Swap Fresh Carrots With Canned For An Easy Carrot Cake

Carrots are a beloved staple vegetable that tastes delicious raw and cooked in sweet and savory dishes alike. Even vegetable haters can get behind a comforting, sweet, spiced carrot cake that both enhances and transforms their unique and versatile flavor and texture. Carrot cake recipes usually incorporate raw carrots into carrot cake batter by mixing grated carrots into the wet batter for even distribution. However, if you want to save yourself the trouble of grating a bunch of carrots, you can swap fresh carrots with canned carrots for an easy, yet flavorful carrot cake.

Canned carrots are soft, tender, and often very bland as they're preserved in water. Adding them to carrot cake along with sugar and baking spices is one of the best ways to improve their flavor while also eliminating the tedious process of grating them. The only tweak you need to make to a classic carrot cake recipe is blending the canned carrots into the wet ingredients as opposed to adding fresh grated carrots into an already mixed cake batter.

You'll need two or three cans of drained carrots for the swap depending on how intense you want the carrot flavor to be. You'll add them to the wet ingredients to blend with a hand mixer or an electric standing mixer until smooth. Then, simply add the dry ingredients, stirring to combine until you've created a lump-free carrot cake batter.

More tips for canned carrot cake swap

Canned carrots make a great swap for raw carrots in terms of flavor but they lack that shredded texture we usually associate with carrot cake. For some, this is a welcomed change, but if you still want a shredded element, you can add shredded coconut to the batter instead. Chopped toasted pecans and drained crushed pineapple would round out the textural contrast with crunch and juiciness respectively. This orangey carrot cake recipe from Tasting Table incorporates orange zest into the batter for a citrusy complement that would work well with tangy and sweet pineapple. Other unconventional ingredients like ginger would brighten the batter with a spicier kick than cinnamon alone. 

Even without crushed pineapple, carrot cake is incredibly moist, so be sure to line your baking pans with parchment paper for easy removal. Greasing the pans should also do the trick. However, if the cake won't easily slide out of the pan after cooling it, you can flip the pan onto a cooling rack and let gravity slowly pull the cake down. Even if a bit of cake is stuck to the pan, you can easily camouflage an uneven cake under a smooth slather of cream cheese icing — just ensure that the cake has cooled completely before icing it. Otherwise, the pan won't be the only thing that pulls your cake apart!