This olive oil carrot cake is a perfect way to celebrate the spring season. It is full of fresh carrots and bursting with flavor. Not only does carrot cake made with olive oil taste great, but it’s also easy to make, which makes it perfect for any occasion!
Can You Make a Carrot Cake with Olive Oil?
Using olive oil for baking is such a great option compared to butter and other refined oils like canola or coconut oil. Olive oil is full of beneficial fatty acids and powerful antioxidants, and it contains mostly monounsaturated fats.
Since olive oil is heat resistant, it works well in baking applications because it won’t become rancid or release carcinogenic compounds during the baking process. You will come away with a moist and flavorful cake that’s healthier to boot.
If you’re concerned about the taste, start with a milder olive oil, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised and barely notice the oil flavor in the finished recipe. After learning about and tasting oils at the Cobram Estate, I was inspired to use olive oil in this flavorful carrot cake.
A Bit About Cobram Estate
Last week I attended the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC). Such a fun time out in Sacramento, the farm to fork capital. One of the preconference excursions was a trip to Cobram Estate and a visit with the California Olive Oil Council. Cobram was named the World’s Healthiest Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the 2017 Health & Food EVOO Awards Competition in Spain. Their specialty is cold pressed juice that is not processed and does not contain chemicals or additives. They have exclusive harvesting and crushing techniques. One key item for them is using olives at the peak of freshness and pressing them within four to six hours of being picked from the branch. This makes the most flavorful, healthy, antioxidant-rich and freshest olive oil. I will say I sampled two-day-old olive oil, and I am a believer! Holy cow, that was so good!
California Olive Oil Council
The California Olive Oil Council (COOC) is a trade association with the mission of encouraging the consumption of certified California extra virgin olive oil through education, outreach and communications. The COOC has grown to represent over 90% of the olive oil production in California. CBS did a report on the olive oil fraud coming from Italy and how most of it isn’t as pure as we think. Quite an interesting watch if you haven’t seen it. I’m now convinced why the council is needed.
Olive Oil Tasting
The tour gave us the full olive harvest experience and explained the journey from tree to table. After tasting a few samples, we learned that the flavor of extra virgin olive oil can be buttery and soft or spicy and sharp. It can be reminiscent of pepper, lemon, or grass. Thanks to California’s range of growing conditions and olive varieties, there truly is a California extra virgin olive oil to suit every palate. I’m looking forward to making a return trip just to try other oils.
Benefits of Fresh Olive Oil
And as a side note, high quality extra virgin olive oil provides the best health benefits and flavor when it’s fresh. Extra virgin olive oil should be purchased within 12 to 18 months of its harvest date and should be used up within six months of opening. Be sure to store it in a cool, dark place for the best results.
So, after all the olive oil education and love of the flavor, we decided to go ahead and try an olive oil carrot cake. We started with a base recipe from Cobram and made a few modifications to suit our taste buds. This cake would be great any time of the year, but we decorated it for a lovely fall dessert.
We recommend getting the freshest Olive Oil you have access to. It really does make such a difference.
How to Make the Cake
This carrot cake is pretty easy, but let’s walk through the process together. Begin with two mixing bowls—one for all the dry ingredients except the sugar and carrots. Whisk the dry ingredients together until combined.
Next, in your stand mixer bowl (you could easily go with a second bowl and mix by hand), combine eggs and buttermilk, then oil. Then add the sugar and mix until thick and foamy.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until combined. Once combined, stir in your carrots.
Carrot Cake Success Tips
- Choose the right carrots: Look for skinny to medium sized. Also, be sure to peel them before grating. Sometimes the skin tastes bitter.
- Use a food processor: The easiest way to grate your carrots is to use a food processor with the grating attachment. Now, if you don’t have one, then a good old box grater will also work.
- Don’t overmix: If you overmix, you run the risk of a dense, tough cake and no one wants that.
Cream Cheese Frosting
To make this recipe one step easier, I use my classic cream cheese frosting recipe for the icing. The cream cheese frosting is a go-to for many special occasions. The tangy, smooth consistency of the icing makes it perfect to top off this Olive Oil Carrot Cake with its rich flavor. It’s so smooth, tangy, and glides on the cake seamlessly.
If you are looking to pipe decorations with this frosting, put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to let it get cold so that it will hold its shape.
I hope you like the cake as much as we do. It’s a simple, delicious carrot cake recipe. Please give it a try and let us know how it goes.
Olive Oil Carrot Cake
- 3 eggs – room temperature
- 1/3 cup buttermilk – room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups olive oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 cups AP flour
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound carrots peeled and grated
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 pound Philadelphia cream cheese
- 6 oz olive oil
- Preheat oven to 325°F
- Oil and flour two 8″ round pans
- In a stand mixer, combine eggs and buttermilk on medium speed. Slowly stream in oil.
- Stream in the sugar and mix until thick and foamy on high speed. This will become a pale lemon yellow in color.
- In a separate bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Slowly add into the stand mixer and continue mixing.
- Once combined, add carrots and mix until just incorporated.
- Spread into the 8″ pans, and bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool
- In a stand mixer, cream the powdered sugar with cream cheese until combined.
- Slowly stream in the olive oil until incorporated
- Once cakes have cooled, remove from pan and decorate with the frosting.
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