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A moist Carrot Cake Without Cream Cheese Icing aka the best Canadian Carrot Cake recipe with chopped pineapple, chopped nuts, coconut and a tangy creamy mascarpone frosting on top. Jump to Recipe
Today I share with you my adapted version of Canadian Living’s Best Carrot Cake recipe. My carrot cake is made without cream cheese icing but using a mascarpone frosting.
Canadian Carrot Cake Without Cream Cheese Icing
What makes this carrot cake recipe special is that it uses icing made without cream cheese or butter! When it comes to carrot cake frosting alternatives, we have many options, like buttercream or a simple lemon glaze or white or dark chocolate ganache.
Our carrot cake icing looks similar to traditional cream cheese icing but has no actual cream cheese. Instead, it is made with heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese and just a hint of lemon zest for freshness.
The carrot cake batter is studded with pineapple, raisins, coconut and chopped nuts and brown sugar makes it extra moist.
I created this Canadian Carrot Cake to celebrate my first Easter in Canada. The rituals are pretty much the same as I remember from Germany. Well, apart from making homemade German Egg Liqueur – a German tradition to which I dedicated another post.
So this Easter will be quite similar to what I remember from Germany- just with a chance of snow. There’ll be some kind of brunch, Easter egg hunting, gorging on too many Lindor Truffles and regretting it when you realize that you haven’t even had any cake yet.
Easter Cake is of course quintessential. In Germany, it’s usually the naughty trinity of Egg Liqueur Cake, Käsesahne Torte, and the obligatory German Karottenkuchen, or Rüblitorte as the Swiss call it.
German Carrot Cake is one of my favourite cakes ever. It’s heavy on the ground hazelnuts and grated carrots and comes with a simple chocolate or lemon glaze instead of cream cheese Icing.
This year I wanted it to be different. I wanted to make a Canadian Carrot Cake. North Americans in general and Canadians in particular like their carrot cake slightly autumn spiced and studded with pineapple chunks, plump raisins, chopped nuts like pecans and even coconut flakes.
So this year I tried to give this for me “exotic” version a shot and went to try out the Canadian Living Carrot Cake recipe described as Canada’s Best Carrot Cake by a well known magazine.
Of course I made a whole bunch of changes, like the pineapple drizzle and my carrot cake icing is made without cream cheese ot butter but mascarpone.
Secrets to the best Canadian Carrot Cake
The Canadian Living “Best Carrot Cake” came out very good but a bit less exciting and moist than I had hoped for so I made a few adjustments to it to up the moistness by including some soaked raisins and more pineapples.
I also brushed the cake with a mix of pineapple juice and rum – an old bakers’ secret – to add a bit of extra moistness. This step really takes the cake to the next level.
How to Make Carrot Cake Icing Without Cream Cheese
Our carrot cake frosting is not your typical cream cheese icing as I wanted something a bit less sweet and a bit lighter in texture.
I opted for a mascarpone whipped cream, lightly flavoured with lemon zest and vanilla. I love the mild aroma and the great mouthfeel of this creamy fluff.
For making carrot cake icing without any cream cheese or butter.
Chill a large mixing bowl in the fridge.
In your chilled bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and sugar on high speed until completely combined.
Add lemon, vanilla and heavy cream, and mix on a low setting until it is mostly combined. Now increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form – it may take a little while, so be patient!
Then stop as soon as it’s stiff enough to be spread over a cake. Otherwise, it will curdle.
Once the carrot cake has cooled, spread the cake with the mascarpone frosting and grate some more lemon zest on top.
Make it ahead of time
This Carrot Cake is definitely a keeper. Everyone loved it and it was gone way to quickly. Make this carrot cake a day ahead. It gets better when being allowed to rest a bit.
More recipes for Easter
Canadian Carrot Cake without Cream Cheese Icing or Butter
A moist Carrot Cake Without Cream Cheese Icing aka the best Canadian Carrot Cake recipe with chopped pineapple, chopped nuts, coconut and a tangy creamy mascarpone frosting on top.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour 500 mL
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon 10 mL
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt 4 mL
- 1 tsp nutmeg 2 mL
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar 175 mL
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar 175 mL
- 3 eggs
- 200 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla 5 mL
- 2 cups grated carrots packed
- 1 can crushed canned pineapple save the juice
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans 125 mL
- 1 cup golden raisins soaked in juice or rum *
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsps Pineapple juice from the can mixed with 50 ml of Rum about 150 ml
- 4 ounces mascarpone cheese I use Belgioioso
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- zest of 1 lemon
Grease and flour 13- x 9-inch (3.5 L) metal cake pan; set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In separate bowl, beat together granulated and brown sugars, eggs, oil and vanilla until smooth; pour over flour mixture and stir just until moistened.
Stir in raisins with their soaking liquid, carrots, pineapple (save some of the juice) and pecans.
Spread in prepared pan.Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven for 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Brush your pineapple juice / rum mixture on top of the still hot cake and let cool.
Chill a large mixing bowl in the fridge.
In your chilled bowl, combine mascarpone cheese and sugar on a high speed until completely combined.
Add lemon, vanilla and heavy cream, and mix on a low setting until it is mostly combined. Now increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form - it may take a little while, so be patient!
Once the carrot cake has cooled, spread the cake with the frosting and grate some more lemon zest on top.
* in a little bowl cover the raisins in with rum juice and microwave shortly. That way the raisins soak up the liquid waz quicker!
the cake should be made a day in advance as it gets moister and better when given time to rest. Cover your pan in foil and let it rest in the fridge.