Olive Oil Carrot Cake


I can’t remember the first time I had carrot cake, but I’m sure it wasn’t until I was well into my adult years.  It’s strange now that I think about it because my mother used to make a mean carrot salad.  The basic ingredients aren’t all that different except for the mayonnaise she’d dollop in the huge bowl of grated carrots and raisins before stirring in some sugar, and I’ll bet I can find more than one recipe for carrot cake that calls for mayo, too.  Mind you, this would be much to the complete horror of my husband who steers clear of anything that suggests mayo is an ingredient.

Other than cheesecake or an occasional pineapple upside down cake made in a skillet, my mother’s cakes came from a box, as did mine for years.  Can carrot cake actually be made from a box mix?  Perhaps that’s why I don’t remember ever tasting one.  I could blame it on family members more inclined to request chocolate cake:  chocolate peanut butter, German chocolate, and even a chocolate mint cake that unfortunately reminded more than one of us of toothpaste.  Sadly, there were no requests for carrot cake.

In the years since, I’ve learned that everyone seems to have made carrot cake but me and relies upon a favorite recipe.  I, on the other hand, have only made it twice:  the first time, I used a good friend’s recipe (sans the crushed pineapple she says she never adds) which was delicious;  the second time, I decided to look for a recipe that was made with olive oil.  Most of the recipes I’ve considered use from 3/4 to 1-1/2 cups of oil, so if  oil is going into a cake, why not make it monosaturated?

Perhaps it might soothe concerns about butter, mascarpone and sugar as one bites into this fabulously luscious cake.

Olive Oil Carrot Cake

Cake Ingredients

250ml/8-3/4 fl. oz. olive oil
500g/1 lb. + 1 oz. sugar
4 eggs, beaten
250g/8-3/4 oz. all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. salt
125g/4-1/2oz. walnuts, coarsely chopped
250 g./8-3/4 oz. raisins
500g/1 lb.+1 oz. carrots, peeled and grated

Icing Ingredients

125 g./4-1/2 oz. unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
250 g./8-3/4 oz. mascarpone
250g/8-3/4 oz. powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.

  2. Pour olive oil, sugar and eggs in a medium bowl and blend well. Sift flour and remaining dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Add egg and oil mixture and stir until the mixture is uniformly moist. Add the walnuts, carrots, and raisins, stirring until incorporated.

  3. Line two 8-in. cake pans with removable bottoms with baking parchment.  Spray with oil, then lightly dust with flour. Divide cake batter evenly between the two prepared pans and set on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center is removed clean.  Allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pans on a baking rack before removing the layers from the pans to cool completely.

  4. For the icing, mix the softened butter and mascarpone with the vanilla in the bowl of a standing mixer until smooth.  Add powdered sugar gradually, beating on medium speed until smooth and creamy.  Spread each layer with half the icing before stacking layers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Recipe Notes:

  • This is a very dense, moist cake with lots and lots of yummy texture.  A little slice will go a very long way in satisfying a sweet tooth.
  • This recipe was adapted from one I found at BBC — Food and it forced me to use my kitchen scale.
  • With a bit more than a cup of oil, this recipe’s quantity is average compared to others I looked at.   Make sure to use a good quality olive oil.
  • The center of the cake will sink as it cools.
  • Check out the link if you’d like a larger, single layer cake.
  • Now, I’m off to find a version that uses applesauce.  I’ve heard that creates a nice, moist carrot cake as well.

Carrot Cake