Carrot-cardamom bread made with olive oil, whole-grains, and plenty of rich spices, and frosted with luxurious plant-based cinnamon cashew cream. This beautiful loaf is perfect for serving at spring brunch or to prepare for a week of nutritious breakfasts. This is essentially a carrot cake masking itself as a loaf. A much healthier loaf, brimming with whole-grains, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It’s carrot cake that you can (and should!) eat for breakfast without falling victim to a sugar coma by 9am.
After all, it’s got all of the breakfast essentials: Eggs, orange juice, whole-grains, a little cinnamon. Plus, it’s made with love, baked with prosperity, and frosted with success. The logic is indisputable: You need to make this bread. If you’ve never used olive oil in place of butter or vegetable oil in cakes or loafs, it works exceptionally well. Since olive oil is liquid at room temperature, it lends superior moisture over time, which helps the baked good maintain its freshness even after sitting on your countertop for a couple of days.
Plus, it lends fruity, grassy, and peppery notes to the cake, which complement the bold spices beautifully.Speaking of spice, the heady flavors and scents of spices like ground cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger definitely take center stage in this bread. I absolutely love the spicy, herbal, citrusy character of cardamom which pairs exceptionally well with warm, fragrant spices like cinnamon.
If you don’t have cardamom on hand, you could either leave it out or add 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg in its place (but I highly recommend adding it to your spice arsenal!).
As for the carrots, they should be grated finely enough to be suspended throughout the batter in a light, airy fashion without creating actual chunks in the bread. Using one of the smaller settings on your box grater can help achieve this. Now onto that lush cinnamon-cashew topping.
Is it 100% necessary? No. But the fact that it’s at once tangy, sweet, and downright sultry makes it a pretty heavenly addition. You can either spread it on top of the loaf after it cools, or smear it on individual slices after the bread is cut. As long as it makes its way to your mouth, all is good in the world.
I mean, is there any better way to kick off spring?!
- 1 cup finely grated carrots
- ¾ cup coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. orange zest, plus 3 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
- 1½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or white whole-wheat flour)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cardamom
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ½ cup toasted chopped pecans or walnuts
- **Cinnamon-Cashew Cream**
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour
- 3 Tbsp. unsweetened nut or coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
- Combine carrots, sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla, orange zest and juice in a large bowl; whisk to combine.
- Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to carrot mixture; whisk just until combined. Fold in nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool completely.
- Prepare cinnamon-cashew cream by combining all ingredients in a food processor; blend until very smooth (3 to 4 minutes). Spread cream over top of bread loaf, or on individual slices after being cut. Sprinkle with additional nuts, if desired.