Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Cake

Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Cake

A bunch of years ago, about 10, I think, I was a regular in a news and travel website about the Dominican Republic. Through the forum I got in touch with somebody who also lived in Santo Domingo and who, coincidentally, picked up her groceries every week at a business very close to where I was living at the time. We decided to get in touch and have coffee, and we hit it off right away.

That’s how I met “Aunt” Ilana.


A couple of coffees later, and we realized that despite a world of differences in our upbringing, culture, etc., we had a lot in common. We were both mostly-vegetarian, tree-huggers, had similar ideas on social issues and, most importantly, we both loved food.

Soon, along with our friend Himilce – also a food writer, we became “the ladies who lunch”, and got together often just to shoot the breeze.

I invited Ilana to join me as Aunt Clara’s Kitchen editor, and she surprised me by saying “yes”. I guess she was tired of cringing at my grammar.

Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Cake

Not surprisingly, my pregnancy a couple of years later revealed that we had a lot of ideas in common about child-rearing. Ilana was often my go-to source on how to navigate the perils of motherhood. She gave me a bunch of books on children’s health, food, and she was the most supportive person around me when my husband and I resolved that we would raise a multilingual child. We both laughed at the naysayers, and those who predicted that all kinds of bad things would befall my child because of this.

She understood where I was going when I refused to attach gender roles to my then-baby: Pink was just another color, girls can play with toy fire engines, and I am not dooming my child by not piercing her ears. Luckily my mom and sister were very supportive too, although probably a bit baffled.

Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Cake

This weekend Ilana came over for tea and carrot cake. Now we talk about other things (like how we seem to be getting old for no reason whatsoever). And while my husband complained that this cake needed more sugar, Ilana agreed with me that it was just fine.

We are in-tune like that.

Carrot, Ginger and Coconut Cake

Am I ever lucky that — in this adventure of blog-making — I found the perfect partner: friend, mentor, neighbor, fellow cake-lover. One who has taught me so much.

I think that by now we could finish each other’s sentences… if Ilana wasn’t so painfully polite as to never interrupt somebody.

Aunt Clara
Carrot, ginger and coconut cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Anything can be made better with coconut and ginger, two of my favorite ingredients. Try them in this re-invention of the classic carrot cake.
Serves: 6-8 servings
For decorating
  • ⅓ cup of grated coconut for decoration
  • ⅓ cup of powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon of coconut milk
For cake
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoon of ginger powder
  • 1½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of brown cane sugar
  • ¼ cup of neutral-flavored vegetable oil (like canola or corn)
  • 1½ cup of grated carrot (see notes)
  • 1 cup of coarsely-grated coconut
  • Oil spray for mold
  1. Heat oven to 300 ºF [150 ºC].
  2. Place the coconut for decoration in a baking tray and bake until it turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool down to room temperature. Reserve.
For cake
  1. Whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Reserve.
  2. Beat eggs and brown sugar over medium speed until the mixture is a paler color.
  3. Pour the oil into the mixture while still beating.
  4. Add the flour mixture and whisk until mixed well.
  5. Fold in coconut and carrot using a spatula.
  6. Spray with oil a small (4-6 cups) bundt cake mold.
  7. Pour the batter into the mold and bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
For decorating
  1. Mix the powdered sugar with the vanilla extract and coconut milk. It should be very thick but pourable. Add a few more drops of coconut milk if needed.
  2. Pour this mix on the cake, top with the toasted coconut.
  3. Serve at room temperature.
How finely your carrot is grated will change the texture of the cake. Finely-grated carrot will produce a denser, chewier cake, a coarsely-grated carrot will yield a looser cake.
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{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Seed March 22, 2013, 5:55 PM

    I made this last night and OH MY was it delicious!! Everybody is getting this whenever I need to bring something to a party for the next year! So moist and flavorful. The only tweaks I did were using my own fresh ginger root that I grated, about a tablespoon in place of the powder. I also did the 1/2 cup brown sugar plus a special little “pinch” for good measure. Not sure it needed it though! And for the icing I ended up using several 1/2 teaspoons of coconut milk to get the proper consistency. I used four individual bundt pans and it was the perfect amount of batter. They were so pretty I wanted to take a picture….”were” being the operative word here 😉 Thanks so much! Blessings!

    • Lora May 1, 2013, 9:34 PM

      I would love to make this for my book club Fridya but I was wondering about the 2 tablespoons of ginger powder (which I am assuming is the same as ground ginger). That sounds like a lot. Usually when I bake with ginger recipe calls for 1 tsp at most. Is this a typo?

      • Aunt Clara May 1, 2013, 10:39 PM

        Ginger powder is nowhere near as spicy as fresh ground ginger, and yes, you need two tablespoons of powder to get it to taste “gingery”.

  • Maria2 March 16, 2013, 10:50 PM

    That looks so good. I need to make it.

  • Laurel February 23, 2013, 8:57 AM

    This cake looks amazing. Just wondering, is this a Dominican recipe? My daughter wants to bring in something Dominican to share with her class, during her presentation on the Dominican Republic.

    • Aunt Clara February 23, 2013, 10:36 AM

      Not, this is one I created. You can tell which are traditional Dominican dishes because they also have their Spanish name.

  • Suzanne Perazzini February 9, 2013, 6:33 PM

    I agree that ginger and coconut make anything taste better.
    You are so lucky to have a friend you are so in tune with. I remember some famous man saying that all we need in the world is one good friend.

  • Julia February 9, 2013, 12:08 AM

    Great friends with common ground are so important in life! And a cake like this is perfect for sharing with a valuable friend or family. This cake looks awesome and you’re right – everything is better with ginger and coconut! :)

  • Emma February 8, 2013, 11:24 PM

    Holy moly! I want to lick the icing on that cake. Beautiful pictures.

  • marcie @ flavor the moments February 8, 2013, 11:08 PM

    This cake just oozes with appeal! I can taste the creamy frosting, crunchy coconut, and spicy warmth in the cake. Can you tell I love carrot cake? I love ginger too. I’ve got this one pinned!

  • Corey February 8, 2013, 8:38 PM

    What a beautiful post and pictures. Your friendship shines through.