Carrot Cake with Candied Carrot Curls

Our 30th anniversary deserved a cake, and what cake better represents EatingWell than one with vegetables? While many homemade carrot cakes include pineapple in the batter, we made a jammy filling with it instead to tuck between the layers.

Prep Time:
1 hr 20 mins
Additional Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
2 hrs 20 mins
1 cake
Nutrition Profile:



  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

  • ¾ cup buttermilk

  • ½ cup canola oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 cups shredded carrots


  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Candied Carrot Curls

  • 1 large shallot and chive cheese spread (such as Boursin®)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup water


  • 12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

  • ¾ cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ½ cup chopped pecans


  1. To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.

  2. Stir flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk eggs, 1 1/4 cups sugar, buttermilk, oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; stir until just blended. Stir in shredded carrots. Divide the cake batter between the prepared baking pans.

  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Loosen the edges and invert the cakes onto cooling racks. Peel the parchment off the tops of the cakes and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

  4. Meanwhile, to prepare filling: Combine pineapple and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the pineapple is very soft, about 15 minutes. Crush the pineapple with a potato masher and cook, uncovered, until most of the liquid is reduced, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  5. To prepare carrot curls: Cut greens from carrot; reserve for garnish, if desired. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot into long strips.

  6. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the sugar has dissolved, add the carrot strips and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Drain the carrot strips in a colander; let cool for 10 minutes.

  7. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the carrot strips in an even layer on it. Bake until dry but flexible, about 20 minutes.

  8. While the carrot strips are still warm, wind them around the handle of a wooden spoon to make curls. Return the curls to the pan and let cool until crisp, about 5 minutes.

  9. To prepare frosting: Beat cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.

  10. To assemble cake: Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread the pineapple filling on top. Top with the remaining cake layer. Spread the frosting over the top and sides. Decorate the cake with pecans, the carrot curls and reserved carrot greens, if using.


To make ahead: Store carrot curls (Steps 5-8) airtight at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Equipment: Parchment paper

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

356 Calories
15g Fat
49g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Serving Size 1 piece
Calories 356
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 29g
Added Sugars 24g 48%
Protein 6g 12%
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Vitamin A 4549IU 91%
Vitamin C 12mg 13%
Folate 14mcg 4%
Sodium 365mg 16%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Magnesium 35mg 8%
Potassium 240mg 5%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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