We halved the recipe below to make an 8 x 8 cake, which we think is plenty if you're calling it a "snack cake!" You can bake it as a full cake in a 9 x 13 pan. The larger size is perfect for a spring brunch, school banquet or a neighborhood potluck.
Recipe is adapted from BHG. Hands-on time for this recipe is about 25 minutes. Total time to make is around 2 hours, including cooling time for the cake. Nutrition information: 316 cal, 21g fat, 54mg chol, 252mg sodium, 28g carb, 2g fiber, 4g protein.
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup neutral flavor oil (we used canola)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2-1/2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
- 8 ounce cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons softened unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest to mix in (optional)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest to sprinkle on top (optional)
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Butter or use spray to coat a 9x13 baking pan (8x8 for half recipe). We also lined with a sheet of parchment, but this cake releases well, so it's optional. Set aside.
- In your stand mixer fitted with SideSwipe (or in a large bowl if you're old school), mix together at low-to-medium speed all the wet ingredients at one time: eggs, oil, sugar, orange juice and zest, and vanilla until well combined and frothy.
- Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until JUST BARELY combined: flours, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. It will finish mixing when you add the carrots and nuts/raisins.
- Stir in carrots and nuts/raisins, if using, until distributed throughout.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake 35 minutes (25 minutes for 8x8 pan) or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean and/or the center bounces back slightly when gently pressed with a finger.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
- After cleaning your mixer bowl: Mix on low-medium speed the softened (but not melted) cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon orange zest. Beat on lowest speed until powdered sugar begins to incorporate. The increase speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes or until desired fluffiness is achieved.
- Spread onto cake. Sprinkle additional zest across the top if desired. Serve. This cake should be refrigerated and will keep several days, covered, in your fridge.