Carrot and Chai Masala Cake with Pistachio Cream Cheese Frosting

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Carrot and Chai Masala Cake with Pistachio Cream Cheese Frosting


Serving carrot cake is a classic Easter move. But what if the classic got an Indian twist?


Carrot cake with an Indian twist?

My version puts homemade chai masala in the cake batter, and the frosting turns an ever-so-slight pale green with the nutty addition of ground pistachios. Since carrots are in abundance right now, this Carrot and Chai Masala Cake with Pistachio Cream Cheese Frosting would be a great dessert to make anytime this spring. 

carrot and chai masala cake

Heirloom Carrots

I adore the heirloom carrots that come in various shades of orange, yellow, white and purple. They vary slightly in taste, but mostly they look pretty on a platter, especially in a simple roasted preparation with olive oil, salt and pepper, and some everyday spices. With their naturally sweet flavor, carrots are delicious in sweet and savory preparations. 


In India, carrots are enjoyed in the form of carrot halwa, a spiced carrot pudding. There’s no baking involved: Grated carrots, sugar, whole milk, spices, ghee, nuts and raisins are slowly cooked in a pot on the stove. This irresistible dessert — one of my favorites — can be found at many Indian restaurants, but truly, homemade is the best. 

carrot and chai masala cake

How did Carrot Cake originate?

When carrots are in season, they’re innately super sweet, which helps cut down the sugar in the end product. That’s why carrot cake likely originated: Since sugar was a costly commodity in medieval times, it’s believed carrots were used to make puddings. Those custardy carrot puddings eventually evolved to baked carrot cakes.


Ingredients of this carrot cake

The ingredients of this carrot cake are:

  • All purpose flour
    • Baking powder and baking soda: Leavening agents to make the carrot cake fluffy and risen.
    • Salt: Always to balance out the sweetness.
    • Chai Masala: My homemade chai masala is truly one of my favorites, and I hope you try it too!
    • Vegetable oil or neutral oil: Makes the cake super moist
    • Greek yogurt: This adds tanginess and adds moistness to the cake
    • Eggs: Bind the whole cake together
    • Vanilla: All my baked goods always have a dash of vanilla. I use vanilla paste, but you can use vanilla extract
  • Grated carrots
  • Pistachios: Add a lovely bite to this cake

carrot and chai masala cake

The classic carrot cake usually has spices like cinnamon or ginger. Chai masala is one of my favorite spice blends, made with freshly ground cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, fennel and ginger. (You might already have a jar in your pantry if you tried my Pumpkin Chai Latte recipe.) 


These spices add a wonderful flavor and aroma to carrot cake. Along with a neutral oil, Greek yogurt and of course the freshly grated carrots, the cake turns out earthy, very spongy and melt-in-your-mouth moist. Raw pistachios balance out the spice. 


I bake this in an 8×8 cake pan, so it makes for 9 or 16 pieces depending upon how big or small you want them to be.


Pistachio cream cheese frosting

The frosting is a classic cream cheese frosting that gets a nutty twist with ground pistachios. If you want to make sure the frosting gets a pretty, pale-green tinge, be sure to add bright green pistachios, usually available at a Middle Eastern store or online. 


The best part is that the cake comes together within half a day.


How to add a fun decoration to the simple and easy carrot cake?

If you want to make this cake extra fun and visually interesting, you can decorate it with frosting that looks like heirloom carrots on top. Remove a bit of the cream cheese frosting, place some into two small bowls, dye them with orange and red food coloring, add them to separate Ziploc bags (no fancy pastry bags or tips are required) and pipe tiny carrots on the cake. 


For a final touch, add a small rosemary sprig on the top of each carrot. Now it’s really perfect for your Easter table.


I have an eggless carrot cake sheet cake recipe for anyone who cannot eat eggs or has egg allergies as well. It is linked here.


Have a wonderful Easter, and hope you all are enjoying the beautiful Spring weather.





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