Chocolate Carrot Loaf Cake
This cake, like its non-chocolate brethren, comes together in a snap. Don’t be tempted to grate the carrots with a food processor: Although a Microplane takes more time, it’s well worth it to achieve the cake’s soft texture. If you can find a mild olive oil (not extra-virgin), it will contribute to a lovely crumb, though it’s optional—vegetable oil will also work.
For the cake:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 9 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon (rounded) baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light-brown sugar
- ¾ cup mild olive oil (not extra-virgin) or vegetable oil
- 1 egg yolk, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 6 tablespoons buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¾ ounce unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 cups lightly packed finely grated carrots (preferably grated with a Microplane)
For the cinnamon-cream-cheese whipped cream:
- 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ⅔ cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9×4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or softened butter. Line lengthwise with parchment paper so the paper goes up the two short sides of the pan. Set aside.
Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, whisking long enough to ensure the leavening is evenly distributed. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the sugars and oil, then whisk vigorously. Add the yolk and eggs, one at a time, gently whisking after each addition. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and whisk again. Add the melted chocolate and whisk a final time to combine.
Add the flour mixture to the egg and sugar mixture, then, with a rubber spatula, gently fold the dry into the wet, until just a few streaks of flour remain. Add the carrots and fold again until the carrots are completely incorporated. Let the cake batter rest for 15 minutes.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes. After 35 minutes, check the cake with a cake tester or toothpick. The cake is ready when the tester has a few moist crumbs on it.
While the cake bakes, make the whipped cream.
Refrigerate the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment (or a medium metal bowl and the beaters of a hand mixer) until quite cold, about 15 minutes.
Once chilled, remove the bowl and whisk from the refrigerator, add the cream cheese, and whip it on medium speed until smooth. Add the cream and continue to whip on medium speed until the cream is incorporated.
Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and, on medium-high speed, whip the cream mixture until it holds stiff peaks that stand upright when the whisk is raised. Use it immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in the pan on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes, or until the cake is still warm, but you can easily hold the pan without burning yourself. Invert the cake onto the cooling rack and let the cake cool completely. Serve slices with cinnamon-cream-cheese whipped cream. The cake will keep on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to three days (and honestly—like most loaf cakes—gets better with age).