A soft carrot cake made with almond flour and orange zest, this almond carrot cake is a favourite breakfast or mid-morning snack. Inspired by Italian carrot cake, this cake is soft and moist and combines the flavours of carrots, almonds and orange.
What’s best than enjoying a childhood favourite? Having it homemade! Homemade is always best, and this rings true also when it comes to childhood favourites. This almond carrot cake is inspired by a snack my mom used to pack me for school known as Camille. But this recipe is 100% made from scratch.
Having a sweet breakfast is very common in Italy, so it should come as no surprise that children often get a sweet snack to take to school. This has also been true all of my school years. Apart from the few times my mom packed me saltine crackers and a fruit juice, my mid-morning snacks most often consisted of soft cakes.
In fact, Italian supermarkets carry a huge selection of packaged cake portions and single-serve pastries that go by the name of merendine. The name simply means “small snacks” and they are a very popular item to pack into your kids’ school bags.
One of my favourite merendine was Camille. Small round carrot cakes made with almond flour and a hint of orange. This is the recipe to replicate these sweets as a cake. In Italian this is known as Camilla cake – Italian-style almond carrot cake.
Almond carrot cake ingredients
This is what you will need to make Camilla cake from scratch:
- Almond meal
- Powdered sugar
- Orange (juice and zest)
- Vegetable oil
- Corn starch
- Baking powder
- Vanilla extract
- Sliced almonds
- A pinch of salt.
For exact amounts and proportions please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Read on for step by step instructions and process shots of the recipe.
How to make almond carrot cake
- Peel and roughly chop the carrots. Add them to a food processor and blitz a few seconds until they get to a coarse mince. Zest and juice the orange. Start the food processor again and pour in the oil and orange juice. Keep blitzing until the mixture becomes creamy and rather smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Combine the eggs, powdered sugar, vanilla and orange zest in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer 2-3 minutes at medium speed, until light and fluffy. Add the almond meal and carrot purée and start the mixer again. Mix until incorporated and homogeneous.
- Combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder and salt and sift into egg mixture. Mix at low speed until incorporated. Set the mixer aside.
- Transfer the batter to a cake pan lined with baking paper. Top with sliced almonds all over. Bake in the pre-heated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Serving & storing
Let the cake come to room temperature in the pan, then gently run a spatula around the sides before removing the cake. Dust the cake with some powder sugar on the top. You can also add some extra orange zest on top just before serving.
This cake pairs very well with a cup of Earl Grey tea, or any other black tea with a hint of citrus. Try also this sage herbal tea with lemon zest.
The almond carrot cake keeps at room temperature for up to two days. After that it’s best to store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Always remember to store it in an airtight container in order to prevent it from drying.
This cake freezes well. If you know you won’t be able to eat it within the next 5 days, freeze it when fresh and enjoy it at a later time. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. You may need to dust it with fresh powdered sugar after thawing.
This recipe is an adaptation of this Camilla cake recipe (in Italian).
You may also like
If you have enjoyed this Italian carrot cake and you’re still on a baking spree, you may want to try:
- Blueberry tart – this recipe is easy to make entirely vegan and is the best way to use up blueberries.
- Lemon lavender cake loaf – a simple loaf cake with an irresistible flavour combination.
- Small tiramisu cake – an Italian classic revisited as a layer cake that serves 2-4 people.
- Strawberry rhubarb crisp – an easy maple oat crisp that tastes like summer.
Let me know in the comments what you thought of my childhood favourite carrot cake snack. If you can’t quite make this cake right now, pin it for later:
Almond carrot cake with orange
- 200 g carrots peeled and chopped
- 200 g powdered sugar
- 3 eggs room temperature
- 100 g almond meal
- 1 orange zested and juiced
- 100 ml vegetable oil
- 150 g flour
- 50 g corn starch
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- a pinch of salt
- Zest and juice the orange. Measure 80 ml of juice (1/3 cup), which is the quantity needed for one standard batch.
- Add the carrots to a food processor and blitz until coarsely minced. With the blades still rotating pour in the oil and orange juice and keep mixing until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes.
- In a bowl combine the eggs, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and the zest from half the orange. Beat with a hand mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Pour in the carrot purée and the almond meal and start the mixer again, beat until incorporated.
- Combine the flour, corn starch, baking powder and salt and sift into the batter. Start the mixer at low speed and mix until homogeneous.
- Transfer the batter to a springform pan lined with baking paper. Sprinkle sliced almonds all over the top of the batter.
- Bake in the preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let the cake come to room temperature inside the pan, then remove it from it. Top with a dusting of powdered sugar and a sprinkle of orange zest.