Carrot Tea Cake with Oat Crumb Topping

carrot tea cake

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This tea cake is so delicious that I made another one three days after making the first one, and the only reason I waited so long is because we were away for the weekend.

The cake itself is warm with spices, and the topping adds a crunchy sweetness to every bite. It’s a magical combination. Hard to believe it starts out with something as mundane as a cup of shredded carrots.

shredded carrots

Lucky for me, Dave bought me some ginormous carrots, so it only took one of them to get a full cup. Using half a dozen narrow pointy ones is extremely tedious.

Once that was done, I got the dry ingredients together. Instead of all purpose flour, I used a combination of whole wheat white and wheat germ. I added baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon (1 1/2 teaspoons instead of just 1/2), nutmeg, and a quarter teaspoon of ginger (not in the original recipe, but it’s hard to go wrong adding ginger to carrots, unless you’re my friend Scratchy, who simply hates ginger).

dry ingredients

I whisked. I always whisk.

dy ingredients, whisked

I made the crumb topping next. Oats, flour, brown sugar, and a little melted butter to keep it all together.

oat crumb topping

I moved to the stand mixer. (It’s my beautiful new Kitchen Aid, red and glorious.)  Instead of a half cup of butter, I used half butter and half low fat vanilla yogurt, then added some dark brown sugar and set the mixer to low, increasing the speed as the ingredients started blending together.

butter, yogurt, and dark brown sugar

butter, yogurt, and dark brown sugar

butter, yogurt, and dark brown sugar

I added vanilla bean paste and an egg.

adding egg and vanilla

I beat that in, added the second egg, and beat again. In went the carrots, around and around went the paddle.

adding carrots

I added the flour in small batches, beating on low speed just until incorporated.

adding flour


I poured the batter into a loaf pan, and sprinkled the oat crumb topping across it as evenly as I could. This is not an area in which I excel, but I gave it my best shot.

batter in pan

batter in pan with topping

The recipe said to bake for 40-45 minutes, but mine was done perfectly at 35. (I’ve made it twice now and both times it was done right at 35 minutes.) . I let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flipped it over, trying to retain as much of the topping as possible, and watched it cool on the rack, drooling. It smelled fantastic, warm and enticing.

carrot tea cake baked in pan

carrot tea cake cooling on rack

I held out as long as I could, then tasted.


You’d think a carrot tea bread wouldn’t be that exciting, but it is. It’s moist and filling and sweet and spicy at the same time, cakey and decadent-tasting despite the lack of decadence. The topping takes it to the next level, bringing just the right touch of sweetness with a lovely soft crunch. It was a brilliant idea, that oat crumb topping. I salute you and your topping, blogger Susan! Someone I work with who also bakes said it might be the best thing I’ve brought in yet.

I think I have to make another one this weekend.

carrot tea cake

slice of carrot tea cake


My version of Carrot Tea Cake With Oat Crumb Topping (adapted from Sua Sponte Life)


2/3 + 1/4 cup whole wheat white flour
1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/8 – 1/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 cup packed grated carrots

1/4 cup oats
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons whole wheat white flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar


Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray or grease & flour a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Prepare the oat topping by mixing together the oats, melted butter, flour, and brown sugar. Stir well; it should be crumbly but still hold together somewhat.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter, yogurt, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla. Next, beat in the carrots. Add the flour mixture incrementally, beating on low speed, stopping as soon as it’s fully incorporated. (Might be best to finish by hand.)

Pour the batter into the pan, and sprinkle the oat topping until you’ve used every oaty crumb of it.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it sit in the pan for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack.

Try really hard not to eat the whole thing in one day, if you can. Or don’t!

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