Carrot Cake Loaf (Quick Bread)
This super moist carrot cake loaf/ quick bread is both easy and delicious, and also generously topped with a cream cheese frosting. It’s perfect for any occasion but most definitely meant for afternoon coffee or tea break (I wouldn’t judge if you enjoy a slice for breakfast though). If you like carrot cake as much as I do but want a simpler smaller dose of it - this loaf is definitely for you. All the classic flavours of a carrot cake in a simple loaf. Even though it’s a loaf, served thickly sliced, it’s still a plate and fork kind of cake.
When it comes to my favourite cakes, Carrot Cake is right up there! And when it comes to my favourite carrot cake loaf recipe, this is it. It’s yields a tasty moist loaf every time! Who can resist carrot cake in any form - especially with my absolutely favourite icing – cream cheese icing? I know I can’t and this time I added a little orange zest to the icing and it was amazing - I strongly recommend it. It adds a really nice freshness to the whole cake. It’s not overpowering at all but a definite flavour enhancer. It is optional though. In this recipe I suggest pouring the icing over the top of the loaf because it looks pretty, but you can always keep the icing separate and dollop it onto the plate.
Ingredients for this moist and delicious carrot loaf cake:
- Flour - I used all purpose flour but you can easily make it gluten free with an all purpose 1-1 gluten free flour.
- Oil - Using oil instead of butter is helpful in ensuring the cake is moist as are the two different types of sugar. I used vegetable oil but you can use coconut oil, canola, sunflower or even olive oil which will give this cake a deeper richer flavour
- Sugar- There are both brown sugar and granulated sugar in this loaf cake. Brown sugar adds a deep flavor and both sugars are hygroscopic, meaning they love and hold onto water, keeping the cake nice and moist. While it is possible to reduce the sugar successfully, it generally comes at some cost to the quality and texture of the finished loaf. Feel free to experiment.
- Carrots - Definitely the star of this cake. I like to use the small or medium grate, so that the carrot pieces are not too large.
- Walnuts - These are definitely optional. You can use pecans instead or even raisins or leave it plain.
- Orange zest- This is optional for the icing but I do love the overall flavour boost it gives this loaf cake
- Spices - Feel free to use as little or as much of the spices as you like. Used a combo of cinnamon, ginger, all spice and a touch of nutmeg.
- You will also need - Eggs (2), baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla and icing/confectioners’ sugar.
How to make the perfect carrot cake loaf:
It’s an easy bowl and spoon recipe until you get to the icing then we need switch things up to the mixer.
- Prepare pan by greasing and lining the loaf pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
- Whisk together the dry ingredients
- Whisk together the wet ingredients with the sugars and eggs
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined then fold in the carrots and nuts if using
- Transfer to loaf pan and bake until golden and baked through
- Allow to cool fully before icing
- Mix together the icing ingredients and then pour over loaf or serve on the side and enjoy!
If you like this carrot cake loaf recipe you will love these:
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrots
- ½ cup chopped walnuts plus more for sprinkling over icing (optional)
For the orange cream cheese icing
- 200g/ 7 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup icing sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 small orange (this is optional but recommended)
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and line a 9 × 5-in. loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all the spices.
- In a medium size bowl whisk together the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugars and vanilla until well combined.
- Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture until just combined. Then fold in the carrots and the walnuts if using.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake approx 50-60 min or until a tester inserted into centre of loaf comes out clean. (cover bread loosely with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent heavy browning on top if needed) Cool in pan for 10 min. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.
- While the cake is cooling make your icing. In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth then gradually beat in the icing sugar a little at a time until combined. Mix in the vanilla then the orange zest if using. Spread over cooled loaf and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
- Storing without frosting: Cover and store leftover bread at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Storing with frosting: Cover and store leftover bread in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Loaf freezes best without frosting. Freeze baked & cooled loaf for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and frost before serving.
Adapted from Chatelaine/BBC Food