Carrot Cake "Brownies"

Hands On Time30 Mins
Total Time: 1 Hour
Yield: Serves 9

Inspired by the classic springtime confection, these Carrot Cake “Brownies” are the perfect treat to whip up for Easter. And, unlike a traditional multi-layered carrot cake, this recipe doesn’t require multiple bowls and mixing machinery; in fact, the batter comes together fairly effortlessly in a single saucepan. Beyond being approachable for bakers of any skill level, these blondies (i.e. brownies without chocolate) are infinitely adaptable. For example, we call for rice flour here—because rice flour does an exceptionally good job of absorbing excess moisture that comes with incorporating fresh carrot into the batter—however, if you would prefer to use all-purpose flour, go for it. Your blondies will simply have a slightly softer consistency. If you’d rather use butter over coconut oil, that’s absolutely OK. Have a bag of almonds in your freezer but no walnuts? No problem, use what you have! To get more details on how to make substitutions in this recipe, be sure to read this article on why we love Carrot Cake Brownies so much. Note: The Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting is also optional, as the blondies are decadent and delicious even without it, but it does provide a delightfully bright, tangy balance to the dense, sweet cookie bars. 


For the “Brownies”

  • 1 1/2cups rice flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2cup grated carrot (about 1 large carrot, peeled and trimmed)
  • 1/4cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted

Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 6ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2teaspoon fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1/4teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (optional)
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted (optional)

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan, and line with parchment paper, allowing 1 inch of paper to hang over sides of pan. Grease the parchment paper.

Step 2

Spread the rice flour in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper; transfer to oven. Bake until toasty, 8-10 minutes.

Step 3

Melt the coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar to pan; whisk to combine. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.

Step 4

Using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, gently squeeze excess liquid from the grated carrots. (It’s best to do this over the kitchen sink or a large bowl to catch the liquid.) Stir the carrots and golden raisins (if using) into the brown sugar mixture. Whisk the vanilla and eggs into the brown sugar mixture, stirring until thoroughly combined; the mixture should appear shiny and emulsified. Stir in the flour, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Then, stir in the toasted walnut pieces. 

Step 5

Spread the batter evenly into prepared pan. Bake at 350ºF for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the pan tests clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Once cool, spread Lemony Cream Cheese Frosting evenly over top and sprinkle with nuts, if desired. 

Step 6

To prepare the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl; beat until fluffy. Add the sugar, zest, and salt to bowl; beat until combined and smooth. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled blondies; sprinkle with toasted coconut and walnuts, if desired. Cut into 9 even squares and serve. 

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