Monday, February 4, 2008

Low(er) Glycemic Carrot Hazelnut Cake

I'm currently taking a series of classes at the Eureka Co-op in regional French cooking with local chef Alex Begovic. In our last class Alex made a simple carrot cake for dessert, unadorned with pineapple or other too-sweet detractions. Just lots of carrots plus chopped hazelnuts. It was delicious, the flavors were perfect, it wasn't too sweet, and I was determined to take the recipe home, up the fiber and lower the glycemic impact. I think I did a pretty good job. The cake came out moist and delicate despite the large chunks of hazelnut you see in the photo. And the carrots fairly sing their presence. A very nice nosh to have with your afternoon tea.

Low(er) Glycemic Carrot Hazelnut Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Alex Begovic
2 cups shredded carrots
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup Splenda Granular (or 1/2 cup Splenda-Sugar Blend)*
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped (husks removed, see Cook's Notes)**
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
3 eggs (I used 2 large and 1 x-tra large)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (fine kosher is best)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter a 12x8 glass baking dish and set aside.
Using the fine shredding disc on a food processor, shred enough peeled carrots to equal 2 cups. (I shredded too many carrots, the excess of which ended up in this soup.)
Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, the hazelnuts will go in later.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs until blended then whisk in the melted butter, a little at a time so you don't cook the eggs.
Stir the egg-butter mixture into the dry ingredients until blended.
Stir the shredded carrots and the chopped hazelnuts into the batter until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Alex said it should cook for a full 35 minutes, but mine was done within thirty.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then loosen the edges with a spatula and turn out on a board. Flip the cake right side up and set on a rack to cool.
This can be served warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream or without. It goes especially well with Simona's orange ice cream. You'll have to ask her to post it though. ;)

Cook's Notes:
*If you're not a Splenda user, 1 cup of sugar is what Alex used in his cake.

**Please notice the measurement here. Measure 1 cup of hazelnuts THEN chop them.
To toast and husk hazelnuts, place the hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a 350 degrees oven for no more than 15 minutes or until you can smell the nuts. Immediately remove the nuts from the oven and pour onto a clean terrycloth kitchen towel. Enclose the nuts in the towel and rub them vigorously until most of the husk has been removed.

I used 2 large eggs and 1 extra-large egg because that's what I had on hand. They worked well in this cake because I used white whole wheat flour for one-half of the flour called for, and it's been my experience that this coarser flour needs more moisture. You could up the fiber even more by using 1 cup of the white whole wheat flour and 1/3 cup regular flour or even whole wheat flour. Just remember that you will may need to adjust the eggs to add more moisture. I wouldn't compensate by adding more butter.

This cake may be made vegan by substituting 1/2 cup Earth Balance Stick for the butter and 3 ripe mashed bananas for the eggs.

Copyright © 2005-2008, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Christine, that looks very moist and they'd make perfect muffins too!

  2. I agree with Peter. In any case, the cake is really good: you can taste the carrots and the hazelnuts give it a really nice crunch.

  3. Sounds delicious. If only I lived near you guys I'd come over and eat this with you!

  4. Mmm this sounds very tasty, as I've said before I seem to read your blog at the wrong time when I'm thinking about cooking the evening meal and it just makes my mouth water looking at them!!

  5. Oh Christine I'd say you did a beautiful job on this one. Love carrot cakes and yours looks gorgeous good and not so bad for you!!

  6. So sorry to be so late in my replies. This has been a grueling week for me.

    Peter, Muffins!!! Why didn't I think of that? They would be perfect.

    Thank you Simona. They really did go splendidly with your ice cream. ;)

    I would love it if you lived close by Kalyn. Oh the things we could cook!

    Thanks so much Anne. I know you could make these with gluten-free flour.

    Thank you Tanna! That's high praise from a Daring Baker such as yourself. :)

  7. This sounds really good, especially the part about it not being too sweet. I've had carrot cake so heavy on the sweet it nearly made you sick. Add to that the rich, cream cheese frosting that it's usually topped with, and you're off into a sugar spin!

  8. This looks delicious.....lucky you to be taking these classes! You will have many things to share with us now~love the substitution with the splenda!

  9. This cake is right up my alley. I don't like those adorned with too many added sweet things.

  10. Cyn and Cynthia, It sounds like we all agree that overly sweet, gooey carrot cake just doesn't cut it. I'm going to be making this recipe again but doing them as muffins, like Peter has suggested.

    Yes, Jann, I hope to be sharing more recipes from my classes soon.

  11. I would love to take this class with you! This looks good, Christine.


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