American carrot cake is quite good, but all that cream cheese frosting really isn't my cup of tea. It makes the whole thing sickeningly sweet and kind of ruins it for me.
The other day, I was going through Japan: The Cookbook, a gorgeous new book about Japanese cooking, and noticed this recipe for carrot cake. It only had a handful of ingredients, not that much sugar (carrots are already pretty sweet after all), and zero frosting. It sounded amazing.
The cake batter comes together pretty quickly; the only slightly labor-intensive moments in the process were grating the carrots and beating the egg whites. The recipe calls for two small loaf pans but I didn't have them so I used one regular-sized one, which I think was a mistake. Because I used a larger pan, the cake didn't rise as much as it would have in two smaller ones. When it came out of the oven, I was a bit worried cause it looked paler than in the pictures in the book and flatter than I had expected.
But then, I cut myself a slice and OH MY GOD I swear it was one of the most delicious cakes I've ever had. It was just the perfect amount of sweet, the texture was both moist and light, and the carrot flavor just perfect. I ate it all by myself in one day and didn't even feel bad about it. I'm going to buy small loaf pans just so I can make this cake over and over again. — Marie Telling
Here's the recipe.