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As far as desserts go, carrot cake can be kind of a contentious one – you either love it or you hate it. Some people seem to think that vegetables have no place in a cake, but when it comes to carrots, we couldn’t disagree more. We love carrot cake in all its moist, textured glory (and we like ours with pineapple but no raisins, thank you very much).

Our carrot cake here is in loaf form, so really you can think of it as a quick bread. And if it’s just a bread, what’s stopping you from eating it for breakfast? It’s lightly spiced and dotted with crunchy chopped walnuts, but what makes it so special is the wonderful sweet flavor from the crushed pineapple and the Amish Friendship Bread starter.

Amish Friendship Bread starter is a sweet sourdough starter that is a wonderful base for all kinds of breads and other baked goods. You make it by mixing together some flour, milk, sugar, and yeast and leaving it at room temperature to ferment over the course of ten days. It does take a bit, but the process involves little more than occasionally feeding the starter with more milk, sugar, and flour, and mixing it up every once in a while. On the tenth day, you divide the starter up into one cup portions to give to friends. We just love the sentiment behind it; it’s a heartfelt gift to give to loved ones. You can find the steps to create your own here.

The sweet sourdough starter lends this loaf cake an extra layer and depth of flavor that you don’t find in most carrot cake recipes. It’s toothsome without being dense, and full of flavor. We like to smear a little cream cheese frosting on a slice before diving in, but we’ve been known to gobble it up totally plain too.

Serves 6-8

1 hour, 15 minutes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 medium carrots, shredded
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup Amish Friendship Bread starter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cream cheese frosting, if desired
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F and grease two 9x5 loaf pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the starter, sugar, oil, milk, vanilla, and eggs, and mix until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, and salt, and mix until well incorporated. Fold in the carrots, pineapple, and nuts.
  4. Pour evenly into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  5. Let cool 5 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Adapted from The Friendship Bread Kitchen.

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