Bolo de Cenoura (Brazilian Carrot Cake)

published Apr 20, 2024
Bolo de Cenoura (Brazilian Carrot Cake) Recipe

This brilliant dessert lets you skip the annoying task of grating carrots altogether.

Serves10 to 12

Prep15 minutes

Cook45 minutes to 50 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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angled shot of a slice of bolo de cenoura being pulled from the full cake.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

In my country of Brazil, bolo de cenoura, or carrot cake, is a staple. For a lot of kids, it’s their first contact with a vegetable, especially for the picky eaters. It’s also something you take in your lunch box to school. A fun fact about Brazilian cakes is that most times the recipes are done in the blender. Kitchen gadgets are very expensive in my country, and most households only have the basics, which makes everything easier. 

My favorite way to enjoy this is with a glass of cold whole milk on the side, but my fellow countryman would also say it pairs perfectly with a fresh cup of coffee. So if you’re looking for a different approach to carrot cake, here it is.

Why You’ll Love It

  • You don’t need to grate any carrots for this cake! The carrots are peeled, sliced, and then thrown in a blender with the rest of the ingredients and pureed until smooth. 
  • Chocolate sauce is even better than cream cheese frosting. Pairing the carrot cake with a chocolate sauce rather than a cream cheese frosting means it isn’t too sweet, making it the perfect afternoon snack.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Key Ingredients in Bolo de Cenoura 

  • Carrots. You only need 3 large (or 5 medium) carrots for this cake. Simply peel and slice, no grating required. 
  • Oil. Canola or vegetable oil contributes to a moist cake. 
  • Cocoa powder. Dutch process cocoa powder delivers a rich dark brown color and a mellow flavor that doesn’t compete with the cake. 

How to Make Bolo de Cenoura 

  1. Make the cake batter. Blend the carrots, eggs, sugar, oil and salt together, then add the flour in batches followed by the baking powder. Don’t mix it too much; otherwise you will end up with a dense cake. You want to hydrate the flour in the liquid mixture. 
  2. Bake the cake. Transfer the batter to a 9-inch round cake pan and bake for 45 minutes or until the center of the cake leaves small crumbs on a toothpick when poked.
  3. Make the chocolate sauce. As soon as the cake is done, combine water, cocoa powder, sugar, and butter in a saucepan and whisk until it comes to a boil. Continue to whisk off-heat for a couple minutes more to thicken the sauce and cool it down at the same time. Slowly pour on the cake starting in the center, letting it drip down the sides. Serve the remaining sauce alongside.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: Brett Regot

Bolo de Cenoura (Brazilian Carrot Cake) Recipe

This brilliant dessert lets you skip the annoying task of grating carrots altogether.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 45 minutes to 50 minutes

Serves 10 to 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • Cooking spray or canola or vegetable oil, for the pan

  • 4

    large eggs

  • 12 ounces

    carrots (3 large or 5 medium)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    granulated sugar

  • 1 cup

    canola or vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 tablespoon

    baking powder

For the chocolate sauce:

  • 2/3 cup

    water

  • 1/2 cup

    Dutch-processed cocoa powder

  • 1/3 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter

Instructions

Make the cake:

  1. Place 4 large eggs on the counter and let sit until room temperature. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan with a parchment paper round. Coat the bottom and sides of the pan with a thin layer of canola or vegetable oil, or cooking spray; dust the pan with all-purpose flour and tap out the excess.

  2. Peel 12 ounces carrots and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick rounds (use a mandoline if you have one). Place in a blender. Add the eggs, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1 cup canola or vegetable oil, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Blend on medium high speed until the texture of a smoothie, about 5 minutes.

  3. Pour into a large bowl. Add 2 cups all-purpose flour by sifting it in or passing it through a fine-mesh strainer 1/4 cup at a time, folding it in with a flexible spatula in between each addition. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon baking powder over the batter and fold until combined. Transfer the batter to the cake pan.

  4. Bake until the top is golden brown and firm, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 30 minutes more.

Make the chocolate sauce:

  1. Place 2/3 cup water, 1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1 tablespoon unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until it comes to a boil.

  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Keep whisking for 2 minutes more to cool slightly. Place the cake in a wide, shallow serving bowl. Starting at the center and working in concentric circles outward, slowly pour enough of the sauce over the cake, letting it spread toward the edges and drip down the sides, until just covered. Slice the cake and serve with the remaining sauce for drizzling over each slice.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The sauce can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Storage: Leftover cake can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Let come to room temperature or reheat a slice in the microwave for up to 30 seconds before serving.