Have you ever noticed that eating a piece of cake for dinner is frowned upon, yet dessert for breakfast is totally the norm? French toast, chocolate-filled pastries, doughnuts. All breakfast, yet all still dessert. Try to order chocolate cake instead of grilled salmon and veggies next time you go out for dinner with friends, and I guarantee they’ll all look at you like you’re crazy (while also secretly being jealous of your ballsy choice…). Double standards, man.
In our house there’s a pretty clear divide when we go out for breakfast. John is Mr. Sweet, always wanting rich, decadent plates that are drowning in maple syrup, and I’m Mrs. Savory, hoping to find some sort of omelette with sun-dried tomatoes and feta on the menu. So it was a little weird yesterday when I had a sudden craving for carrot cake. For breakfast.
Three years ago, while visiting John’s grandparents on the Cape, we stumbled across carrot cake bread. The B&B we were staying at served it up in slices with a little ramekin of homemade cream cheese frosting on the side. These people! They had the audacity to call carrot cake bread! And worse, to suggest that I humbly smear cream cheese frosting all over it as if it were butter. No big deal, just cranking out a normal breakfast of sugar on top of sugar.
After one bite, I was completely hooked. The “bread” was a little more dense than a usual carrot cake, which meant it didn’t crumble as I slathered cream cheese frosting over all
two four pieces. Imagine my disappointment when the following two mornings there was no carrot cake loaf to be found. I was left with some other too-sweet-for-me dessert-for-breakfast concoction, that while I’m sure was tasty, didn’t fill the void in my very hungry stomach.
So here we are, three years later. Craving carrot cake at 7 am on a random weekday morning. What’s a girl to do?
Prepare all of your ingredients ahead of time (say, while your child is trying to eat a helium-filled balloon), and this comes together quickly.
It’s a standard mix of wet ingredients first, combined with dry ingredients, then poured into the vessel of your choice (loaf pan, muffin tin, springform pan).
Bake. Cool. Cover with frosting. You totally got this.
No better way to ring in the fall season!
I’m not entirely sure what to classify this as. Is it breakfast? Is it dessert? Can something baked in a loaf pan actually be qualified as bread if the batter is decidedly cakey? The correct answer to all of the above is, “I don’t care, eat me.”
Moral of the story?
Carrot cake makes us happy!
Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting
*Recipe from Averie Cooks.
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt, optional
- 2 1/4 cups coarsely grated carrots, packed loosely
- 3/4 cup raisins, optional
- 3/4 cup diced walnuts, optional
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (I use slightly less)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Spray loaf pans (or cake/muffin tins) with floured cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter, about 1 minute on high power. Add the oil, eggs, buttermilk, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and whisk vigorously until combined.
- Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, optional salt, and stir to incorporate. Don’t overmix.
- Stir in the carrots, raisins, and nuts, if using. Pour batter into prepared pans, making sure not to full any pan more than halfway, as the batter rises considerably. (Should make two loaves, or a combination of one loaf and maybe 6-8 muffins.)
- Bake the loaves for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is set in the center, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. Baking times will vary based on pan size used. Muffins or mini loaves could bake in as short as 20 minutes, a big Bundt cake may need 55 to 65 minutes. Allow cake to cool in pans for about 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. While cakes cool, make the frosting.
- For the cream cheese frosting: To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, butter, and beat to soften and combine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Spread frosting over the tops of the cooled loaves. Slice into 3/4-inch wide slices and serve.