My mom came to visit us recently and in honor of her visit we put her to work in the kitchen. Well, not exactly; she and I had a great time together cooking up some new and old favorites. One of the old favorites we made was carrot cake.
For several years when I was little, birthdays were celebrated with homemade carrot cake. My mom, ever concerned about too much refined sugar, found a recipe for carrot cake that was sweetened primarily by honey and crushed canned pineapple. The cream cheese frosting that topped the cake was also sweetened with honey. While the original recipe has long since been lost, my love for carrot cake and cream cheese frosting has endured. In celebration of my mom’s visit, we decided to try and recreate the recipe.
While the resulting cake was full of flavor from the spices and dense with carrot and pineapple goodness, it was not exactly the cake that we remembered. It is hard to know whether other carrot cakes we’ve enjoyed over the years have tainted our memories of the original cake, but both of us agreed further refinements could be made to the recipe to really capture the essence of the old cake. One thing I know for sure that I will do next time around is make more frosting. We couldn’t seem to get enough of that sweet and creamy topping. Graham even said, while licking the frosting from the beater, “this might be the best stuff ever.”
Pineapple Honey Carrot Cake
3 cups shredded carrots
3 cups flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups honey
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup crushed canned pineapple (drained)
1 cup walnuts
1 cup raisins
*We used 1 cup all purpose flour and 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Grease two 8-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper and then grease and flour the pans.
Mix together the eggs, honey and vegetable oil. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the egg and honey mixture.
Coat raisins and walnuts with a tablespoon of flour (I’ve read this helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake). Fold the raisins, walnuts, pineapple and carrots into the batter.
Divide the batter into the two cake pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a tooth-pick inserted into the cakes come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
12oz cream cheese
¼ cup butter
¼ cup honey
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pineapple juice**
**We added some left over juice from the canned pineapple for the cake. It gave the frosting a nice hint of fruity flavor.
Mix together the butter, cream cheese and honey until smooth. Add vanilla and pineapple juice. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar. You can use more or less powdered sugar depending on your preference.
Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:
|Recipe Report Card||Notes About Recipe Ratings|
Four Chefs (Delicious!)
|This was really tasty, but it wasn’t perfect because it was a little heavy and a little dry.|
Two Easy Chairs (A Long March…)
|Somewhat lengthy preparation and assembly time, but not really any hard to find ingredients.|
Two Apples (Surgeon General’s Warning!)
|A good amount of added sugar and fat in this recipe. We did use some whole wheat flour though.|
Three Leaves (Average Environmental Friendliness)
|Unfortunately we couldn’t find any organic canned pineapple and only about half of the ingredients were organic or local.|