Spring has sprung (in my part of the country!) and this Cardamom Carrot Loaf w/ Brown Butter Maple Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect for spring. Calling this cake a loaf just sounds better when you go to grab a slice for breakfast but let’s call a spade, a spade. While this is in loaf form, this is 100% a sweet cake with bold flavors. Cardamom, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg shine bright and accompany carrots, golden raisins and toasted pecans. Not to mention, the loaf is covered in swirls of nutty brown butter and maple sweetened cream cheese frosting.
The grocery list.
Carrot cake in loaf form.
While you’ll find all the traditional flavors of carrot cake in this loaf, it’s heavy-handed on cardamom. One of my favorite ingredients! It’s fruity and slightly-sweet and less common as the star of a carrot cake. Typically your ginger, nutmeg and clove spices are more forward and in this recipe they are flavor enhancers but they’re not stealing the show. Other than waiting for the loaf to bake, most of your prep time will be spent measuring out a laundry-list of ingredients. It will all pay-off when you’re enjoying sweet bites of this loaf with friends and family.
- granulated sugar
- light brown sugar
- large eggs
- pineapple juice
- olive oil
- cake flour
- all-purpose flour
- ground cinnamon
- ground ginger
- baking powder
- baking soda
- ground nutmeg
- ground cloves
- grated carrots
- golden raisins
Brown butter maple cream cheese frosting.
The title of this frosting is also just about every ingredient you’ll find in the recipe for it. Sometimes I don’t want to leave anything for your mind to wander, I want you to know EXACTLY what to expect. Typically, in cream cheese frosting, the cream cheese is the strongest flavor. It’s my favorite part! But in this recipe, the brown butter shines! It’s smooth and nutty and brings down the sweetness just a touch for the perfect balance.
Steps to make this Cardamom Carrot Loaf.
The most active part of this recipe for you is going to be preparing the batter. It’s a good deal of measuring ingredients but it can all be done in TWO bowls. One for wet ingredients and one for dry. Once you’ve mixed all your wet ingredients and all your dry ingredients in separate bowls, you’ll add the dry to the wet. Stir until just combined and no dry bits remain, add it to your prepared loaf bake and toss it in the oven. The hard part is over!
Since we are baking in a loaf pan the baking times are dependent on the size and also why you’ll see a range for time. I suggest checking on the doneness at 45 minutes. If the toothpick comes out with batter, continue to bake for another 5 minutes. Completely this check-and-bake 1-2 times more to ensure the center is set.
It’s important to allow the loaf to completely cool before frosting and slicing. If you frost the cake while it’s still warm, the frosting will melt. Secondarily, if you slice the cake while it’s still warm it will crumble. The loaf needs an hour or more to completely cool out of the loaf pan in order for it to be set and be ready for frosting, slicing and serving. You may remove the loaf from the pan to a wire rack and cool on the counter for 15 minutes and then move the cake to the fridge to help speed up the cooling process.
This frosting is complex in flavor and oh so yummy! Browning the butter is the KEY to the complex nutty flavor that compliments the sweet maple and powdered sugar as well as the tang from the cream cheese. It’d stick my face in this frosting like Mrs. Doutbfire, it’s THAT good!
Looking for more sweet brunch recipes?
Here are a few to try:
Lastly, if you make this Cardamom Carrot Loaf w/ Brown Butter Maple Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, be sure to leave a comment! Above all, I love to hear from ya’ll and do my best to respond to every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of your dayyyummm good recreations is my favorite!
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Cardamom Carrot Loaf
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup cake flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup toasted pecans, divided
Brown butter maple cream cheese frosting
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly spray a loaf pan ** with cooking spray and line it parchment paper for easy removal. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk the granulated sugar, brown sugar with the eggs, pineapple juice and olive oil. Set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, all-purpose flour, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Add the shredded carrots and toss to coat. Add the golden raisins and 1/2 cup toasted pecans, stir to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the large bowl of wet ingredients. Fold to combine until no dry bits remain but do not over mix. Add the batter to the prepare loaf pan.
- Set the pan into the heated oven and bake for 40 minutes. Check begin checking the loaf at the 40 minute mark to see if the center is set. Bake and additional 5 minutes before checking again, continue checking and baking for 55 minutes if needed.
- While the loaf is baking, prepare your brown butter (it will need plenty of time to cool so this is the best time to complete this step!). Add the 4 tablespoons of salted butter to a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the butter, stirring frequently until frothy and browned. It will bubble and smell nutty, continue to stir until it no longer bubbles. Keep a close eye as it could easily burn. Set aside to cool to room temperature (do no put in the fridge as it will harden).
- When the loaf has completely baking, remove it from the oven and cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Next, move the cake to a wire cooling rack for 1 hour to cool completely before frosting.
- While the loaf is cooling, prepare the frosting. Add the cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer) and beat for 30 seconds. Add the cooled brown butter (and all it's brown bits!), maple syrup and vanilla. Beat to combine.
- Lastly, add the powdered sugar and salt and beat until just combined and smooth.
- Frost the cake with swirls of frosting and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted pecans, slice and serve.
** I used a 9.75 x 2.75 Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Loaf Pan for this recipe. If you do not have a loaf pan, check out this chart to help with baking time conversions for different pan sizes.
Nutrition Information: 10 servings 474 cal / 17g F / 76g C / 5g P