I don’t know about you, but up until this past summer I had never heard of, read about, tasted, or even imagined a chocolate carrot bundt cake. And yet when a friend of a friend asked if I’d like the recipe for one (after she clicked on the link to my website in an email and discovered my preoccupation with all things sweet) I couldn’t email her back fast enough with a, “yes, please.” The combo of carrots and chocolate seemed suddenly so obvious, and yet so perfect. I mean, duh, it works for zucchini cake.
Now, of course, I was too impatient to actually wait for said recipe to arrive in my inbox, so I began (in earnest) to scour the web for chocolate carrot cake recipes (a combo I now considered perfectly obvious, as well as obviously perfect). I was surprised (pleasantly, I’ll admit) to come up with only a handful (like this chocolate carrot cake). Days later, when I received the promised recipe it couldn’t have been simpler. Essentially my go-to carrot cake recipe (my mother-in-law’s, which, low and behold, happens to be Dorrie Greenspan’s, as well) with the addition of cocoa powder.
And so the tweaking began. I knew I was after a super moist, oil-based, chocolatey chocolate cake (is there anyone out there who isn’t after that?) with a secret ingredient — one that added just a bit of texture, but not much “carrot” flavor — again, like the addition of zucchini in a chocolate cake. And I knew I didn’t want to flavor the cake with spices a la carrot cake (although, I did include instructions for doing so in the recipe, just in case that floats your carrot-chocolate-cake-boat). I intended to use my go-to canola/vegetable oil in my cake, but after reading in Fine Cooking about using toasted walnut oil, I wondered about shaking things up a bit and trying olive oil in my cake-to-be. I then stumbled upon an article touting the “natural emulsifiers” in olive oil, and I was sold.
As for insuring that my cake would be uber chocolatey (I’m no fan of a cake that is “chocolate” in color only), I decided that the cocoa powder should take the place of some of the flour, thus guaranteeing that the cake wouldn’t lose moisture due to the addition of said powder (and that the chocolate flavor would be that much stronger). And just cause I can’t leave well enough alone, I added an ounce of melted unsweetened chocolate. So there. I also decided that my cake would be of the bundt variety (cause who doesn’t love a bundt cake?), with added yolks, some buttermilk, as well as a hefty amount of brown sugar, as these are all ingredients I love and kind of have trouble living without. And the result was everything I had hoped for and more: A super easy to whip up, moist, chocolate cake with a faint hint of olive oil, a slightly unusual texture, and a tight-ish crumb. I served mine with nothing more than a sifting of confectioners’ sugar, but feel free to ice yours with a batch of your favorite cream cheese frosting tinted orange, perhaps.
Carrot Chocolate Bundt Cake
- 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cup olive oil or any neutral oil of your choosing if you want to avoid the olive oil flavor
- 2 yolks room temperature
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled slightly
- 3 cups lightly packed finely grated carrots (about 6 to 7 carrots - a little over a pound)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and "flour" (with cocoa powder) a 10 or 12 cup bundt pan (This is important, as bundt cakes can be tough to remove from their pans, if the pan is not properly prepared). Set aside.
- Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk long enough to ensure the leavening is evenly distributed. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the sugars and oil and whisk vigorously. Add the yolks and eggs, one at a time, gently whisking after each addition. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and whisk again. Add the melted chocolate and whisk a final time.
- Add the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture, and with a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry into the wet, until a few streaks of flour remain. Add the carrots and fold again, until the carrots are completely incorporated. let the cake batter rest for 15 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the cake after 20, and checking it with a cake tester/toothpick after 40. The tester should have a few moist crumbs, on it, but nothing too wet.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in its pan on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes or so, or until the cake is still warm and you can easily hold the pan without burning yourself. Run a knife around any edges of the cake that seem to be sticking to the pan and invert the cake onto the cooling rack, giving it a good whack if necessary.
- Let the cake cool completely and serve dusted with confectioners' sugar or with the cream cheese frosting (tinted orange) of your choosing.
- The cake will keep tightly covered in plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days.