Something about this time of year with the warmer weather, flowers pushing their way out of the ground and birds singing in the trees makes me want to pull out my pans and whip up a loaf of quick bread. I have some delicious recipes on my site; this sourdough zucchini bread, gingerbread snack cake and this delicious applesauce bread, not to mention some favorite muffin recipes. But springtime and Easter season have me eyeing carrots and dreaming about a nice slice of carrot bread. Last year I made these carrot cake muffins for our Easter dessert. This year, I decided to mix in some of my sourdough discard to make a loaf of carrot cake bread and let me tell you, it is delicious!Jump to Sourdough Carrot Cake Loaf Recipe
Shredding the Carrots
One of the biggest tips about this carrot cake: please do not use the shortcut of “pre-shredded” carrots at the grocery store. I have made this mistake before and the bread just doesn’t have the same texture. Pre-shredded carrots get all crunchy and don’t melt into the bread like freshly-shredded carrots do. The best carrots for this recipe are traditional, large and long carrots. You can also use baby carrots in a pinch. Shred your own carrots, please! I use a food processor (affiliate link) to make quick work of the carrots, but you could also use a cheese grater for good results. The carrots melt into the quick bread, giving it beautiful pops of orange and delicious flavor.
Not all sourdough discard is created equal. Some discard might have been sitting around in your fridge for a week or two and some is only a day or two old. I prefer to use a “young” discard because it isn’t quite as strong as an older discard. I like a light sourdough flavor instead of a strong flavor in my carrot loaf. You can use what you prefer. I typically use a 100% hydration sourdough discard–equal weights of water and flour mixed with the starter. If your discard is maintained at a different hydration you may need a splash of milk for a thicker discard or a little extra flour for a thinner discard.
Mixing the Loaf
Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you off. This bread is super quick and will come together in just a few minutes. The hardest part is shredding up the carrots (and that isn’t very hard). Whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl with the spices. Add the carrots and mix until the carrots are lightly floured. To a liquid measuring cup (affiliate link…I use it almost daily and it’s my favorite), mix together the sourdough discard, vegetable oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
One of my favorite tips when baking quick breads is to keep the heat high for the first few minutes of baking and then reduce the temperature. This activates the rising agents and gives the bread a nicely domed top. I also like using a 9 by 5 pan (affiliate link) for this bread, though it would probably work in an 8.5 by 4.5 pan too (just be careful not to overfill it).
Cream Cheese Icing
This sourdough discard carrot loaf is amazing without any cream cheese icing, and you can definitely serve it that way. However, I love cream cheese icing that just gives a hint of cream cheese but isn’t overpoweringly “cream cheesy.” This icing fits the bill. It is rich, buttery and has just a hint of cream cheese flavor that pairs beautifully with the carrots and spices in this loaf. If you’re looking for a little extra luxurious taste, whip up this cream cheese icing and top the loaf with it. The carrot loaf with the icing puts this recipe dangerously into the “yearly family tradition” category. It is that good.
Sourdough Carrot Cake Loaf would make the perfect addition to your Easter spread. We also love it for a spring dessert or an afternoon snack. It looks delicious, tastes divine and is just all around a yummy bake. I hope you love it as much as we do!
Sourdough Carrot Cake Loaf
Carrot Cake Loaf
- 1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded see recipe note
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup sourdough discard see recipe note
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil any neutral flavored oil works
- 5 Tablespoons plain yogurt sour cream can be substituted in a pinch
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup chopped nuts or dried fruit optional
Cream Cheese Topping
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Carrot Cake Loaf
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Shred the carrots in a food processor (affiliate link) or grate them on a box grater. Set aside.
- To a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Add the shredded carrots and mix with a spoon to combine.
- To a large measuring cup (affiliate link and my favorite), whisk together the liquid ingredients: sourdough discard, vegetable oil, plain yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract.
- Pour the liquid mixture on top of the flour/carrot mixture and gently stir to combine. Add 3/4 cup chopped fruit, nuts or a combination of both if desired.
- Spread the carrot cake loaf batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 45-50 minutes. Insert a toothpick or sharp knife in the center to check for doneness. If it comes out "clean" with no crumbs, it is ready. If it comes out wet, let it bake for another few minutes and check again.
- While the loaf cools, prepare the cream cheese topping.
Cream Cheese Topping
- To a small bowl, whip the unsalted butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and a tablespoon of heavy cream. Whip together. Add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Continue whipping until light and fluffy. Add a little more heavy cream as needed if the topping is too thick.
- Spread the cream cheese topping on the cooled loaf and enjoy!
Please share this recipe if you enjoyed it! Post a photo and tag me @amybakesbread so I can see your bake 🙂