lots of carrots next to lots of cherries

These Carrot Spice and Chocolate Cherry cakes will refresh your dessert repertoire

Cakes make every meal special and special meals even more special.

These two cakes come together quickly and, gussied up with sweet glazes, are perfect for Shabbat dinner. Or simply sprinkle them with powdered sugar for regular suppers or weekend picnics.

They are moist, sturdy, relatively fuss-free and are served from the pans in which they are baked. Both come together without using an electric mixer and are parve. They taste best made a day in advance.

The Carrot Spice Cake’s optional glaze uses nondairy (vegan) cream cheese. Look for pre-shredded carrots in the produce section to make the cake’s preparation even quicker.

One-Pan Chocolate Cherry Cake is not only parve but egg-free. It relies on vinegar and baking soda for its lift and mixes right in its baking pan.

Carrot Spice Cake

Faith Kramer's Carrot Spice Cake
Faith Kramer’s Carrot Spice Cake

Serves 8

1¼ cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. dried, ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup oil
1 cup shredded carrots, packed
8 oz. can crushed pineapple packed in juice
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup chopped or slivered nuts
2 Tbs. powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 8-inch square cake pan. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in eggs, oil, carrots, pineapple with juice, applesauce and nuts until well combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for about 50 minutes until top is golden, edges are pulling away from pan and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve from pan.

Optional glaze: Beat 8 oz. room-temperature vegan cream cheese (the kind packed in tubs) until smooth. Mix in 2 tsp. lemon juice. Slowly whisk in ¾ cup powdered sugar until smooth. Chill 1 hour and pour over completely cooled cake just before serving. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

One-Pan Chocolate Cherry Cake

Serves 8

1 lb. package frozen pitted sweet cherries (packed without syrup or juice), defrosted
Chilled water
1 cup sugar
1½ cups flour
⅓ cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. plus ½ tsp. vanilla
½ cup oil
½ cup parve chocolate chips
2 Tbs. white vinegar
2 cups powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Empty cherries with any liquids into a bowl. Drain liquids into a measuring cup. Add chilled water to juice to make up 1¼ cups liquid. Chill. Reserve 8 whole cherries for garnish. Mash remaining cherries. Measure out 1 cup and set aside for cake. Coarsely chop remaining cherries and set aside for glaze.

In a 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir in 1 tsp. vanilla, oil, 1 cup of the chilled liquid, mashed cherries and chocolate chips until well combined. Sprinkle vinegar over batter and immediately mix in and place in oven. Bake about 25 minutes until top is puffed and edges are pulling away from pan. Center of cake will jiggle slightly. Let cool completely.

Make glaze by combining remaining cherry liquid, chopped cherries and remaining vanilla. Slowly whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. Chill for 1 hour. Spoon on cake slices when served and top with reserved cherries.

Variation: Reduce cherries to ½ lb. and liquid to 1 cup. Skip the glaze and sprinkle cake with powdered sugar.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].