Today, December 21st, is the winter solstice. As in, today is the day with the shortest amount of daylight, and is the longest night of the year. Sounds kind of gloomy, huh? Well, yes and no, I’d say.
Yes it’s gloomy because there isn’t a lot of daylight today. But no, it’s not gloomy because it means that the days only get longer from here! So more sunshine! More light!
This winter solstice cake is a variation on a classic carrot cake, but with a little spiced twist. I added in cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg to make things holiday-esque, and the frosting is finished with shredded coconut to look like snow.
Omg and do you see those little rosemary trees? Obsessed.
The key carrot cake ingredients
In your typical moist carrot cake, you’ll find ingredients like shredded carrots (duh), raisins, cinnamon, and nuts. What makes this coconut carrot cake so unique is the following ingredients (all of which I bet you have in your pantry!):
Unsweetened shredded coconut—Oh yeah, I went there. Both the carrot cake and the cream cheese frosting have shredded coconut in them. The shredded coconut adds a light, cozy flavor and a chewy texture that’s impossible to beat. When combined with the nuts and all the other yumminess going on in this carrot cake, the coconut flavor is to die for. (It’s subtly coconutty though, don’t worry!).
Whole wheat pastry flour—Whole wheat flour in a cake? Yep! The whole wheat flour gives this cake a little more body than your average carrot cake and creates a hearty slice that goes perfectly with a hot cup of tea. Plus, it gives the cake a subtle nuttiness.
Ground ginger—This coconut carrot cake uses a lot of ground ginger, but you need a lot for the flavor to properly come through! The warming ginger flavor makes this carrot cake totally winter appropriate.
Vanilla extract—Vanilla extract is no stranger to cake batter, but I used two full teaspoons in this recipe to really make this cake shine. Make sure you’re using real vanilla extract and not the artificially flavored stuff.
How to decorate your winter solstice cake
The easy decorating hacks I used for this coconut carrot cake can be done on any cake you want to winter-fy. As the carrot cake was cooling, I whipped up a simple batch of cream cheese frosting (it’s amazing what you can make with some butter and cream cheese!). I smeared the top of the cake with a thick layer of frosting and left the sides bare—although you can totally take the frosting down the sides if that’s what you prefer.
I then sprinkled a generous amount of shredded coconut onto the top of the frosting for a snowy effect. I also cut pieces of fresh rosemary and popped them into the frosting upside down to form little trees. Don’t forget to sprinkle the “trees” with more coconut to make them look like they just got snowed on!
Man, is this a cute cake or what?
I’m headed to Boston for the holidays tomorrow, and I’m SO excited. I’ll be back with one more New Year’s Eve post for you all, but besides that I’m peacing out for the holidays. It’s been a killer year, and it’s time for me to rest up with the fam 🙂
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour one extra tall (at least 4 inches in height) 8 inch cake pan and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the carrots, shredded coconut, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring until combined. Fold in raisins and chopped walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, then allow to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, whip the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract, salt, and powdered sugar and whip to combine, about 2 minutes more.
Once cake has cooled, remove from pan and frost with frosting. Top with additional shredded coconut, and decorate with rosemary pieces.
Keywords: winter solstice, dessert, cake, holiday, spice, one bowl