SUGAR-FREE CARDAMOM-PISTACHIO CARROT CAKE
A tasty twist on the classic carrot cake that no one can resist.
By Thomas John of @thomasjohn26
- Vegetable oil or cooking spray (for pan)
- 1¼ cups Purecane™ zero calorie baking sweetener
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 medium carrots
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (130 g) raw pistachios
- 1¾ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 8 ounces (224 g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1½ cups powdered Purecane™ zero calorie baking sweetener (about 1 cup ground in coffee grinder if you have one)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Lightly coat bottom and sides of a 9”-diameter cake pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Cut a parchment round for added non-stick safety.
- Your 5 large eggs need to be at room temperature for this recipe. If they aren’t, put them in a small bowl and cover them with warm tap water. Let them sit to take the chill off (room-temperature eggs gain more volume than cold eggs do when whipped; cold eggs could result in a tight or dense cake).
- Peel 3 medium carrots and grate on the large holes of a box grater. Measure out 2½ cups (lightly packed; 250 g)
- Set a fine-mesh sieve over a measuring glass and place next to stove. Cut 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter into pieces and heat in a medium saucepan over medium until foaming, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup (130 g) raw pistachios and cook, stirring often, until butter browns and nuts smell toasty, about 5 minutes. (Butter will get very foamy and it will be hard to see what’s going on, so once the foam is golden brown, remove pan from heat and lift out a few nuts with a spoon every 10 seconds to check how they are browning). Pour mixture through prepared sieve, scraping in all of the browned bits; set nuts and butter aside separately.
- Crack eggs into a large bowl; add 1¼ cups Purecane™, 1¾ tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1½ tsp. ground cardamom, and ½ tsp. ground cinnamon. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat 3 minutes (mixture should be thick, pale, and slightly increased in volume). Decrease speed to medium-high and gradually stream in reserved brown butter (including browned bits); beat until combined. Go slow during this part—if you add the butter too quickly, it'll be hard to achieve the emulsion you're aiming for.
- Coarsely chop reserved pistachios. Using a rubber spatula, fold in 1½ cups (188 g) all-purpose flour until almost completely combined. In this cake, as in most, be gentle with the flour: use rubber spatula to make broad strokes down the middle of the bowl and up along the sides and stop as soon as the dry bits disappear. Being too aggressive leads to excess gluten development and tough cake.
- Add nuts and carrots and continue to fold until everything is incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth surface with a small offset spatula or a small spoon. Place pan on a clean smooth surface and give it a fast 360-degree spin (this pushes the batter up the sides of the pan and minimizes doming during baking).
- Bake cake until deeply browned and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–55 minutes. When in doubt, it’s better to slightly overbake this cake than to take it out too early. If underbaked, it will sink in the center. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan.
- Run a small offset spatula or butter knife around perimeter of cake to loosen. Place a large plate upside down over cake and invert cake onto plate. Leave flat side up. This will give the top of your cake a smooth, even surface. Remove parchment paper and discard.
- In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add 1½ cups powdered Purecane™ (about 1 cup ground in coffee grinder), vanilla, and salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 3-4 minutes.
- Cover and store any leftover frosting for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it’s creamy again.