Author pho­to by Matt Taylor-Gross

Back­ground pho­to by Taman­na Rumee on Unsplash

Tzimmes Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 1 (9 × 13-inch) sheet cake

Prep Time: 30 min­utes, plus cool­ing time

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Car­rot cake, but make it Jew­ish! The clas­sic Ashke­nazi spiced side of stewed car­rots, sweet pota­toes, and prunes always deserved to be turned into a dessert, and it just works so well. Grat­ed car­rots and sweet pota­to pro­vide so much mois­ture to the cin­na­mon-and-orange-zest-scent­ed bat­ter, while chopped prunes add a fudgy qual­i­ty that I’ll choose any day over raisins. And, in my very best Mom­mie Dear­est voice, NO NUTS IN MY CAKE.” I’m par­tial to the soft tex­ture being unin­ter­rupt­ed, but I won’t be too mad if you feel strong­ly about throw­ing in some chopped wal­nuts. The cake is fin­ished with a swoosh of lus­cious cream cheese frost­ing, though the cake itself is dairy-free so you can also take your top­ping in a pareve direc­tion. The biggest take­away should be that it stays moist for days in the fridge so you can always pre­pare it ahead. And if you’re look­ing for a stand­out host gift, my pow­er move is to bring one of these cakes baked in a new fan­cy ceram­ic bak­ing dish to leave behind for an extra sweet memento.

For the Car­rot Cake

Non­stick cook­ing spray, for greasing

1 cup olive oil

1 cup (200g) gran­u­lat­ed sugar

1 cup packed (213g) light brown sugar

1 tea­spoon vanil­la extract

4 large eggs

2 cups (270g) all-pur­pose flour

2 tea­spoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ tea­spoons kosher salt

1 tea­spoon bak­ing powder

1 tea­spoon bak­ing soda

1 pound car­rots, coarse­ly grated

8 ounces (1 medi­um) sweet pota­to, coarse­ly grated

½ cup chopped prunes

1 table­spoon fine­ly grat­ed orange zest

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalt­ed but­ter, at room temperature

2 ½ cups con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar

1 tea­spoon vanil­la extract

½ tea­spoon kosher salt

  1. Make the car­rot cake: Pre­heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 × 13-inch bak­ing dish with non­stick cook­ing spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk togeth­er the olive oil, gran­u­lat­ed sug­ar, brown sug­ar, vanil­la, and eggs until smooth. Add the flour, cin­na­mon, salt, bak­ing pow­der, and bak­ing soda. Gen­tly stir togeth­er the dry ingre­di­ents piled above the wet ingre­di­ents a few times before fold­ing togeth­er into a smooth bat­ter. Fold in the car­rots, sweet pota­to, prunes, and orange zest until incor­po­rat­ed. Pour into the pre­pared bak­ing dish and spread in an even layer.
  3. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 min­utes, until gold­en brown and it reach­es an inter­nal tem­per­a­ture of 190°F. (Tim­ing is going to depend on the mois­ture con­tent of your car­rots and sweet pota­toes, so while on aver­age it takes me 45 min­utes, occa­sion­al­ly the prop­er inter­nal tem­per­a­ture is reached after 40 min­utes, so that is when I start check­ing.) Let cool com­plete­ly in the dish.
  4. Mean­while, make the frost­ing: In the bowl of a stand mix­er fit­ted with the whisk attach­ment, whip togeth­er the cream cheese, but­ter, con­fec­tion­ers’ sug­ar, vanil­la, and salt until light and fluffy.
  5. Spread the frost­ing over the cooled cake, then slice and serve. Store the left­overs in an air­tight con­tain­er in the refrig­er­a­tor for up to 5 days.

Pho­to by Matt Taylor-Gross

Cour­tesy of the publisher

From I Could Nosh by Jake Cohen. Copy­right © 2023 by Jake Cohen. Reprint­ed by per­mis­sion of Har­vest, an imprint of Harper­Collins Publishers.

Jake Cohen is a NYT Best­selling cook­book author and nice Jew­ish boy from NYC. A for­mer food staffer at Saveur, food edi­tor of Tast­ing Table, restau­rant crit­ic of Time Out New York, and edi­to­r­i­al direc­tor of the Feed­feed, Jake wrote his first book, Jew-ish, about his love of mod­ern Jew­ish cook­ing and bak­ing. When he isn’t con­tribut­ing to out­lets like Food Net­work Kitchen, Food52, and Food & Wine, he’s post­ing chal­lah-braid­ing videos and recipes on his Insta­gram and Tik­Tok (@jakecohen). He lives in NYC with his hus­band, Alex.