Toast These Ingredients For An Elevated Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is delicious. Everyone has their own tips and tricks but the extra step you should be doing is toasting your pecans and coconut before adding to your cake batter. Toasting activates the aromatic oils in the coconut and pecans and makes them crunchier, adding some texture and flavor to your carrot cake.

Toasting the coconut flakes will make enhance the nutty, sweet flavors. You can toast your coconut in a preheated oven at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the flakes in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast, occasionally stirring, for five minutes and up to 10. Keep a watchful eye; it'll go from toasty brown to burnt fast. The coconut needs to come off the hot baking sheet immediately – beware of carry-over cooking – so spread it to cool on a new baking sheet, or in a shallow bowl. You can even make some extra to decorate your cake after frosting.

Pecans are already sweet and buttery on their own, but toasting them will make their flavor pop. Toast the pecans whole and then chop once cool to ensure even toasting. You can toast them in the oven or on the stovetop. In the oven, spread pecans evenly on a baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 10 minutes, giving the nuts a toss halfway through. On the stove, use a stainless steel pan and cook over medium heat. Toss frequently to prevent burning and to encourage even color and toasting.

Carrot cake is a great canvas for experimenting with spice

To ensure you have an excellent carrot cake – one of the most popular desserts in the '70s - there are a few tips and tricks you can use, even if you forgo the coconut and pecan toasting. If you're short on time or are feeling a bit lazy and don't want to shred all those carrots or wash all those food processor components, try adding carrot baby food to your cake batter. Seriously. It's an unusual ingredient to add to your carrot cake, but it can replace shredding all those carrots while still ensuring a moist cake, so win-win.

Don't be afraid of spice! Carrot cake is essentially a spice cake, so load it up with yummy, warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. You can even experiment with spices and use some cardamom, which will add a complex mix of piney and floral notes, or chai spiced carrot cake. Go the extra mile and toast and grind your own spices, or grate some fresh ginger into the batter. Just be careful with mix-ins, especially when the recipe doesn't call for them. Wet ingredients like canned pineapple will make an already-moist cake a sopping mess, and dried ingredients like raisins or craisins will soak up some of the moisture and change the texture of your cake.

Carrot cakes are tolerant of many different add-ins, so don't be shy. Experiment with different flavors, methods, and spices.