Harvest carrot cake



25 min


12 servings

* PLUS Baking Time: 25 minutes
Harvest carrot cake

© Royalty-Free/Masterfile


  • 1 cup sultana raisins
  • 3 tbsp orange liqueur , or orange juice
  • 7 medium carrots
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 250-g blocks cream cheese , at room temperature
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur
  • 2/3 cup toasted unsweetened desiccated coconut , optional


  • Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Lightly butter 3 (9-inch/23-cm) round cake pans. If you don’t have 3 pans, use disposable 8-1/2-inch (21.6-cm) round foil pans instead. Line bottom of pans with a circle of lightly buttered waxed paper.
  • To plump raisins, place in a small microwave-safe bowl and drizzle with liqueur. Cover with plastic. Microwave on medium until warm, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside. Peel carrots, then grate using large grating disc of a food processor or a box grater. Grated carrots should measure no more than 3-1/2 cups (875 mL). It’s important not to use any more or cake will be soggy.
  • In a medium-size bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs with orange peel, brown sugar, oil and vanilla until smooth. In a large bowl, using a fork, stir flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and allspice. Make a well in centre. Pour in egg mixture. Stir just until moist. Gently stir in carrots, raisins with any remaining liqueur and pine nuts until evenly distributed. Scrape into prepared pans and smooth tops. Bake in centre of 350F (180C) oven until a cake tester inserted in centre of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely. If making ahead, wrap individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 3 days.
  • For icing, place cream cheese in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until creamy. Beat in icing sugar, then vanilla and liqueur, scraping down sides as needed. Stir in 1/3 cup (75 mL) coconut. Place 1 cake on a large plate. Spread one-third of frosting overtop, just to edges. Repeat layering with cakes and frosting to form a triple-decker cake. Sprinkle top with remaining coconut. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight, before serving. Slice into wedges and serve. Any leftovers will keep well, covered and refrigerated, up to 5 days.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 655,
  • Protein
  • 8.3 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 79.2 g,
  • Fat
  • 34.9 g,
  • Sodium
  • 555 mg.

Incredibly moist carrot cake is a perfect way to wrap up a Thanksgiving feast. This outstanding dessert contains liqueur-soaked raisins and pine nuts, plus there’s toasted coconut in the icing.