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Italian Carrot Cake

Italian Carrot Cake (also known as Torta di Carote) is the deliciously moist and orange-scented cousin of the American classic. It is such a simple cake made with carrots, almond flour, and zesty orange.

Italians enjoy this cake for breakfast with a cappuccino and now is your chance to do the same!

Wedge of Italian carrot cake on three stacked white plates.
A carrot cake like no other!

I love making Italian cakes because they only require a handful of ingredients, are super easy to make, and taste delicious. So just like my Italian Lemon Cake, Almond Cake, and Lemon Yogurt Cake, this Italian Carrot Cake regularly appears on our kitchen table. 

It is such a beautifully bright and lightly sweetened cake, that you can easily enjoy this for an Italian-style breakfast. But its lovely orange fragrance makes it special enough to serve for dessert with a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of Mascarpone Cream

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Texture – the addition of oil in this Italian Carrot Cake means it’s perfectly moist and delicately soft. You’ll love every bite!
  • Flavor – a combination of orange juice and orange zest means this cake is beautifully scented with the aromas of sweet citrus. 
  • Simple – this Italian Carrot Cake comes together in no time and with a handful of basic baking ingredients. It means you’ll be making this again and again. If you’re looking for something extravagant, take a look at this Cannoli Cake. It’s a show-stopper!
  • Versatile – enjoy a slice of my Italian Carrot Cake as a snack, dessert, or even breakfast! It’s such a versatile cake that can be served simply or elevated with frosting if you’re entertaining. 

For complete ingredient quantities and full instructions, please scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page.

Ingredients

Ingredients for this recipe as in the recipe card.
  • Carrots – fresh, firm carrots. This isn’t the time to use up those soft ones lurking at the back of the fridge.
  • Orange – you’ll be using the juice and finely grated zest so look for a ripe and juicy orange. 
  • All-purpose flour – also known as regular plain flour.
  • Almond flour – this flour is made from blanched and peeled almonds. It’s fine in texture and light in color, compared to ground almonds which are coarser and darker because the skins are left on the almonds..
  • Granulated white sugar – also known as castor sugar in some countries.
  • Oil – choose an oil that is lightly flavored like safflower, sunflower, or light olive oil. You don’t want to use a strong oil as it will overpower this Italian Carrot Cake.
  • Eggs – my preference is large organic, free range eggs. 
  • Baking powder – this will give the Italian Carrot Cake a lovely lightness. Please ensure your baking powder is fresh, otherwise the cake won’t rise. 

See recipe card for quantities.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease a round cake pan, line the base with parchment paper, and lightly flour the sides.

Before you begin, whisk or sieve the flour, baking powder, and salt. Peel and finely shred the carrots in a food processor or use a fine grater.

Adding oil to a bowl of frothy, creamy mixture using an electric mixer.

Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl until foamy and thickened. Beat in the oil followed by orange juice, and zest.

Stirring grated carrots into frothy, creamy mixture.

Add the carrots and stir to combine.

Stirring flour into orange, thick mixture to make cake batter.

Fold in the almond flour gently and then fold in the flour mixture. 

Pouring cake batter into round cake pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Hint: Let the cake cool for 10 minutes after baking. Then run a knife around the edge of the pan to make sure that the cake isn’t stuck. Place a wire rack over the cake pan and flip the pan so that the wire rack is on the bottom. To invert do the same with another wire rack.

Substitutions

  • Granulated white sugar – swap half of the white sugar for brown sugar for a darker and denser cake with a rich flavor.
  • Almond flour – use another nut flour like walnut for an interesting variation.

Variations

  • Warming spices – add some warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ginger for that classic carrot cake taste.
  • Cream cheese frosting – while not traditional, a classic cream cheese frosting is a delicious way to finish this Italian Carrot Cake.
  • Vanilla – for that sweet bakery flavor, add a few drops of vanilla extract to this cake batter. 

Equipment

You’ll need a 9-inch (or approximately 22 cm) round cake pan, a blender, food processor or fine grater, and basic kitchen utensils to make my delicious Italian Carrot Cake. 

Storage

This cake will keep well in an airtight container for up to three days. If the weather is warm, store it in the fridge.

Leftovers can also be frozen in slices, wrap each slice well in plastic wrap. Freezing can dry the cake out but it will still be delicious!

Top tip

Overhead view of a cake dusted with powdered sugar.
  • This is a simple cake to make, however, it is important to fold in the all-purpose flour and almond flour carefully and thoroughly but lightly. Use a spatula to mix from the bottom up to the top and repeat until thoroughly combined. 
  • Be sure to use a neutral oil like sunflower, light extra virgin, or safflower oil. 
  • All ovens differ slightly. Keep an eye on the cake. It may take more or less time to be cooked through. Take care not to overcook it. It should be moist.
  • I love serving this cake by dusting it with powdered sugar once it’s cooled. But if you want to serve this more as a dessert, add a dollop of my Mascarpone Cream

FAQ

How does the Italian Torta di Carote differ from the American carrot cake?

Italian Carrot Cake (also known as Torta di Carote) is less sweet than an American carrot cake. It also doesn’t contain spices, nuts, and dried fruit, instead, Torta di Carote is flavored simply with a little sugar and orange juice. Plus it’s a little denser and more moist than an American carrot. 

How can I make icing for a carrot cake without cream cheese?

While it’s traditional to serve Italian Carrot Cake with just a dusting of powdered sugar, you may like to use my Mascarpone Cream as an alternative frosting to cream cheese. It still has a lovely light tang and it’s beautifully creamy. 

Why is there no butter in a carrot cake?

There is no butter in my Italian Carrot Cake because oil is used instead. A lightly flavored oil makes this cake perfectly moist without the need for butter. 

Serving Suggestions

Close up of a wedge of orange colored cake.

I love serving this Italian Carrot Cake as part of an afternoon tea along with my Vanilla Muffins or my Chocolate Cake with Caramel

Made this recipe?
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Close up of a wedge of orange colored cake.

Italian Carrot Cake Recipe

This Italian Carrot Cake is soft, slightly dense, and perfectly moist. A cousin to the American carrot cake, this cake glows like sunshine and is lightly scented with orange.
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Cooling: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings:12
Author: Marcellina

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups plain all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (100 grams) almond flour
  • 2 medium (250 grams) carrots
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup (120 mls) oil (lightly flavored like safflower, sunflower, light olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • cup (80 mls) orange juice
  • Finely grated zest of one orange
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Grease 9 inch/22.5 cm round cake pan with oil, butter or cooking spray. Line the base with parchment paper and lightly flour the sides.
  • Sieve or whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • Peel and finely shred the carrots. This can be done in a food processor or blender or fine grater. Set aside
  • Beat the eggs and the sugar until foamy and thickened
  • Beat in the zest and juice of the orange and oil and mix quickly.
  • Add the carrots and stir to combine.
  • Fold in the almond flour gently followed by the flour mixture, mixing from the bottom up to the top.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake 40-45 minutes until the cake is slightly coming away from the sides and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely
  • Dust with powdered sugar to serve or top with mascarpone cream.

Notes

Tips for Success
  • One orange will usually have the required amount of orange juice for this recipe. If not, just top up the juice with water to reach the amount needed (ie one-third of a cup).
  • Use a light-flavored oil.
  • When mixing in the flour, use a gentle motion to ensure a tender cake.
  • All ovens vary. Your oven may be hotter or cooler. Therefore baking time will vary according to your oven.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 1329IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

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15 Comments

  1. love,Love, Love it’s simple and tastes great. being diabetic 2 I’m careful about anything w/sugar. but this is not overly sweet. I love the brightness of the orange. I am portioned, wrapping in saran, foil and put in a container in my freezer. Thank you for all your great Italian recipes.

    1. I forgot to mention it cooked up 13 minutes sooner. so depending on your oven check by 35 minutes or so.

      1. That’s a good point, Debby. Ovens vary so much that you really should keep an eye on the cake or cookies when baking a recipe for the first time.

  2. Hi
    question, the ingredient list has almond flour and the steps list mix in the almonds . . I don’t see almonds in the ingredient list. Is this an oopsie? I want to make this for Easter Sunday.

    Thanks

    1. Missie, it’s all almond flour. Yes, I was testing grinding almonds verses almond flour but almond flour works just as well and is easier. I didn’t change that in the steps… it should read “almond flour” not almonds. Thanks for picking that up. I’ll fix it now.

      1. Oh thank you Marcellina! LOL
        I’m so excited to make this. while I now don’t get to make it for Easter, I am making two of them; one for a co-workers birthday and another for a class on Monday.

  3. Hi Marcellina,
    would like to know if this carrot cake is nice without the cream cheese frosting or would it be too plain?
    thanks, Rashmi

    1. Rashmi, this is a tasty Italian version of carrot cake and it is still wonderful without the cream cheese frosting. The hint of orange and almonds really add a delicious flavor plus it’s a nicely moist cake.