrots. Stand them up and use a knife to cut little transverse stripes. Brush with a little cocoa powder if you want “dirt” on the carrots. Make a small hole at the top of each carrot with a toothpick and insert a few rosemary leaves.


Cream cheese filling and nut Topping

In a bowl, using a handheld mixer, whip together the butter, icing sugar, and cream cheese. Spread the cream over the bottom layer of the cake and top with the second layer.

In a separate bowl, stir together the walnuts and maple syrup, then cover the top of the cake with the walnut mixture. Place the carrots on the cake as the picture shows. Serve the rest of the carrots on the side.

Excerpted from Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature by Marit Hovland, published April 2018 by Greystone Books. Reproduced and edited with permission from the publisher.

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