Steam-Baked Carrot Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting

Susan Vu
Susan Vu
February 8, 2024
It’s incredibly hard to mess up this layered carrot cake because the mix of brown sugar, oil, freshly grated carrots, and a touch of steam added during the baking process helps to ensure that the cake comes out perfectly moist everytime. It’s also the kind that can easily be modified to your exact tastes and what you have in your kitchen on any given day. The applesauce can be swapped out for drained canned pineapple or you can eliminate the fruit all together and use 1 cup of buttermilk instead of the applesauce and milk. Not a fan of raisins? Replace it with dried cherries, cranberries, pears, or apricots. The walnuts can be swapped out for pecans or hazelnuts (if you are feeling extra fancy). Notes: Pre-shredded carrots don't wory here since they are much drier than freshly grated carrots. The cream cheese frosting is flavored with several spoonfuls of creamed honey but thick raw honey will also work.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Steam-Baked Carrot Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting
For the Carrot Cake
⅔ cup
vegetable oil, plus additional for greasing
½ cup (70g)
golden raisins
½ cup
very hot water
1.5 cups (180g)
raw walnuts
2.25 cups (315g)
all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10g)
baking powder
1 tsp (5g)
baking soda
2 tsp (5g)
ground cinnamon
1 tsp (0.75g)
freshly grated nutmeg
¾ tsp (1g)
ground ginger
1 tsp (3g)
kosher salt
4 large
eggs, at room temperature
1.67 cups (330g)
packed light brown sugar
½ cup (125g)
unsweetened applesauce
½ cup
whole milk
2 tsp
12 oz
carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (about 3 cups / 300g)
For the Whipped Cream Cheese and Honey Frosting
2 (8-oz) packages
cream cheese, cut into cubes and at room temperature
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks / 170g)
unsalted butter, cut into cubes and at room temperature
3 Tbsp (57g)
creamed, whipped, or thick raw honey
2 cups (240g)
powdered sugar

1. Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Cake Pans

Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans with vegetable oil and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Arrange the oven racks in positions 1 and 4.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 340°F
Heat: Rear

2. Soak the Raisins

Put the golden raisins into a small bowl, top with the hot water, and stir to combine. Set aside while you toast and chop the walnuts.

3. Toast and Chop the Walnuts

Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan and toast on the rack in position 1 until light brown and fragrant, about 8 minutes, shaking the baking sheet once after 5 minutes. Cool slightly then coarsely chop. Drain the plumped raisins and set both the raisins and the walnuts aside.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: Off
Temp: 340°F
Heat: Rear
00:08 Timer

4. Adjust the Oven for the Cake

Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 20%
Temp: 320°F
Heat: Rear

5. Make the Cake Batter

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and salt then set the dry ingredients aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, applesauce, milk, oil, and vanilla until smooth. Add the carrots, 1 cup (120g) of the walnuts, and the raisins and whisk until well combined. (Save the remaining walnuts for decoration.) Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

6. Bake

Transfer the pans to the oven, placing one pan on the left side of rack 4 and the second pan on the right side of rack 1. The pans should not be touching the sides of the oven. Bake, switching the position of the pans once after 15 minutes, until the cakes have puffed and a wooden skewer or cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Sous Vide Mode: Off
Steam: 20%
Temp: 320°F
Heat: Rear
00:25 Timer

7. Cool

Transfer the cake pans to a wire rack, cool for 15 minutes, then invert each cake onto the rack. Let cool completely. If desired, use a serrated knife to trim the tops of the cakes so that they are flat.

8. Make the Frosting

Use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to blend the cream cheese, butter, and honey until smooth, creamy, and just slightly fluffy, about 1 minute. Turn off the mixer, sift half of the powdered sugar into the bowl, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

9. Frost, Chill, and Serve

Transfer one cake layer onto a cake stand or platter. Add 2 scant cups of frosting on top and smooth into an even layer. Place the second cake bottom-side up on top then use the remaining frosting to coat the sides and top of the cake. Sprinkle the edges of the top of the cake with the reserved finely chopped walnuts then place the frosted cake, uncovered, into the refrigerator for 1 hour. Although you can serve the cake immediately after it is frosted, chilling it will make slicing easier. Once slightly chilled, use a serrated knife to cut the cake and serve.
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