Carrot-mandarin orange cake adds a touch of sunshine

By Jim Bailey

With spring now officially behind us — even though the weather hasn’t cooperated here in the Northeast — I simply need to add a bit of springtime flavors to some cold weather desserts. Enjoy my rendition of carrot cake spiked with sunshine. Yankee Chef logo

Carrot-mandarin orange cake

I love the flavors of this cake not only because of the addition of mandarin oranges throughout, but I took the classic cream cheese frosting and lightened it up with whipped cream to create an airy addition.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups shredded carrot*
1 cup coconut
2 (11 ounce) cans mandarin oranges, undrained
Whipped cream cheese frosting, recipe below

Layer  carrot-Mandarin orange cake with orange slices and a lighter cream cheese icing.

Layer carrot-Mandarin orange cake with orange slices and a lighter cream cheese icing.

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch square baking pan (or use 2 cake pans) with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the first five ingredients together until well combined. Add the eggs, apples sauce, oil, carrot, coconut and one can of mandarin oranges. Stir to combine and until the oranges are broken up well. Evenly divide the cake dough into the prepared baking pan and bake about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Cut into squares and cut again, horizontally into 3 layers if deft with a knife. If not, simply cut in half horizontally. Layer the cake pieces with whipped cream cheese frosting and whole mandarin oranges from the second can. Either discard the juice from the second can of oranges or drink it like my kids and I do!

Whipped cream cheese frosting

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. In another bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar and almond extract. With a spoon, blend the whipped cream with the beaten cream cheese until smooth and well incorporated.

*You can either use the fine or coarse holes in your grater for the carrots. It simply makes no difference.

Yankee Chef book coverSchiffer Books of Pennsylvania has released Jim Bailey’s new book The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every Kitchen. It contains more than 550 traditional New England comfort-food recipes tweaked for today’s palates with hundreds of kitchen tips and food facts. The hardback book is 312 pages and contains 200 color images. Its ISBN is 978-0-7643-4191-5 and the cost is $34.99. The book can be ordered through Misty Valley Books, 802-875-3400.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeThe Yankee Chef

About the Author: Jim Bailey is a third generation Yankee Chef, New England food historian and newspaper columnist. His first cookbook, simply titled The Yankee Chef, has been published. He welcomes all feedback, questions or comments at

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