spiced carrot and apple cake

In the midst of a Canadian winter, the beauty of dead hydrangeas is a reminder of what was and what’s to come.

Past mid-February, here in the Northern hemisphere, we are just one month away from spring equinox. Even though the amount by which sunrise and sunset change each day is now perceivable  and though the days are becoming noticeably longer, here in Montréal, our streets are lined with huge banks of snow. Playing outside with my youngest this weekend, I couldn’t help notice that there are still a few dried flower heads on my hydrangea tree lurking above the two feet of snow on our front yard -a reminder that far below the lifeless sheet of snow and ice, comfortably and patiently, life awaits.
Spiced Carrot and Apple Cake | conifères & feuillus

Dried Hydrangeas | conifères & feuillus
Present day, we are spoiled with easy access to produce from the world over year round. However, if we choose to eat seasonably, as the early inhabitants here had to do, these wintry months mean relying on what is stored and preserved and even, doing without.  But nevertheless, if we choose wisely, great things can be achieved even when we make do. Made with fall harvested, cold room staples, apples and carrots, and pantry items such as apricot preserve, spices and nuts, this cake is a good example of exactly that. Well enjoyed year round but perfect when all there is are dried hydrangeas to remind us of what was, while we, comfortably and patiently, wait for what’s to come.
Spiced Carrot and Apple Cake | conifères & feuillus
Spiced Carrot and Apple Cake | conifères & feuillus

Spiced Carrot & Apple Cake

  • 175 g (about 1 1/4 cups) whole wheat flour (or spelt flour if you prefer)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp fresh finely grated nutmeg
  • 60 g sunflower seed oil
  • 70 g muscovado
  • 50 g unrefined cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp apricot preserve
  • 100 g (or about 1 cup) finely grated carrots
  • 75 g (or about 1/2 apple) Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or hazelnuts)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a bowl.
  3. In the bowl, beat together oil, sugars, eggs and apricot jelly (I actually do it manually).
  4. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Stir in the carrots, apple and nuts using a spatula.
  6. Pour the batter in a well greased rectangular (10×4 inches) or circular (8.5 inches diameter) cake pan.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

42 thoughts on “spiced carrot and apple cake

  1. This cake was so moist! I loved the carrot and apple combination, and the crunch of the pecans. I used my homemade peach jam as I didn’t have apricot preserve, not sure if I really tasted it though, think I might replace with raisins next time. I had preserved apple sauce on hand so used that instead of apples, ended up having to bake it for 15 minutes longer. Thanks for this yummy recipe!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. The preserve lends a hand in making it moist, though I like the idea of using raisins as well. Glad that it worked out with apple sauce, I will keep this in mind next time I have some apple sauce that needs to be used up.

  2. This is such a pretty little cake. I loved your idea of making it into a layer cake with a bit of brandy, too! 🙂

  3. Absolutely stunning photos, Annika. I’ve been storing away my favourites from your winter recipes to make when our weather starts cooling down (can’t wait to make your split pea pigeon soup!) This cake is definitely being added to the list. Carrot cake is one of my favourites but I love the idea of adding apple.

  4. I really enjoy your blogs. I feel as I am there in your yard in Montreal. Love the hydrangea comparison. I too have dead hydrangea heads poking they’re dried heads out which I’ve utilized in my blog posts. I too cannot wait for spring life to return. Xo

  5. Great, Annika! Reminding us of what was and what’s to come, seeking beauty everywhere, even in dried -still gorgeous- hydrangea flowers and in underappreciated carrots and apples. This is my kind of cake, simple beauty!

    1. Thank you both! I, too, love simplicity especially for the everyday… but don’t be fooled, it is quite delicious and can be dressed up for special occasions. For New Year’s this year, we made this cake as a layer cake with frosting and a hint of brandy!

    1. Thank you Ronit. I would love to try an applesauce version. Sometimes, I have leftover applesauce and am always looking for new recipes to try with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.