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What Makes a Very Moist and Dense Carrot Cake?

I love a dense and moist carrot cake. What should I look for in a carrot cake recipe to be sure this is the way it will turn out?

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    1. re: monavano

      LOL monavano -- exactly my thought!

      1. re: monavano

        I was about to reply and say: Fat.

      2. some people add canned pineapple to keep it moist...though i'm personally not a fan so i use applesauce instead.

        brown sugar will give you a denser cake than one made with white sugar; grating the carrots very finely helps with density as well.

        4 Replies
        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          I find some carrot cake recipes to be too oily so I replace some of the oil with the juice drained from the crushed pineapple.

          1. re: greygarious

            Thank-you Greygarious....I am always looking for a more healthy recipe.

            1. re: Deborah

              This week I hybridized CI's oatmeal snack cake recipe with Martha Stewart's hummingbird cake recipe to make a batch of 12 cupcakes. Instead of soaking the quick oats (note: MUST be quick, not OF or instant) in water, I used the pineapple juice.
              I used whole wheat pastry flour for all the flour. Ate one still warm - meh. But after a night in the fridge, they were terrific. I made a note to myself to try making carrot cake cupcakes with this basic recipe. The oatmeal is not only healthy but I think would contribute to moisture and density.

          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

            goodhealthgourmet....exactly the advice I was looking for....thanks so much!

          3. The carrots themselves add moisture, so I'd look for a recipe with a high carrot: flour ratio.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Isolda

              Good advice....Isolda....thanks so much!

              1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                Along the same lines, Cook's Illustrated recommended including a jar of pureed carrot baby food.

                1. re: greygarious

                  whoopsie, you got there first, greygarious!

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Great idea, thanks for sharing. That would certainly cut down the prep time.

                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                      As I recall, the baby food is in addition to the grated carrot, in place of some of the oil, to bump up the carrot flavor.

                2. I used to have to make carrot cake for a living.

                  So through trial and much much error, here are my tips for making the carrot cake not only dense but mucho moist.

                  TYPICAL: Most recipes call for 2 teaspoons of baking soda.
                  MOIST/DENSE: 1 teaspoon of soda and 1 teaspoon of baking powder

                  TYPICAL: 2 cups of sugar
                  MOIST/DENSE: 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar

                  TYPICAL: 1 cup of oil
                  MOIST/DENSE: 1/2 cup of oil, 1/2 cup of butter

                  One last tip. Macerate your carrots. That is, let your shredded carrots and your two types of sugar sit in a bow for 15 minutes so juices start to form. This is critical IMO to a moist cake.

                  Hope that helps.

                  Good luck.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    ipsedixit....exactly what I'm looking for.....thanks so much! Carrot cake requested for my husband's birthday.

                    1. re: Deborah

                      Well, lets then hope that hubbie was good to you on v-day.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I am blessed....with hubby....been together 42 years....we are now down hill skiing for a 4 day holiday.....lovely inn....champagne etc.... making a carrot cake not a big deal!!

                      2. re: Deborah

                        To make it healthier, you could also replace half the flour w/ white whole wheat and that would add denseness, too. I don't use brown sugar but mix white w/ molasses (replace 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar w/ molasses) but go heavier w/ molasses to make it more dense. I find carrot cake very forgiving and usually err on the side of too much carrot for moistness.

                      3. re: ipsedixit

                        Any chance you would share your recipe?

                        1. re: Riatta

                          any chance she would share her vacation? ;)

                          1. re: Riatta

                            Any chance you would share your recipe?

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                            Which one would you like?

                            This thread just reminded me that I also use daikon sometimes to make a "white carrot cake"