Spelt Carrot Cake

Speaking from a history of impatience, I can tell you it helps, at least a little, if you can mentally psych yourself up for the things you have to wait for. Like, it takes time to learn things, have you noticed that?

A top view of a carrot cake with frosting on a cake stand and a slice of it on a plate.

It doesn’t matter if you’re picking up a new instrument, taking driver’s ed, meeting a stranger or experimenting in the kitchen: nine times out of ten, you’re not going to get it the first time — ten times out of ten, if you’re me. Then there’s the post office.

It will be crowded, trust me, no matter when you go, so bring your iPhone and catch up on Words with Friends games while you listen for your number to be called. Rush-hour traffic?

We all know what that’s like. Expect delays or, you know, quit your office job to avoid traffic altogether.

Just knowing these things, simply anticipating the waits, makes it easier to push through them, easier to handle. At least for me.

That’s why I wish I could always know time frames beforehand, I really do. It’s kind of like this carrot cake.

I made this dark, fragrant cake Saturday night, thanks to a mad craving, at around 10 PM, using a quick adaptation of a recipe that is in itself pure simplicity: stir together dry ingredients, add wet, add carrots, bake, frost. When I pulled it out of the oven, it was all I could do (in my classic, act-now character) to wait 15 minutes before frosting and slicing myself a big hunk.

Then. My immediate, in-the-moment reaction? Eh. Quite frankly, I went to bed disappointed.

What I’d expected as soft and spiced and comforting was odd and muddied with flavors and unexciting. Ho-hum.

I’d basically written the cake off until for some reason the next day, probably because it was quick to slice, I cut out another piece, and wow, was I in for a surprise.

Moist and spiced, nicely complemented by the hints of maple in the ricotta frosting, it was like a different cake to me. Everything was the same temperature now, no longer warm in the base and cold in the frosting.

A close up image a slice of a carrot cake with frosting on a white plate a fork beside it.

This was the carrot cake I had wanted! This was the one I had to have at 10 PM at night!

This, it turns out, was a carrot cake that takes time. I just hadn’t known that.

Of course the problem with always needing to know how much time things will take is that much of life is unknown, indefinite. You don’t always know when change will happen or how.

I am (of course slowly) learning that. But meanwhile, while I wait to wait better in many areas of life, I am happy to know what to expect in this one: when you make this carrot cake, eat it tomorrow.

Spelt Carrot Cake

For the carrots — I used about a pound of them, but I did something kind of new to me and after shaving their outsides, threw them in the food processor. This gave me very, very fine pieces and I think an overall better texture in the cake.

1 cup white spelt flour
1 cup whole grain spelt flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sucanat
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup olive oil
3 1/2 cups finely grated carrot

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix eggs lightly. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add egg and oil, and mix through.

Add grated carrot, then mix till combined. Bake in a greased nine-inch-round cake pan lined with greased parchment paper, for around 35 to 45 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from tin.

Ricotta Maple Frosting

2 cups ricotta
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Are you ready for the easiest recipe of all time? Mix ingredients together with a spoon.


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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

31 thoughts on “Spelt Carrot Cake”

  1. i adore this. the phenomenon of the unexpected is what i love about not only cooking (i don’t – and well, can’t – bake), but life in general. i continue to learn how beautiful the unknown is – even life isn’t what you expect it will be, it tends to surprise you in ways that can still make you happy. your slice of carrot cake certainly looks marvelous, even if it wasn’t up to par on the first go-round!

  2. It is so good to know I am not the only that cooks late at night thanks to cravings! 🙂 I have been to your blog before from Just Simply Live but I ended opening a new food blog since I found myself posting more and more about food. Hope you stop by!

  3. It’s always so hard to wait! But sometimes so worth it. I like the idea of putting the carrots in the food processor, sometimes I don’t like biting into too much carrot in my cake. Love the ricotta frosting!

  4. Well, I wish I could embrace the “patience is a virtue” cliche/aphorism, but no such luck…waiting is still a challenge for me. I concur about the helpfulness of knowing time-frames for waits – they’re great if they are precise or generous…. Thanks, Dan

  5. I think any cakes that are based on fruit & veg are better left to mingle overnight. Choc/beet, choc/zucchini, apple/walnut…all better overnight in my opinion.

    I made some vegan choc cupcakes on the weekend too. I thought they were fantastic fresh out of the oven but oh boy did some magic happen when I left a couple for 2 days.

  6. Ricotta maple frosting sounds delicious! I’ve never heard of it… but on top of a spicy carrot cake? Wow, that def must have been good!

  7. Carrot cake is one of my favorites.. and with ricotta maple icing it sounds even better than the norm! I can never seem to find spelt flour.. do you think it would be the same with all purpose?

  8. Summer, You know, I saw some beautiful carrots at my farmers market this weekend and didn’t buy them, and I was kicking myself later when I got this craving and had to run to the store. Yay for farmers markets! And carrot cakes! Hope you enjoy this!

    leslie, what a nice perspective you have. beauty in the unknown… ah, I am trying to remind myself of that even as I type.

    Tim, I thought you would.

    Angie, Oh, you’re among friends at this blog. I am a classic craver. When I want something, I will want it right away, ha! I guess that all goes back to the first line of this post, though. Impatience runs deep.

    Jacqui, It is! It is! And I have to say: my food processor is such a great kitchen tool. I use it all the time!

    IslandEAT, Small steps, Dan. Small steps. While I can’t say I like waiting, I can say I want to. : )

    Shannon, Good point! And those cupcakes sound lovely.

    Niki, I am finding I like ricotta in just about everything! : )

    Evan, I’d probably try half wheat and half all-purpose if you were looking for a substitute. Of course you could do all-purpose as a complete sub, but it will just be a little less hearty and the texture might be affected. As far as spelt flour, are you near a Whole Foods? That’s where I buy mine. Sometimes health stores are a good source, too.

    Jenn, Thanks! I just love ricotta!

  9. I’ll have to try this! My partner is on a trial diet and can’t have wheat (spelt is allowed), so this is definitely something he could enjoy too! Thanks for sharing, I love your blog!

  10. Awesome, Maria, I’m so glad! You should also look into buckwheat flour – a more distinguishable flavor but loads of health benefits.

  11. I’m not a fan of carrots (and thus cake) so I’ve been a little slow to turn to this post. But the end note – about letting things develop as they will, is perfectly timed. Thanks.

  12. Kim, Made. My. Day. I look forward to many games, my friend.

    Anne, I honestly so understand, and not just because I didn’t like carrots for a looooong time. Sometimes I don’t feel excited about an ingredient or recipe, and that alone makes me kind of apathetic about reading a post. But I think it’s the best blog readers that read them anyway and are able to find good in them. Thanks for sticking with me! And here’s to letting things develop. Indeed.

  13. I know just what you mean about the whole waiting thing. It’s interesting, too, with baking, how some things improve with age–even several hours of aging! The recipe for your frosting is very intriguing. I am curious: How did the frosting, what with the ricotta in it, hold up after hours on the cake, and did its flavor seem to evolve as well?

  14. Oh I know this feeling – I am so impatient at times, I just want things to be right immediately! And this cake sounds great but it is the frosting that I need – love maple frosting. Gx

  15. Jane, That’s a good question. Over about five days, the frosting tinted a little so it was kind of tan, but it still tasted great, and the flavors hadn’t changed.

    Gemma, Glad I’m not alone! And maple is one of my favs, too. : )

  16. Yay, I love when things are better the next day! I just posted about my risotto made with spelt… Spelt is most definitely my new obsession. I need to get some spelt flour!

  17. Sues, Now see, not only have I never had spelt risotto but I think I’ve had risotto a total of one time. Ever. You’re inspiring!

  18. Love the additionof spelt flour and the ricoota in the frosting. Will have to give this a try! And, oh – great story – totally agree!

  19. Thanks for the recipe! I needed this cake for Sunday night, but the only time I was able to make it was on Thursday night. The cake rose more than I expected, almost overflowing the cake pan. After 3 days in the fridge, it tasted fantastic. Next time, however, I would frost it at the last minute instead of after baking, as the frosting began to turn shades of brown in some places (I suppose due to the vanilla and maple syrup).

  20. Glad you enjoyed it, Eric! And yep, that’s definitely true with this frosting… it’s much better right away. Several people have suggested a cream cheese frosting instead, which I’d love to try next time. : ) Thanks for coming back to tell me how it went!

  21. I’m making this into carrot cupcakes…any idea for the cooking time for these cupcakes?

    Also, replacing spelt with buckwheat flour to make them gluten free…ideas on that and how it would change?

    Thanks! (awesome cake)

    • Hi Eve, When I switch cakes to cupcakes, I usually lower the baking time by 15 minutes or so and watch it — since I haven’t made this recipe as cupcakes, that’s the best advice I can give you. (But let me know how it goes!)

      And as far as spelt and buckwheat, they are not one-to-one swaps, unfortunately, so switching the spelt for buckwheat will definitely change the cake, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work. It just means you’ll have to experiment with proportions. Good luck!

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