Upside Down Olive Oil-Apricot-Carrot Cake Recipe



Upside Down Olive Oil Apricot Carrot CakeAre you bringing a dessert to your Thanksgiving soirée?

This carrot cake will be perfect!  It’s quick, easy, super yummy, and beautiful!  Pretty and fun — and just light enough to be a delightful finale to your Thanksgiving turkey and side dishes.

While my usual preferred dessert fare features chocolate or Nutella, I love to mix fruits and vegetables (yes, vegetables) with spices to turn them into sweet, unique desserts, too.

Upside Down Olive Oil Apricot Carrot CakeCardamom and cinnamon are wonderful, warming spices — perfect with the roaring fire I plan to have in the fireplace on Thanksgiving!

One of the things I love about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it always seems to carry into the weekend — a weekend full of family, friends, leftovers — and maybe a carrot cake!

I’m just wondering: is there ever not room for dessert?  Sometimes just one bite of sweetness will do!

Upside Down Olive Oil Apricot-Carrot Cake Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12
For the topping:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup apricot jam
  • 2 to 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into super thin rounds
For the cake:
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/4 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
For the spiced whipped cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the butter to a 9 X 2-inch cake pan and put the pan in the oven (even if it's not preheated yet). Remove the pan as soon as the butter has melted, about 2 minutes. Use a pastry brush to spread the butter evenly around the bottom and sides of the pan. (There will be more on the bottom than the sides -- that's perfect.)
  3. Now add the apricot jam to the pan. Again, place the pan in the oven -- only long enough to melt the jam, about a minute or so. Then use the pastry brush to evenly spread it just on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Arrange the carrot slices on top of the jam. The more slices the better because they will shrink during the baking process. (In the above image, I only did one layer -- I'd suggest adding a second layer on top, over the crevices between the slices -- I will next time!) Set this aside.
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the sugar with the olive oil, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt. Mix the egg in until it's fully incorporated and then fold in the shredded carrots.
  6. Sift in the flour along with the baking powder and baking soda. Mix only until the flour has blended in and then pour the batter directly on top of the carrot slices in the cake pan.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven just until the cake has solidified and is beginning to crack, about 30 minutes. (You can stick a toothpick in the center of the cake and if it comes out clean -- it's ready.)
  8. While the cake is baking, use an electric mixer or a whisk to whip the cream with the sugar and spices until you have soft peaks.
  9. Let the cake sit out of the oven for at least 5 minutes. Then invert it directly onto a serving platter. Let it sit at least 20 minutes before cutting. Add a dollop of the spiced whipped cream to each slice as you serve.
I think this cake is pretty and unique with the carrot slices on top -- however, to save time (without losing any deliciousness), you can just pour the batter in a buttered pan and serve with the whipped cream.

You could also make super yummy carrot muffins . . . simply butter your muffing tins and add the batter about ¾ the way up. The baking time will be a bit shorter.




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  1. mary jo frazier says

    Made my cornbread last night in a skillet . Had to taste it just to be sure it was perfect. And, it was! My house is kosher so I had to skip the bacon, but the jalapeno peppers gave it a wonderful flavor. Happy Thanksgiving, chef. Looking forward to the next year trying your wonderful ideas!

  2. Faye Levy says

    I found you through Adventures with Nancy Rose. Lovely, creative cake – sounds delicious! When you eat it without the whipped cream, do you miss it?

  3. Faye Levy says

    I have no doubt that it’s more luxurious with the whipped cream, and I like the way you used the spices in the cream to match those in the cake. The reason for my question is that the carrot cake, with olive oil and only a modest amount of butter, gives the feeling of being fairly healthy as desserts go.
    From the ingredient quantities, it seems like the portions must be quite small if the cake serves 12, so maybe a smaller amount of whipped cream would suffice; or perhaps some Greek yogurt flavored with the same spices?
    Just curious–what was the inspiration for your cake?

    • valentina says

      Hi Faye, I’d seen a beautiful picture of an upside down apricot cake and decided it would be fun and interesting to replace the apricot slices with carrot slices. . . and I love using olive oil in baked goods whenever I think the flavor works. Yes, the yogurt would be divine, too! 🙂

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