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.