Carrot cake with cardamom, currants and ginger-crème fraîche Chantilly An easy & creatively spiced carrot cake from scratch

Carrot cake with currants and ginger-crème fraîche Chantilly

How to make carrot cake without nuts or cinnamon? Currants and cardamom!

A couple of years ago, my nieces (aged 8 and 11 at the time) asked me to make a carrot cake—with no walnuts or cinnamon—for a birthday party. One of their friends was allergic to both ingredients, but they really wanted a carrot cake for this occasion.

So I got to work and decided to turn to one of my favorite spices, cardamom, to give this carrot cake some spunk. The exotic spice ended up pairing magnificently with the carrots! As for the walnuts, I replaced them with juicy, plump currants that contribute a bit of sweetness to the cake.

For a moist and flavorful cake, olive oil is the magic ingredient

But that’s not all! Instead of choosing a bland vegetable oil, I decided to use olive oil. The results were splendid! The olive oil not only makes the cake incredibly moist, but it adds a wonderful delicate flavor to it. As a last touch, the cake is decorated with a featherweight Chantilly spiked with fresh ginger juice and homemade crème fraîche. Need I say more?!

This carrot cake met the approval of all the children at the birthday party that day… I even heard that not a crumb was left.

Never miss a recipe... Join my mailing list!

Carrot cake with cardamom, currants and ginger-crème fraîche Chantilly

makes 1 large cake or serves 6 to 8
active time: 30 min

For the cake

  1. 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  4. 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  5. 1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
  6. 1 cup organic sugar
  7. 4 extra large eggs
  8. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  9. 1/4 cup orange juice
  10. 1 cup olive oil
  11. 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest (use a microplane grater)
  12. 1 lb (455 g) carrots – peeled and finely grated (4 cups)
  13. 2/3 cup currants (soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes and drained)

For the Chantilly

  1. 1 cup heavy cream
  2. 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice (finely grate fresh ginger root with a microplane grater and squeeze flesh between fingers to release the juice)
  3. 1/4 cup organic sugar
  4. 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  1. 1/4 cup pistachios – coarsely chopped, as garnish
  2. 1 – 9″ non-stick round cake pan or springform pan – buttered and floured

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC).
  2. Step 1: In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and nutmeg. Stir well and set aside.
  3. Step 2:camera icon Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at high speed until the mixture is pale and ribbony, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and slowly beat in the orange juice, oil and zest until smooth. Add the flour mixture and fold until almost incorporated. Add the carrots and currants and continue folding until just incorporated. Do not overmix, or the cake will be stiff. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Unmold and place on a cooling rack. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Step 3:camera icon To make the Chantilly, place the heavy cream, ginger juice and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the crème fraîche and continue to beat until just incorporated. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to serve the cake.
  5. Step 4:camera icon Place the cake onto a large serving platter. Spread the Chantilly on top of the cake with a silicone or pastry spatula. Sprinkle with the pistachios and serve.

Carrot cake with currants and ginger-crème fraîche Chantilly

dessert, cake, carrot, cardamom

You Might Also Like

14 Comments

  • Reply Kay Stuntz March 1, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    Another complex, subtle, and tasty recipe from Vivianne that was much loved by all who tasted it. Ginger grated on my little ginger grater resulted in a puree that was fine to use in the chantilly. I had to watch out for the long fibrous strings. Variations I have tried: parsnips-not as distinctive enough a flavor to stand up to the other flavors; golden raisins: delicious!
    My audience was impressed by the lightness of this carrot cake compared with other recipes. Thank you for the addition to my dessert repertoire.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre March 2, 2015 at 10:57 pm

      Hi Kay! I am delighted you enjoyed this carrot cake and loved all the different flavors. You’ve put me in the mood to make one soon! On a side note, you might want to invest in a microplane grater. It’ll make the job of grating ginger (or any other fibrous roots) a cinch. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I was so happy to read it… And happy baking!

  • Reply Carmen Brissette Grayson January 20, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Viviane dear, I made the cake last night and will serve it at a dinner for eight tonight. The was ready (maybe slightly too dark at the edges) but it smells wonderful. I had one problem: the ginger juice. Questions:
    1. how much ginger will produce 2.5 teaspoons of ginger juice? I used a whole knob of ginger (is “knob” the right word?) and couldn’t get more than about 1.5 teaspoons of liquid.

    Also, I had stored the ginger juice in the fridge overnight in order to make the Chantilly this morning (01/20/15.) At the bottom of the container was a hardened substance, residue from squeezed ginger? I’ll let you know tomorrow how it all turned out but I like the recipe so much that I want to perfect it and make it a staple.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre January 21, 2015 at 4:23 pm

      Hi Carmen! I’m so sorry the fresh ginger gave you such trouble. In order to get a lot of juice out of it, you need to grate it very finely. A microplane grater does the job marvelously. A regular grater won’t grate it fine enough and you won’t get as much juice out of the roots. To get the amount needed for this recipe, you need a 1 1/2″ to 2″ piece of fresh ginger root. And it looks like so little ginger juice completely evaporated overnight (I’ve never tried to juice it and refrigerate it, but it sounds like that was the problem). If you don’t have a microplane grater, you can cut a 2″ piece of fresh ginger in 1/4″ cubes and use a mini food processor to chop it very, very finely. This technique should work well too. LMK know! I hope everyone loved the cake last night!

  • Reply Angie's Recipes May 9, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    The cake looks fantastic, Viviane. Moist and with lots of flavours!

  • Reply Nira May 9, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    I made this, and it was by far the BEST carrot cake that I and friends, family, have ever enjoyed.

    Viviane. You are truly amazing!

    Thank you and best regards….

    • Reply Viviane May 11, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Nira! Thank you so, so much for your comment. You simply made my day! I’m delighted you and your family enjoyed the carrot cake. You’ve put me in the mood to make one this weekend! Warmest wishes to you, my dear…

  • Reply Deb May 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    With such a charming array of spices I doubt the cinnamon or walnuts will be missed! A wondrous version of the nostalgic-Carrot Cake!

  • Reply EA-The Spicy RD April 1, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Such a gorgeous cake, and I love all the ingredients, including the pistachios on top. So sweet your nieces and nephews wanted a special cake for their friend 🙂

  • Reply Kiran @ KiranTarun.com April 1, 2013 at 12:36 am

    This is my dream cake! Love all the flavors here, Viviane 🙂

  • Question or comment? I'd love to hear from you!