Recipe - Cocoa Carrot Cake

I never quite understood the fascination with carrot cake when I was growing up, and it really was not a dessert I preferred. Sure it was moist but the ones I had always seemed to be saturated in spices and smothered in too much cream cheese frosting. Why did it always have to be cream cheese anyway? Well, after stocking Duc's fridge with carrots, I noticed that he was being slow to eating them and with a baking itch straining at me to do something, I decided to make a carrot cake. However, no frosting for me!

"But what about the flavor then? It needs something." True - so I opted to add cocoa in the mix and hey, it was actually a pretty tasty cake. Since there was some Elli Quark in the fridge as well, I chose one that seemed befitting of a cocoa cake - the red velvet flavor. Of course you don't need to use that specific one when you bake yourself this cake too but I liked that it highlighted the cocoa. Give this one a whirl why dontcha? The ingredients make it seem a little "healthier" than other cakes may be but who doesn't need a little healthy in their life?

Step 1: Ingredients  (yields one 9x13 cake)

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Red Velvet Elli Quark (approximately 2/3rd the package)*
  • 2 cups carrots, finely grated
    *NOTE: can use sour cream or Greek yogurt in place of quark if not available
Step 2: Mixing separate ingredients
As with all baking, you will need two separate bowls - one for dry ingredients and one for wet. On the dry side, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and coca powder. On the wet side, combine sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla extract, and quark.

Step 3: Adding in the carrots
Preheat oven to 350°F. The longest part of this process (aside from the bake time itself) was shredded the carrots. They take forever it seems! Mix wet and dry ingredients well. Then fold in carrots. Oil up a 9x13 baking dish and pour batter into it evenly.

Step 4: Finishing
Bake cake for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick (through the middle) comes out dry. Let cool a tad before serving! At times this tasted like it could be a square muffin so I enjoyed some pieces for breakfast before as well.

Photography by Duc Duong.