Easy Carrot Cake with Halvah Ganache

It’s almost Easter, so carrot cakes abound. I’m joining in the fray with this easy carrot cake with halvah ganache! While the halvah ganache sets this carrot cake apart from the typically cream-cheese-frosted variety, there’s another difference in the cake itself. That difference? This carrot cake isn’t made with grated carrots! It’s not even made with fresh carrots at all. Instead, it’s made with…baby food. If that last sentence made you want to click away and find a new recipe, please hear me out!

Baby Food??

Yes, baby food! Grating carrots is a pain in the behind (even if you do it in a food processor, because then you have to clean the food processor which is patently the WORST). Pureed carrot baby food is just carrots and water, jarred to stay very fresh! I worked as a product development intern at Gerber out of college, where I had to taste a LOT of baby food. I was always surprised at how fresh and good they all tasted. After that experience, I’ve always wanted to work baby food into some of my bakes. It’s a simple, affordable, delicious shortcut!

The moisture in pureed carrots give this easy carrot cake an incredibly soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I’ve added the standard carrot cake spices as well so give warmth to the cake. Using baby food means that this cake comes together within minutes. Just stir everything together in a bowl!

If you just can’t get your head around the baby food concept, you can definitely make this cake with carrots you’ve steamed and pureed.

Cake with Pureed Carrots

American carrot cakes are made with freshly grated carrots, not puree. This gives them a varied appearance and texture with carrot suspended in the cake batter. However, carrot cakes with made pureed carrots are not unheard of! Brazilians make bolo de cenoura, which is an incredibly moist, delicious cake made with freshly-pureed carrots. Because of the puree, the cake turns a brilliant yellow-orange color!

This cake was also inspired by pumpkin cake, which is always made with pumpkin puree. Since pumpkins and carrots are similarly starchy vegetables, I thought it was likely that pumpkin puree could be replaced with carrot puree. I adapted the recipe for this easy carrot cake from a pumpkin cake, and it works beautifully.

Halvah Ganache

The halvah ganache that tops this easy carrot cake is just as amazing as the cake itself! Halvah is a Middle Eastern candy made with sesame paste and sugar. It’s often flavored with nuts and spices, like pistachios or cardamom. To turn the candy into halvah ganache, I used white chocolate and tahini as the base. Then I flavored it with cardamom and rosewater, which are both so delicious with carrot. The ganache has a thick-yet-runny consistency; it’s firm at first but will flow a little as it sits. You can frost a cake with it and swirl it with nut butter or jam, and then the ganache will drip down the sides of the cake a little as it rests. It’s still thick enough to hold a clean slice when it comes time to cut the cake though!

I swirled the ganache with swirls of lovely green sunflower seed butter to give this cake springy vibes. It’s totally optional though! You could also add rose petals, pistachio butter, toasted pistachios, or curls of carrot.

The inspiration

  • The one bowl pumpkin cake by Yossy Arefi
  • The baby food aisle at the grocery store
  • Bright yellow-orange bolo de cenoura

The Quick Look

ComponentsSource/Adapted From
1Easy Carrot CakeYossy Arefi
2Halvah GanacheLanibakes

Easy Carrot Cake with Halvah Ganache

An incredibly easy, deliciously soft carrot cake topped with cardamom and rose-spiced halvah ganache
Course Dessert
Keyword carrot cake, ganache, halvah, layer cake, snack cake
Servings 1 8″ square cake

Ingredients

One Bowl Carrot Cake

  • 2 eggs
  • 100 grams sugar
  • 100 grams brown sugar
  • 220 grams carrot baby food (2 jars)
  • 120 grams neutral oil, like canola
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 190 grams all purpose flour You can replace up to 35% of the AP flour with spelt flour, if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder If at high altitude, use 7/8 teaspoons

Halvah Ganache

  • 80 grams heavy cream
  • 45 grams tahini
  • 160 grams white chocolate, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
  • small pinch cardamom optional but encouraged!
  • 2 drops rosewater optional but encouraged!

Instructions

One Bowl Carrot Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Line a square 8" pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, measure 2 eggs, 100 grams sugar, and 100 grams brown sugar. Whisk well for 2 minutes, until the mixture is foamy and lightening.
  • Add 220 grams of carrot puree baby food to the bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add 120 grams canola oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cardamom, and 1/4 tsp fine salt to the bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  • Add 190 grams all-purpose flour, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp baking powder to the bowl. Whisk well to combine and ensure no lumps remain.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the cake springs back when pressed gently.
  • Let cool completely.

Halvah Ganache

  • Combine 80 grams of cream and 45 grams of tahini.
  • Heat the cream/tahini mixture until it is barely boiling. You can do this in a microwave or over the stove.
  • Pour the cream mixture over 160 grams of chopped white chocolate. Let it sit without stirring for 2 minutes to let the cream warm the chocolate.
  • Use a spatula to stir in small circles until the chocolate fully melts into the cream/tahini mixture. If the chocolate isn't melting fully, you can re-warm the mixture gently until the chocolate melts.
  • Add a tiny pinch of cardamom and 2 drops of rosewater to the ganache, if desired. Stir well to combine.
  • Let the ganache cool at room temperature for one hour.
  • Spread the ganache over the cake. It will be thick but will loosen slightly as it sits.
  • If desired, swirl nut butter or jam into the ganache.
  • Top the cake with rose petals, fresh flowers, or curls of grated carrot, if desired.
  • Store at room temperature for up to 6 hours, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Bring back to room temperature before serving.


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