Sweet Annie’s Baking Column: Carrot Cake

By Annie Steinbrink

Basketball cake

What’s coming up in March that everyone loves, especially with some good comfort food to snuggle up with? MARCH MADNESS! March Madness is a phenomenon that grips the national sports psyche from the second week of March through the first week of April. The NCAA tournaments are an American tradition that sends millions of fans into a synchronized frenzy each year. It’s this chaos that gives the tournament its March Madness nickname. March Madness is the concentrated hype of 68 teams vying for college basketball’s biggest prize. It’s the last-second, buzzer-beating baskets, the euphoria of winning to play another day and the agony of losing and going home.

I know when I think of basketball the brownish-orange color of the ball is the first thing that pops into my head, the second being carrot cake! What’s more perfect than basketball and cake…a cake in the shape of a basketball!

Below is MY recipe for an amazing carrot cake that you can cut and ice to look exactly like a basketball.


1 pound carrots, finely grated
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. canola oil
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line two 9″ round cake pans with parchment paper. Whisk together carrots, eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
2. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.
3. Distribute batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely before icing. To remove cake from pan, loosen edges with an offset spatula and discard parchment paper.

2 sticks of unsalted butter (room temperature)
16 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Dash of sea salt
3-4 c. powdered sugar
4-5 drops of orange dye (optional)

1. Place one stick of butter in a small saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until butter is browned, about 5 minutes. Pour into small bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to cool.
2. Once cooled, cream together browned butter, regular butter, and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix.
3. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix well between each addition. After 3 cups, taste to see if additional sugar is necessary.
4. To make the icing orange add 4-5 drops of dye and slowly mix into icing.


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