This past week, my great grandmother (I called her Grandma Grape) passed away. She was 97 and lived a beautiful life- one marked by kindness and joy, wisdom and love. Since her passing, I’ve found myself quietly inspired, desperately wanting a similar kind of grace on my life. Somehow, knowing that it’s possible to live and die as beautifully as she did fills me with so much hope.
I’m sure you know people like this- the ones that make it count. People who use up their lives and time and every last bit of air in their lungs to make the world around them a better place. People that love their families fiercely and spur on their neighbors towards goodness. People that change the atmosphere. These are the ones who leave a legacy worth remembering.
My Sweet Grandma
My sweet Grandma Grape was one of them. Though I won’t see her earthy body any longer, I know I will catch glimpses of her life in the lives of the women who came after her. I see her warmth and benevolence in my beautiful Nana. Her faith and grace in the peacefulness of my Mother. I see her spunk and playfulness in the laughter of my own daughter. The lasting effect of the beauty she created on this earth will continue to make waves throughout generations to come, and it’s a concept so lovely and full of possibility that my heart can’t help but be encouraged.
If you know somebody who is making this kind of a difference, I would challenge you to rise to the occassion and tell them. Give them a call, a hug, or even use this free letter template to write it out with pen. Don’t let the opportunity to be intentional with the people you love pass you by.
I, for one, have a renewed resolve to make it count. I want to be a human worth remembering and to be a person that spends their life on the cause in their heart for the people around them. The glimmer of hope from great grandmother’s legacy tells me that it’s possible… So that’s the new goal.
Carrot Bundt Cake
This carrot bundt cake is right for the times. It feels comforting and familiar- like a cake my grandmother and the women who came before her might have made. And with Easter just around the corner, a cake like this needs no excuse for making.
The recipe for this carrot bundt cake was adapted from Paula Deen, the queen of Southern heirloom recipes herself. This cake has a dense but tender crumb, kept extra moist from the addition of several eggs, oil, and finely grated carrots. Though the warmly flavored cake ordinarily steals the show in similar recipes, here, the brown butter glaze is the star. Nutty, buttery, and just barely sweet enough to make the carrot bundt cake worthy of the title “dessert”, this brown butter glaze is delicious and dangerously tempting to eat straight from a bowl with a spoon. (Update: for help on browning butter, see my post here!)
Making the Cake
The preparation for this bundt cake is rather simple. You’ll need some muscle to peel and grate the carrots, but from there, it’s a one bowl situation that requires nothing more than a mixer and a finger to lick the bowl with. This recipe will prepare enough batter to fill a 10-cup bundt pan, but you can use a larger 15-cup pan like I did with no problem. If you lack a bundt pan large enough, just fill the pans you have no more than 3/4 of the way full and pour remaining batter into additional pans. This recipe will produce enough batter to fill approximately 3-8″ round cake pans, so if you’d prefer to make the cake that way, you certainly can, however, keep in mind that baking time will change.
If you need a soul-comforting recipe to share with people you love, this carrot bundt cake is just the thing. There’s a number of other Easter-worthy recipes in the blog archives, so be sure to check out a few that I’ve bookmarked below. I hope your week is filled with lots of joy, and if you need encouragement to make it through, please contact me via the comments section below or by email on the “About Me” page of this blog. This Sunday is the most hopeful day of my year and I’d love to share it with you. Happy baking and cheers to you!
If you like this carrot bundt cake, you may also like:
Carrot Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Glaze
This carrot bundt cake is a moist and tender cake topped with brown butter glaze and toasted pecans. Serves a crowd and perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 60
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 10
- Category: Dessert
For the cake
- 2 cups sugar (400 gm)
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup oil (240 mL)
- 1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 gm)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 cups finely grated carrots (340 gm, about 1 pound unpeeled)
For the brown butter frosting
- 6 tablespoons (80 gm) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1–1/2 cups (190 gm) powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1–4 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
To prepare the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan with at least 10 cup capacity.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed (I use number 4 setting on my stand mixer) for 2 minutes. Add the flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir just until barely combined. Fold in the carrots. Pour the mixture into the bundt pan. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the pan and then invert on to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely if you want the frosting to drizzle evenly.
To prepare the brown butter frosting
- Add the cubed butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted to ensure that it melts evenly. Once the butter has melted, it will begin to bubble.Continue to stir regularly. Small golden flecks will begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Stir or whisk gently continuously at this point as the butter is beginning to brown. The bubbling should subside at this point and you should notice the butter takes on a golden tint and begins to smell nutty. Do not let it burn, but stir until golden brown and then whisk the mixture into a medium sized bowl to cool slightly.
- Once slightly cooled, about 5 minutes, add the sugar and salt, whisking to slightly combine. Add a tablespoon of milk, and continue to add small amounts until the mixture is the right consistency. I like my glaze a bit thicker so that it drizzles nicely on the sides of the cake. To test for this viscosity, drag your whisk through the mixture- the line in the mixture should come back together almost completely in about ten seconds. Pour the glaze over the cake.
- I like to use a finely grated carrot so that it evenly disperses in the cake and stays extra moist. Do not use store-bought pre-shredded carrots.
- You can also bake this cake in round cake pans (3). Baking time will differ.
- If your brown butter frosting sets out for too long it will start to crust over. Heat for 5-10 seconds in the microwave and whisk to prepare it for the cake again.
- If you burn your butter, pour out and start again! There are great videos on Youtube on browning butter.
- For help on browning butter, see my post here: http://thewoodandspoon.com/you-need-to-know-how-to-brown-butter/
Recipe Adapted From: Paula Deen
27 thoughts on “Carrot Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Glaze”
I followed the directions to a tee, but my cake stuck to the pan in places… Regardless, it tasted great.
Don’t think I’ll make it again… Might use recipe for a regular layered carrot cake, but I’ll use cream cheese frosting next time
Oh sad!! I like to use the Pam baking spray with flour OR a baking spray with a dusting of flour. Bundt pans can be super tricky, but you can totally use this recipe in other pans. 🙂
what a beautiful tribute Kate! you have a beautiful family and you are not only a talented baker but an amazing write , sorry for your loss … I lost my grandfather 3 years ago at the age on 90 we were so close and my heart is still aching thinking of him ,,, my grandmother is still alive , 88 years old healthy and yep a BAKER!
I am going to make this cake tonight as my SIL loves carrot cakes !! my question is can I substitute apple sauce for the oil? and if not which oil are u using ?
thank you for this Sara! I’m so grateful for your kind words!!!
I use canola oil always. you could substitute applesauce but the flavor and texture will change. 🙂
I read through your testimonial of your great grandma through tears and just rejoiced that God has put such special women on this earth who have had that much of an impact on others. It causes me to reflect on the influence that we can have on others, and I want to be that person that leaves a legacy with my family and everyone whose life I am privileged to touch. Thank you for the reminder that our acts of kindness and love can make a difference in those lives.
Thank you for your kind words and encouragement! The legacy of one’s life has such HUGE potential. And praise the Lord for those special humans! 🙂
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I made this today and it was amazing!! I made the mistake of not baking and cooking the nuts before preparing the icing, thus I had to press them all one by one and stick them in the cake! It was worth it though!!
Ha! I’ve done that before- you’re not alone! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake! 🙂
What tool did you use to get finely grated carrots.
Hi Jackie, I used a box grater like this: https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CTG-00-BG-Boxed-Grater/dp/B004YZENBY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1492687560&sr=8-5&keywords=box+grater
Kate, you & your mom continue to bless me with your kindness, grace & serving in love. Keep going with blog blessings with stories & wonderful recipes. Didn’t meet your great grandma, but feel I knew her from knowing you. Love you
You are such an angel. Thank you for the kind words. Miss and love you.
What kind words for your grandmother! I lost mine 4 years ago but her memory still lives on alive in my heart. Stunning photography as well!
Thank you! She was a special lady. 🙂
What tool did you use to finely grate your carrots.
Hi Jackie! I used a box grater like this: https://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-CTG-00-BG-Boxed-Grater/dp/B004YZENBY/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1492687560&sr=8-5&keywords=box+grater . Just be sure to use one of the finer grates.
What a tribute to Grandma Great! I’m so glad you got to meet her and know her and love her, despite the miles between. You are an inspiration to many. Keep up the good work!
She was a very special lady. It’s hard not to entirely adore her.
You are well on your way in exhibiting all of your Grandma Gape’s beautiful qualities. I am sure she delighted in that, and in your precious Aimee. I am so sorry for your loss but rejoice with you! (And I’m going to give this yummy cake a try for sure.)
You are such a dear. I recently told m mom that I wanted to be her when I grew up… but that if I couldn’t be her, I’d take you. 🙂
she sounds like a wonderful woman, especially in the ways that she still influences you and all your loved ones. cake (and sharing food in general) is an amazing way to spread love, so i think you’re well on your way to living out her legacy!
I agree. I think our ability to nurture bodies and souls with food is so beautiful! It’s an honor to be able to do. 🙂
this is so beautiful kate! xo
You ‘re not only a very talented young lady in the kitchen but your flare for expressing yourself is beautiful.
So sorry about Grandma grape. What a lovely lady she was.
Oh hello!! Grandma Grape is far happier now and I’m sure she is delighted being able to see how much we all love her. 🙂 Miss you so!