Carrot Cake

Recipe-of-the-Month: Fifteen-Second Carrot Cake by Michael Graves

My friend Elyssa’s photo of the recipe after she made it. Used with permission. - Jay.

My friend Elyssa’s photo of the recipe after she made it. Used with permission. - Jay.

In the 1980’s, I found a quick and easy (and terrific) food processor recipe for a carrot cake baked in a standard bread loaf pan. I lost the recipe. It was only years later (thanks Ebay) that I tracked down the out-of-print magazine and recovered the recipe. It is my default carrot cake recipe these days and I know you will enjoy it.

For more of my writings on food, check out my blog: Bye the way, if you aren’t currently a member of the WHCA, please feel free to contact me about how and why you should join.

Jay Francis
Woodland Heights’ Own Culinary Historian
and WHCA VP of Membership

Fifteen-Second Carrot Cake


  • 2 medium carrots, peeled (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • Cream cheese frosting or rum sauce

Grease and flour an 8 ½ × 4 ½ × 2 ½ inch loaf pan. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Shred the carrots or zucchini with the fine shredding disc of a food processor and remove (1 ½ tightly packed cups). Process the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla with the metal blade for 2 seconds. Do not over-process.

Evenly sprinkle the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon over the mixture; process until smooth about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the mixture with the pecans and add the shredded carrots and process until the pecans and carrots are evenly distributed, 4 seconds.

Turn into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

If using the cream cheese frosting, cover top and sides of the cake with it. Garnish with extra pecan halves making crosswise rows fairly close together so that each slice has a row of pecans.

If using the rum sauce, leave the cake unfrosted and pass the sauce with it, and, if you like, a bowl of whipped cream. Makes 1 carrot cake.

Cream cheese frosting

  • ½ stick unsalted butter cut into 4 equal pats
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

Process together all the ingredients with the metal blade of a food processor until smooth.

Rum Sauce

  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup dark corn syrup
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ stick of butter
  • ¼ cup light rum
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan constantly stir over low heat until boiling the sugar, corn syrup, cream and butter, about 9 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the rum and vanilla. The sauce may be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Serve the sauce hot or cold. Makes about 2 cups.