So, you’ve been trying to make your carrot cake taste like the one you’ve tried in that bakery, but it seems impossible, right? I’ve been there.
Well, the add ins are what make or break your carrot cake. Some add ins blend well with the rest of the ingredients, taking your cake to another level.
So, what are the best carrot cake add ins?
In this article, I’ll let you in on my secrets for making the most delicious carrot cake you’ll ever try! Let’s jump into the details right away.
Add ins can be anything from nuts to dried fruits and spices. But you won’t believe how much they can elevate the taste of your cake.
Here are some of the add ins you need to try:
Let’s kick things off with a citrusy punch in your cake. Adding a hint of citrus to your cake will indulge your taste buds!
The combination of oranges, carrots, and warm spices is incredible.
You can add a small zest or replace any of the liquid ingredients with orange juice, depending on how much you love citrus.
I personally prefer using fresh oranges to get the best flavor.
But you can always use orange extract if you have it. However, the extract tends to be strong, so you’ll need less than a teaspoon to add a noticeable hint of orange to your cake.
You won’t believe how much cocoa powder enhances the taste of your carrot cake. After trying this magical powder in my cake, it became an essential part of my standard recipe.
It makes the cake rich, bold, and a little more earthy.
The trick is to add a small amount, which enhances the flavor without making the cake taste chocolatey.
Pro tip: For a nine-inch, three-layer cake, you should only use one to two tablespoons of cocoa powder. Additionally, I highly recommend using pure, unsweetened cocoa powder.
Further, if you’re a cocoa lover and want to add more than the recommended amount, you might need to omit a tablespoon of flour from the recipe. That will help maintain the perfect consistency of the cake.
When it comes to incorporating cocoa into the recipe, I simply mix it with the dry ingredients.
If you want to add some fruitiness to your carrot cake, pineapple is the way to go! The tangy taste of pineapple pairs astoundingly well with the frosting and the spices.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: Use fresh pineapple instead of canned products.
You want to blend the pineapple with the rest of the ingredients. So, chop it down into tiny pieces and give it a quick mash with a fork. I prefer leaving some small bits for the texture.
Canned pineapple can work too, but it contains extra sweeteners that might alter the taste of your recipe.
You probably add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg to your carrot cake. But if you love spices like I do, you’ll enjoy an extra kick of flavor by adding some pumpkin spice.
The thing is, pumpkin spice and carrot cake are a match made in heaven. It compliments all the flavors in the cake and adds more depth to the recipe.
However, you want to avoid adding too much pumpkin spice, as it can overwhelm your taste buds. You might also add some extra frosting to mellow down the spices.
Greek yogurt is nothing but a game-changer! This simple add in does more than you think. It’s my secret to a healthier carrot cake.
First, the acidity of the yogurt helps activate the baking powder in the recipe, which means you’ll have a fluffier cake. You won’t believe how airy the cake will be after adding Greek yogurt to your ingredients!
Second, yogurt can help keep your cake moist. Not only that, but it adds an extra hint of creaminess in the background, making your cake much more delicious.
Aside from elevating your cake’s flavor and texture, it contains tons of nutrients and vitamins. Generally, I prefer using Greek yogurt with 2% fat, but you can use plain yogurt too.
While I was experimenting with different flours, I came across this phenomenal discovery: Use almond flour in your recipe and watch how people devour your cake!
If you want to make a gluten-free carrot cake, don’t think twice about using almond flour. This light flour has low carbs, and it’ll make your bakeries tender and moist.
When it comes to taste, it adds a hint of nuttiness to the recipe with a slight bitterness. But there’s no need to worry about the bitterness, as it’s unnoticeable.
Pro tip: When buying your ingredients, make sure to buy almond flour and not almond meal.
Yes, they aren’t the same thing! Almond flour is typically much lighter than the meal.
In fact, the almond meal would probably ruin your cake! So, make sure to buy the right thing.
7 – Applesauce
Apple cider is one of my favorite drinks. I like the mixture of sour apples with spices, and that gave me an idea.
I tried adding applesauce to my carrot cake, and let me tell you, the result was incredible.
First, I’ve noticed that the applesauce pairs beautifully with the spices and frosting. In addition, it adds a lot of moisture to the recipe without making it feel oily and mushy.
Since it makes the cake moist enough, you shouldn’t add yogurt or other fruits to the same recipe. We need the cake to be slightly airy, and all this moisture will make it dense.
I love making my applesauce from scratch. And if you’re like me, you want to keep its consistency like the one you buy from the store.
If it’s too watery, it might ruin your recipe!
In my opinion, coconut goes well with almost all bakeries, and carrot cake is no exception. If you love coconut texture in general, you’ll love eating it in a moist carrot cake.
I’ve found that shredded coconut works best in this situation. You can find many types of coconut shreds and flakes at your local grocery store. All in all, I recommend opting for the unsweetened type.
If you’re unsure about how coconut shreds will taste on your cake, you can start by adding a small amount. Around ¼ cup is more than enough to add texture to the cake.
You might want to try adding the coconuts along with the pineapples. This tropical variation of carrot cake will leave your guests wanting more!
If you have a sweet tooth, this carrot cake variation will satisfy your sugary needs.
The harmony of spiced sponge cake, nuts, and white chocolate is out of this world.
Typically, I like keeping the white chocolate in the frosting, but you can integrate it into the cake.
The best part is that it’s super easy to incorporate into your recipe. All you need to do is melt the chocolate and let it cool for a bit. Then, you can add it to the frosting.
You might also try adding white chocolate chips to the wet ingredients. I highly recommend adding pecans, walnuts, or any nuts you prefer to the mixture too.
There’s something about nuts and white chocolate that keeps me coming back for more pieces.
Brown butter is just like the regular one, but we cook it a little longer. As a result, we slightly toast the milk solids in the butter.
This can bring a whole new depth of flavor to your recipe. The butter adds new layers of toastiness and nuttiness, which can enhance the flavor of your cake.
If you want to add extra sweetness to this recipe, I highly recommend trying salted caramel sauce. It can enhance the brown butter flavor, and it blends well with the rest of the ingredients.
It works best if you add it in between the cake layers. Don’t forget to throw in some of your favorite nuts as well!
So, what are the best carrot cake add ins?
There are tons of add ins you can use to elevate the taste of your carrot cake. And you can’t go wrong with any of the options on our list.
If you want to add some fruitiness to your cake, you can add pineapple, applesauce, or a zest of orange.
Further, adding depth and complexity to your recipe is easy. Just integrate cocoa powder, brown butter, almond flour, or pumpkin spice into your cake.
For some extra sweetness, white chocolate can get the job done.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.