Carrot Orange Tea Cake

Tea breads are one of the simplest things to make at home, and one of the nicest things to have at hand for lazy weekend breakfasts or afternoon snacks. Here, we pair carrot with orange zest for some summery brightness, then finish it off with an optional (but too good to pass up) cream cheese frosting. Dig in!

Like carrot cake, carrot bread has always brought a unique style of – negotiation – to the table. Half dessert, half vegetable side dish, this satisfying but befuddling pairing builds a bridge between two dramatically distinct food categories, then leaves us stranded in the middle, wondering which set of rules dictate its consumption: Eat with abandon, like a vegetable, or restraint, like a dessert?

Not that the debate makes any difference; the truth is, you will eat at least one more bite than you should (and hopefully many more) – and you'll never regret it. Here, we pair our vitamin-rich carrots with zesty citrus peel, and keep the sweetness in check with granulated nectar's low-glycemic attributes. Then, we blow all our best intentions with cinnamon cream cheese frosting (because if God didn't intend for carrots to be paired with frosting, he would have made them broccoli). Enjoy!

Carrot Orange Tea Cake

For the loaf:

2 cups grated carrot

Zest of 1 orange

3/4 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup granulated coconut nectar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup raisins

For the frosting:

2 - 8 oz packages cream cheese

3/4 cup granulated coconut nectar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp milk


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, mix grated carrots, orange zest, oil, granulated nectar, eggs and vanilla until combined. In a smaller bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt until combined. In two batches, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring just until combined.  

3. Add mixture to greased  loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

4. While bread is cooling, add all ingredients for frosting to the bowl of a standing mixer. Combine on low speed for 1 minute, then scrape down the sides. Increase speed to medium high and beat for 4-5 minutes. Frost top of cooled loaf with a spatula or frosting bag & tip of your choosing.

Hazelnut Chocolate Butter (Homemade Nutella)

Fresh hazelnuts, dark chocolate, sea salt and granulated coconut flower nectar combine in a decadent nut butter that nods to everyone's favorite Italian spread (before swiftly dethroning it).

Chocolate. Hazelnuts. A touch of vanilla and almond extract to keep it interesting, coconut sugar for some extra depth and warmth, and a dash of salt. Oh yeah, and a good blender. That's all you need for this indescribably delicious nut butter, which thoroughly outdoes Nutella in both flavor and ingredient quality.

Here, we replace the unsustainable palm oil and refined sugar with sustainable, low-glycemic coconut sugar and MCT-rich coconut oil, then pack in as much flavor as possible with roasted Italian hazelnuts and unsweetened cocoa powder of the best quality. The result is almost confusingly incredible - because who really thought Nutella could get better?

If you're roasting your own hazelnuts, just spread them on a cookie sheet and pop in a 350F oven for 10-15 minutes, watching closely so they don't burn. If you're picky about removing the skins, these steps from the good folks at Epicurious will help you, but getting them all off is really not important (and kind of impossible). Just do the best you can, then drop them in the blender.

Lastly, we added a bit of almond extract because we love how the two flavors interact, but it's not necessary nor traditional. You can take it out entirely, or layer in your own flavors with orange zest, raspberry extract, or anything else that plays well with chocolate and hazelnuts. Just have fun with it (and speaking of fun, pairing your Nutella with bananas and this simple crepes recipe will make your day). Happy blending!

Homemade Nutella

1 cup toasted hazelnuts 

3 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp salt

1. Place all ingredients in the bottom of a good quality blender or food processor.

2. On medium-low speed, begin processing ingredients until they come together. You may need to stop blending to scrape down the sides a few times. Once the mixture is well combined and the mixture is beginning to liquify (the hazelnuts will be about the size of large grains of sand) , turn the blender or processor up to high, and process until very smooth.

3. Scrape nut butter into a small container and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.