Zingy Orange Ginger Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Icing

Carrot Ginger Cake via Sweetapolita

Happy Good Friday!

Well, it happened. Trust me, I know this is going to sound trite, but this cake is the the most delicious dessert I have ever eaten. Ever. As in not just the best cake, but the best dessert experience (borderline religious) of my entire existence. True, there are a few many desserts that I am very enthusiastic about, and such a bold statement isn’t intended to take any glory away from those fabulous sweets, but this one is it for me. The best part? I didn’t see it coming. Not even a microscopic inkling, but I suppose that’s what is special about it — it looks simple, fuss-free, and, dare I say, boring, but I have never experienced so many incredible flavours simultaneously before, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

Friends, this Zingy Orange Ginger Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Icing is the most unbelievably moist (literally — you will not believe it) nut-free carrot orange crystallized ginger cake filled with the fluffiest white chocolate butter frosting (no cream cheese,  not that cream cheese frosting doesn’t rock)with a hint of almond. Laaaaa! Let us rejoice.

Carrot Ginger Cake via Sweetapolita

If you don’t live in Ontario, the home of the LCBO Food & Drink Magazine, you may want to consider relocating, or well, at least frequenting their website with all of the fabulous recipes archived. I don’t normally do two of the same type of cake back-to-back on the blog, and I definitely don’t often make two carrot cakes in one day (it was almost 3, and I’m not even joking!), but I really couldn’t help myself. Basically, here’s the sequence of events that lead to two carrot cakes: 1. I adore everything about carrot cake. 2. I love new & fresh takes on carrot cake. 3. A bunch of readers asked me to blog a delicious carrot cake recipe. 4. I got the new LCBO Food & Drink Spring 2011 magazine with an entire feature on carrot cakes, including 6 gourmet variations. 5.

I bought a shiny new food processor Tuesday (which was when I chose to do as many as I could fit into the following 48-hours). As much as I could have kept shredding carrots in pure bliss (my food blogger friends warned me of the food processor’s unrelenting and addictive powers, and they were right.), I decided to stop at 2 cakes and strongly encourage you to go pick up this magazine (complimentary in all LCBO {Liquor Control Board of Ontario} locations) to see all of the incredible recipes for yourself, or, if you’re not from Ontario, bribe someone to send you one, or, wait until they post the recipes from this issue on their website. If you happened to read my recent post, Mascarpone Meringue Cake, you’ll recall that I love every recipe the folks at this magazine feature.

Carrot Ginger Cake via Sweetapolita

Again, not the most interesting looking cake, which is maybe why I didn’t see it coming, but wow.

Carrot Ginger Cake via Sweetapolita

Yes, I ate this piece. Carrot Ginger Cake via Sweetapolita

And, heck yes, I ate this one too then squealed in delight. One of  my favourite parts: the zingy and unexpected (well, it would have been unexpected had I not actually made the cake myself) chunks of crystallized ginger; I was so happy to find another recipe to use these beauties. I think I’ll make this photo my screensaver indefinitely so I can reminisce.

Actually, I should mention that I mimicked one of the the magazine’s incredible photos of this cake in this photo above — I never do that, but I couldn’t resist. The photos in the magazine were shot by my latest photographer crush, Rob Fiocca. If you’re interested in food photography, you must check out his portfolio; it is awe-inspiring. I really wanted to take the extreme close-up of this slice because it really showcases its textural deliciousness. I feel the need to share with you that those are engineered crumbs–I had to try several times to  them to the plate from another piece because the cake was so moist that I could not get crumbs to fall naturally. Oh my.

Please make this and tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way?

Have a wonderful Easter from all of us here in Sweetapolita-land!

Zingy Orange Ginger Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Icing        {click here for printable recipe}

Ingredients

5 cups (1.25 L) grated carrots

1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped crystallized ginger or stem ginger in syrup

1 orange

2 1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour

1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

1 tsp (5 mL) salt

1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger

1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

2/3 cup (150 mL) milk

White Chocolate Icing

1 cup (250 mL) butter, at room temperature

6 squares (6 oz/175 g) white chocolate

1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla

3/4 tsp (4 mL) almond extract

Generous pinch of salt

3 cups(750 mL) sifted icing sugar

Garnish

Chopped crystallized ginger

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C). Spray or lightly oil two 9-inch (1.5-L) round cake pans.

2. Grate carrots using a food processor. Measure out 5 cups (1.25 L). Finely chop ginger. Grate peel from orange. Set aside separately. Place flour in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Stir until blended. Sprinkle in orange peel while stirring.

3. Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar, then beat on medium for 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, then vanilla. Don’t worry if it seems curdled. Beating on low, gradually add about a third of the flour mixture. Beat until just mixed, followed by half the milk. Repeat additions, ending with flour. Sprinkle chopped ginger and stir to distribute. Stir in carrots.

4. Divide batter between pans. Spread as evenly as possible to sides of pan. To remove air pockets, bang pans on counter 5 to 6 times. Bake until centres seem set when lightly tapped, 30 to 35 minutes. Place on a baking rack to cool. After about 15 minutes, turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on racks. It’s best to bake cakes a day ahead of icing and leave at room temperature overnight.

5. To make icing, beat butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until very creamy. Place chocolate in a small microwave bowl. Microwave on medium for 1 1/2 minutes. Stir, then microwave on medium for another minute. Stir until smooth. Or on stovetop heat chocoolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir, often. Gradually beat into butter. Add vanilla, almond extract, and salt. Gradually beat in icing sugar.

6. To assemble, palce 1 cake, flat-side up, on a platter.Generously spread with icing, leaving a narrow border of cake around the edge. Top  with the second cake, flat-side down, and gently press down. Smoothly spread icing over the sides of the cake, then the top. Garnish top of cake with chopped  crystallized ginger. It’s best to refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Sweetapolita’s Notes:

1. I added about 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of water to the mixed icing and then beat on high speed for about another minute.

2. I weigh the cake pans filled with batter to ensure they are exactly the same, then use a small offset palette knife to spread the batter evenly in pans.

3. I refrigerate cakes for about an hour before frosting, then do a crumb coat, followed by a final topping of icing.

Recipe Source: LCBO Food & Drink Magazine, Spring 2011

Good luck & enjoy!



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Comments

  1. 1

    umm, so where do you live again? Dad and I are coming for a visit.. haha soooooooooo delicious and yummy

  2. 2

    It sounds divine! I’m sad we cant get that ginger product here in Australia – where it originates from!

  3. 4

    It looks so moist. Yum! I’m not sure I can part with the cream cheese frosting though! I’m pretty sure I could eat a whole bowl in one sitting if necessary :P

  4. 5

    Wow, you are spoiling us! I cannot think of enough words to tell you how wonderful your cakes and photos are!!!

  5. 6
    Laura Lee says:

    I’m not a carrot cake fan…but then again I’ve never tried yours :S
    Your photos are telling me I should reconsider. I think my problem is that I don’t care for the nuts or cream cheese frosting that are typical of carrot cakes, so this recipe takes care of both.
    Beautiful!
    Happy Easter Rosie and Happy 4th Birthday to little Reese too!!

  6. 7

    yummy!!! do I get to taste test tomorrow?? I hope so!!! xo

  7. 8

    hahaha I love your enthusiasm! I’m from Ontario so I know exactly what you’re talking about. This cake looks awesome, and is officially bookmarked. Thanks!

  8. 9

    I think i could eat that whole cake… looks so yummy!!

  9. 10

    I would love to try this recipe, but I don’t have access to two round baking pans. I do however have a cupcake pan. (I hope turning this delicious looking cake into cupcakes isn’t blasphemous in your mind) would you happen to know if the temperature and time for baking would change and if so to what? Thank you.

  10. 11

    I can’t tell you how happy I was to see you make this. I had already picked out this cake as my contribution to Easter dinner. Glad to hear it turned out well and tasted so good.

    We are really lucky to get such an awesome mag for free!

  11. 12

    I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect carrot cake recipe, and I’m sold. This is it. Thank you!!!

  12. 13

    looks amazing, really great!!, I’ll have to try the recipe:)

  13. 14

    I love the idea of white chocolate frosting on a carrot cake. Oh and anything with almond extract – Yum!

  14. 15

    I often add crystallized ginger to muffins just for the heck of it–next on my list is adding it to carrot cake! This looks like a most divine cake :)

  15. 16

    Rosie if you are saying this is the best dessert ever I have gotta wonder!! You have such great taste & now I must get me some of this cake. LOVE the ginger/citrus combo over here too!

  16. 17

    ouo-la-la! carrot, orange and ginger: what a zingy combination indeed!

  17. 18

    Mmm….I love ginger, too! And if YOU say it’s delicious, I must try it!

  18. 19

    Hi Rosie, I’ve been following your blog for a few months now, and I am always in awe of your creations. I love carrot cake- and I probably love cream cheese frosting even more. Could we use that instead, or is the white chocolate frosting a super important element? I’m guessing it would contrast with the zingy-ness of the cake?
    Just a heads up, you misspelt gradually in step 3 ;)

  19. 20

    There are few things that I love more than carrot cake. Even as a child, I remember sitting in front of the table with my grandfather standing over me, and tearing into a heaping mound of deliciously moist cake. Just beautiful!

  20. 21

    Beautiful photos Rosie, I particularly like the last one of the cake slice. And thank you for the introduction to Rob Fiocca, his work is so inspirational.

  21. 22

    Carrot cake is my absolute favorite dessert. I remember sharing a slice of carrot cake with my brother as an after school snack on multiple occasions. This version looks divine, and I look forward to making it!

  22. 23

    i love food & drink magazine! did you see the editor was on top chef canada last week? i was going to make the maple carrot cake for easter dessert, but i got sidetracked by butterscotch cream pie!

  23. 24
    Camille says:

    If you say this is the most delicious dessert you have ever made, then I absolutely have to try it! I plan to make it next week for my co-workers as my farewell cake. I’m not sure if you are supposed to bring your own farewell cake but I’m sure they won’t mind. Like someone else, wondering about the white chocolate icing given my obsession with the cream cheese variety? I wonder if I can convince the LCBO that they should send their magazine to Vancouver every month…

  24. 25
    Lauren says:

    I have a friend who has very very ginger hair. I might make this as a delicious prank for his birthday!

  25. 26

    I made it and it was BEYOND fabulous! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe! :)
    http://www.eatrunread.com/2011/05/cake-of-week-zingy-orange-ginger-cake.html

  26. 27

    I’m going to make your cake for my best friend’s baby shower. I’m thinking about making it into cupcakes, though. Can you guess how many cupcakes this would make, and about how long, at what temperature I should bake it? Your expertise would be so appreciated!

  27. 28

    This is in the oven as I speak and it’s smelling up the house beautifully… Can’t eat it til tomorrow’s party, but have put some in cupcakes for testing!!

  28. 29
    Gayathri says:

    Hi Rosie, I tried this cake as an eggless version. It came out great and was well apprecitaed. I have done apost on this.Thanks for the recipe.http://gundumaami.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/carrot-cake-with-a-zing/

  29. 30

    Hi, Rosie. I love visiting baking blogs and I just happened to find your blog last night. I couldn’t wait to get up this morning and finish looking through it. You are soo talented! The recipes, the decoration, and the photography are simply fabulous! My dad loves carrot cake so I can’t wait to try out this twist on carrot cake for his birthday. Keep up the good work! I’m definitely gonna be a regular visitor to your blog!

  30. 31

    Hello Rosie. Living in France I’ve endlessy tried to find a proper carrot cake recipe as we cannot buy it here.I tried yours yesterday night and it was amazing. Thank so you ever so much for enabling me to bring a piece of America home.

  31. 32

    Great cake! Although, did anyone find they ran out of frosting?

  32. 33
    Pam Ehrhardt says:

    Rosie,

    Can I substitute reg chocolate for the white chocolate? My sister wants a cake with both and I LOVE the white chocolate recipe! Thoughts?

  33. 34

    Une belle recette de gâteau pour toi…

  34. 35

    Love your site, definitely!

    I tried this carrot cake as I love the crystalized ginger element – what’s a wonderful idea!I didn’t, however, care much for the white chocolate icing – a little bit too grainy and when you cut out a slice, the icing almost parts away from the cake. I am pretty sure it’s the method that I failed, but I am not sure if I want to try it again any time soon.

    Thanks again for this post!

  35. 36

    Hello, I recently came across your blog and loved it instantly. I made the chocolate raspberry cake from your blog and that came out really nice :)

    For this carrot cake, did you find the measurements accurate and what size pan did you use? I baked it today and got 3 eight inch cakes out ofit. Also does the recipe calls for the orange juice to be used as well or just the peel?

    Thanks

  36. 37
    Crafty McSchnafty says:

    Absolutely the sultriest cake I’ve ever made. My friends and I couldn’t wait until it was totally cool. We iced it and dove in while it was still warm. I am telling everyone I know who bakes to try this recipe. What a gem. Thank you!

  37. 38

    I made this cake over the weekend as a test to see if it is the one I want to bring to Easter for dessert, and I think it is! It was a hit with everyone that tried it… Well, almost everyone. I found the cake a little bland, though the icing was phenomenal. I did veganize it, and I think my flax egg replacer may be the culprit. I think next time I’ll just use the Enger-G stuff, something that will help not only bind but give it a fluffier texture. I also think the grated carrots added too much moisture or density to things. I think when I make it again this weekend, I’ll use shredded carrots as I used in basic carrot cake last year.

    I want to also say what an awesome baking blog/site this is. The pictures are wonderful, and the step-by-step nature and extra tips are really appreciated. While I bake a decent amount, this was my first time making a layer cake, and making icing, and I owe the guided nature of the recipe to it turning out as well as it did. I have bookmarked many other recipes to try out – especially the Winter Delight Peppermint Cake. Oh my… What a cake!!

    Oh, and I used the Baker’s Cut Crystallized Ginger Chips so as to not have to fuss with chopping larger pieces, and my goodness… How wonderful they are! I coated the top of the cake with them (way more than what is pictured), and their crunch really added quite a nice touch. I plan on sprinkling them over the middle frosting layer for more ginger crunch fun.

  38. 39

    Hi All

    Did anyone have any problems with measurements for this recipe? My cake turned out to be 3 layers and I couldn’t use all the carrot either as it seemed way too much.

    Surabhi

  39. 40

    By the way it was fantastic. Some people asked for the recipe and ome asked if I bake professionally. haahaahaa. Made me soo happy.

    Thanks Rosie for your wonderful recipes and photos.

  40. 41

    how do you get those beautiful swirls on the top and grooves on the sides? your cake is so enticing looking!

  41. 42

    thanks

  42. 43

    Made this for Mother’s day: it was delish! I didn’t add the ground ginger as my husband isn’t a big fan, but the crystallized bits gave enough flavor, I thought. I had prepared three cake pans as some of the comments made it sound like there was a lot of batter, but two did the trick just fine.
    The frosting was amazing. I will definitely by keeping it in rotation.
    Thanks Rosie!

  43. 44

    I made this for a baby shower. It was sooo delicious and refreshing! After a while, it gets this cooling effect… I don’t know how to explain it, but every time I put a spoonful in my mouth, it fets like my mouth temperature drops for a brief moment. Nice!
    There were four tiers to my cake. First was a large round cake, top two were rectangular books, topped with a small round cake!
    The bottom & top layers were a Lady Baltimore sponge. I used your Citrus Curd recipe and your Swiss Meringue Buttercream, flavoured with orange, and tinted with a soft peachy orange.
    First book was this ginger carrot cake, but the frosting was White Chocolate Frosting from BAKED!
    Second book was the dark chocolate (one bowl?) cake with strawberry buttercream.
    I covered them all with different colours of white chocolate fondant… with more kiddy deocrations all around!

    I cannot tell you how many compliments I got! The cakes looked sooo beautiful and tasted even better! So, thank you for the most lovely recipes.
    :)
    Irma.

  44. 45
    Monique Laura says:

    I made this for my aunts 100th birthday. It was a huge hit. I followed the recipe exactly. The next day my mom wanted two more cakes to slice and store in the freezer to offer her friends when visiting. Even frozen slices of cake served at room temp have been delicious. Everyone raves about this cake. Definitely one of my top favorite cakes to make.

  45. 46

    Great cake!!!!! I love ginger..thank-you!!!!!

  46. 47

    complex flavors for ridiculous deliciousness. my favorite cake…or…maybe the anise cupcakes…or…oh dear, how to choose a favorite….

  47. 48

    Thank you so much for this carrot cake recipe. It was everything you said it would be. More traditional versions pale in comparison, and I shall never turn to another carrot cake recipe again. I had great fun decorating it as well, as evidenced here:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2463501884442&set=a.2463501764439.68079.1759080650&type=1&theater

    and here:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2463539445381&set=a.2463501764439.68079.1759080650&type=1&permPage=1

    -pj

  48. 49

    Rosie, I just love the fact that every recipe I’ve tried from your site (I have made 5 by now) has worked perfectly, this one was terrific, I love baking but I’m not so fond of eating, however I could have eaten this one by my self. Congratulations on such a fantastic site!

  49. 50

    I just made this for my hubby’s b’day as his favorite is carrot cake. The flavours were beautiful, I could have baked the cake a little longer but it was fine as is. I also added toasted almonds on top of the frosting which really added another great texture and taste to it. Thanks for sharing the recipe. (just as an aside, another great carrot-ginger-orange cake recipe is the one from Martha Stewart)

  50. 51

    My daughter made this cakes twice and BOTH times ’twas absolutely DIVINE !!

  51. 52

    I made this cake – and it is delicious! A couple of helpful hints for anyone else:

    1. As the cake is so moist, I had trouble getting it out of pan first time round. Much easier to remove with baking paper!

    2. My icing was threatening to separate and didn’t look quite right (I think the warmed chocolate melted the butter), but it was recovered by some time in the fridge before being beaten again.

    I think cream cheese frosting would also work with this cake, but the white chocolate/almondy frosting lifts into a much fancier cake.

  52. 53
    Brooke Radford-Knight says:

    I just made this cake for Mother’s Day and it was a huge hit (as is ANY Sweetapolita recipe i’ve made!). It puts a super unique flavor into a traditional carrot cake with the ginger and orange peel. While i’m not usually a huge fan of white chocolate, it worked really well with this cake to let the other flavors shine. I did add extra almond extract along with some all-natural orange extract to the frosting that made it extra scrumptious!

  53. 55

    Thank you so much for this recipe!
    I made it this Saturday afternoon and iced it later in the evening.
    Absolutely delicious!!!
    xoxo

    • 56

      Had some leftover frosting and have decided to make some cupcakes!
      Just need to decide on a flavour…

  54. 57

    I made this for my husband’s birthday. He and my kids loved it. It was so moist! I feel like the ginger could have popped more. I think I need some better crystallized ginger. What kind did you use?

  55. 58

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