Tropical Carrot Cake

A less fussy, tropical take on the traditional cake, this one-layer stir-together comes together in a flash. Piled high with luscious swoops of Crème Fraîche Frosting and a halo of electric-orange sugared carrots, this beauty is just as eye-catching as the original.

4.0 from 3 reviews
Tropical Carrot Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • 1¼ cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 (8-ounce) can (227 grams) crushed pineapple
  • ½ cup (112 grams) canola oil
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons (3 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon (2.25 grams) kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon (1 gram) ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 grams) baking soda
  • 1½ cups (161 grams) lightly packed grated carrot
  • ½ cup (64 grams) golden raisins
  • ½ cup (57 grams) chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup (42 grams) sweetened shredded coconut
  • Crème Fraîche Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Garnish: Candied Carrots (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray with flour. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, pineapple, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, whisking just until combined. Add carrot, raisins, walnuts, and coconut, and fold just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth top with an offset spatula.
  4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Spread Crème Fraîche Frosting on top of cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with Candied Carrots before serving, if desired.

4.0 from 3 reviews
Crème Fraîche Frosting
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites (60 grams), room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅔ cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) cold crème fraîche
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer (see Note), whisk together sugar and egg whites by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150°F (65°C) to 155°F (68°C).
  2. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until stiff peaks form and bowl is cool to the touch, 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in salt. Add butter, 2 tablespoons (28 grams) at a time, beating until combined. Gently fold in cold crème fraîche by hand just until combined. Use immediately.

4.0 from 3 reviews
Candied Carrots
  • ½ cup (54 grams) lightly packed grated carrot, patted dry
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (60 grams) water, divided
  1. On a nonstick baking mat or rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle carrots evenly in the center.
  2. In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and 3 tablespoons (45 grams) water (it should be the consistency of wet sand), and cook over medium heat, being careful not to splash sides of pan and stirring occasionally to help sugar dissolve; use remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water to brush down sides of pan. Once it starts to boil, increase heat to high and do not stir. Cook until light amber color is reached. Remove from heat; immediately pour over carrots. Let stand until cool and set. Place on a cutting board, and using a chef’s knife, cut into small pieces.


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  1. I conjecture the batter doesn’t even need sugar, unless it’s for texture. I’ve seen a 0.6 ratio of sugar to flour in other recipes, and the pineapple and raisins add 17 tablespoons, or 1 cup if natural sugars. Just a thought!

    • Hey Julianna,

      Crushed pineapple will have a bit extra juice than fresh pineapple. 1 (8 oz) can of crushed pineapple equals about 3/4 cup finely chopped pineapple (or blended for a few seconds in a blender or food processor) and 1/4 cup pineapple juice. We hope this helps!

  2. Why does the recipe ask for a 9” springform pan? Does it need a deeper than usual pan? Or would it Ben difficult to remove from a regular cake pan?

    • Hey Lisa,

      This cake can be difficult to remove from a regular pan with it’s dense texture and streusel. The streusel topping also needs a bit of a deeper pan in case it overflows. However, if you only have a nine-inch regular cake pan, you can hold back some of the streusel and it should bake fine. Just know you’ll need to serve it in the cake pan, rather than removing it.

  3. The frosting was not for the inexperienced baker. Also the carrot garnish might need some tweaking. The liquid from my grated carrots cooked out and made a sticky brittle that was hard to chop nicely. I dried it a bit in the oven first.

  4. Hi!
    For the Crème Fraîche Frosting, for how long should I whisk the egg whites and sugar before cook it? Can I use a stand mixer instead of by hand?

  5. This carrot cake was a soupy mess for me, even after a full hour of cooking. I’m guessing I needed to thoroughly drain the can of crushed pineapple. Because the recipe specified using the entire can, I didn’t drain it, and the result was disastrous.


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