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I struggle with home baking as a crunchtime solution until I realize that the time we devote at the onset, for the right recipe, pays us back with ready-made breakfasts and cinnamon baking kitchen aroma, signaling either fall is here or we’re staging our home for sale. Although we can purchase baked goods faster (driving included), baking at home ensures that all the ingredients are good and no preservatives are added. Would we even know how to add preservatives?

This totally vegan, totally scrumptious carrot cake comes to us…


…from Jessica Koslow, real food chef extraodinaire, who doles out re-imagined natural offerings at her Silver Lake restaurant, Sqirl – where u’s are unnecessary or nnecessary. Her food is easily worth a cross-LA journey and a tortuous, sun-scorching wait in line.

I made this carrot cake recipe more as a way to channel Koslow rather than to legitimately cook. Then, I fell in love with every morsel of this non-traditional carrot cake, whose consistency reaches near pudding like moistness and the sesame seed crunch made me forget that cream cheese icingwas ever involved. So good that I made another loaf two days later. It goes faster the second time – both preparation and consumption.

is there anything we left out?

Sesame crusted carrot cake has become my new treat for guests (nieces coming this weekend) and certainly for potlucks, should anyone in LA ever host one. Nice to be in a town where catering can be cheaper than cooking. Hmm, maybe I should have all my meals catered…Jessica? BTW we posted another Sqirl inspired recipe on this site awhile back.

no cream cheese icing needed

sesame crusted, sinfully moist carrot cake

Most of the ingredients for sesame crusted carrot cake can be found in your pantry. You might have to pick up black sesame seeds, perhaps a knob of fresh ginger, some almond milk if you prefer vegan otherwise regular milk is perf, and possibly carrots if you have the baby kind that are not kind to fingertips when grating. Individual servings of apple sauce keep nicely in the pantry for low-cal baking. Gathering ingredients, measuring cups, spoons and bowls, before starting the steps, will cut down on preptime for most baked goods.

preptime: 15 min
servings: 8 (or 1)
baketime: 75 min

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or cow’s milk
  • 2 tsp finely grated peeled ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 medium carrots (about 8 oz.), peeled, coarsely grated
  • 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Coat a 8×4″ loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  4. Whisk granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, applesauce, almond milk, ginger, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  5. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients, then fold in carrots (be careful not to overmix).
  6. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  7. Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 75–85 minutes.
  8. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan before turning out.


  • Use pre-shredded carrots, if you must.
  • Cake can be made 3 days ahead. Store wrapped tightly at room temperature.

recipe from Jessica Koslow @ Sqirl restaurant and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


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