Cooking for Two: Carrot cake for couples (recipe) |

Cooking for Two: Carrot cake for couples (recipe)

This carrot cake recipe is a good size for two people.
Courtesy Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson |

I love carrot cake and this recipe is perfect for two people and when you have a taste for cake but don’t want to bake two layers. It’s a quick and simple recipe that yields a moist and delicious cake using just one pan.

The recipe was inspired by one found in “Twelve Recipes” by Cal Peternell. I say “inspired by” because I changed his recipe in two ways: Instead of 1-¼ cups of All Purpose (AP) flour, I used 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of whole wheat flour to give it a more full-bodied flavor. Second, instead of ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, I used ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg. I love this flavor combination — the spicy warmth of the nutmeg is the perfect complement to cinnamon.

Carrot Cake


1 cup of AP flour

¼ cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup Greek yogurt

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ pound (about 4 large) carrots grated

½ cup walnuts chopped

Optional: ½ cup raisins

Cream cheese frosting

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter softened at room temperature

8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

zest and juice of ½ lemon

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Note: Cut this frosting recipe in half if you don’t plan to cut the cake horizontally in half


1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grate the carrots. Line a 9X2-inch cake pan with parchment paper or lightly grease the interior.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, in a medium bowl.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, oil, yogurt, egg and vanilla.

4. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. Then fold in the carrots and walnuts.

5. Pour mixture into the cake pan and bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

6. Let cool for 10 minutes, then take out of the cake pan and let cool completely. While the cake is cooling, combine the cheesecake frosting ingredients, beating until fluffy.

7. If you love frosting, cut the single layer of cake horizontally into two layers and frost both. Otherwise, decrease the frosting by half and just frost the one layer.

Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell

with Forewards by Alice Waters and Michael Pollan

I preview many books I want to buy by first checking them out from the library. That was the case with “Twelve Recipes” by Cal Peternell. I was drawn to this cookbook for two reasons: I currently have a fan-crush on all things Alice Waters and Chez Panisse — and Cal is a chef at Chez Panisse; and the description of the book on Amazon noted it’s narrative style, i.e., it tells a story as well as providing a full host of recipes.

Cal describes writing this book for his sons. “This is a manuscript sent from father to sons to codify a core group of recipes. It’s a book my sons will turn to when they can’t reach me by phone.” The book is built around a dozen basic recipes that are then built upon with variations. It truly is a cooking school in a cookbook. Cal’s writing style is also very friendly and accessible. He not only provides directions, but also the reason behind the directions and tip and tricks to make you more comfortable in the kitchen.

Highly recommended.

Suzanne Anderson writes weekly food and religion columns for the Summit Daily News and is the author of 10 books. You can find her at

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