Bread Crumb Carrot Cake

The first time you make this cake, you will look at the batter and think, “This is so wrong.” I say “the first time” because — if you can get get past the thick, chunky, curdled, doesn’t look like-any-cake-I-ever-saw quality of the batter (for want of a better word), if you trust me that your oven will work a miracle and turn this highly questionable stuff into a delightfully moist and toothsome cake — my bet is that there will be a second time.

Part of the reason for the wacky batter is that the “flour” in this cake is not flour at all, but fine, dry crumbs made from my favorite sourdough bread. I have been experimenting with replacing flour with crumbs in different recipes, with mixed results. This is my favorite to date. While I would never go so far as to say that a butter-and-sugar-rich cake is healthy, if you’re going to eat dessert I don’t think it hurts to have the health benefits of sourdough — not to mention carrots, pineapple, and walnuts – on your side.

I’ve also made muffins with this batter (bake for 15 minutes at 400F), but since it doesn’t rise much, you won’t get those grand muffin peaks; it works better as a cake. The top stays good and flat (assuming you have smoothed it well before baking). You could split it into layers and embellish it with your favorite cream cheese icing, but it really stands up nicely on its own, and the bread crumbs give the top a pleasant, subtle crunch that would be a shame to obscure with frosting.

To make the bread crumbs, dry slices of stale bread (crusts left on) in a 300F oven until they are bone dry. How long this takes depends on how stale the bread is to begin with. Then grind it in a food processor until it is the consistency of sand. One cup of crumbs is about 150 grams. They keep very well in the freezer.

Bread Crumb Carrot Cake

Yield: one 8-inch cake


  • Prep and mix: 30 minutes
  • Bake: 50 minutes


  • 172 g dry, fine Norwich Sourdough bread crumbs
  • 5 g (1 teaspoon) baking soda
  • 1.2 g (1/2 teaspoon) cinnamon
  • 1.2 g (1/2 teaspoon) nutmeg
  • 1.2 g (2/3 teaspoon) ginger
  • 1.2 g (1/2 teaspoon) cardamom
  • 87 g butter, at room temperature
  • 86 g dark brown sugar
  • 86 g sugar
  • 109 g (2 whole) eggs, at room temperature
  • 98 g plain nonfat yogurt, at room temperature
  • 9 g (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 144 g coarsely grated carrot
  • 131 g drained crushed pineapple
  • 100 g walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Butter an 8-inch diameter, 2-inch high cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
  3. Sift the baking soda and the spices into the bread crumbs. Stir to combine and set aside.
  4. Combine the yogurt and vanilla and set aside.
  5. In a stand mixer with the paddle, cream the butter and sugars until light.
  6. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Continue mixing on medium-high speed until the mixture is thick.
  7. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the yogurt mixture, beginning and ending with the dries. Mix well after each addition. The batter will look curdled.
  8. Stir in the carrots, pineapple, and nuts.
  9. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula.
  10. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the side of the pan.
  11. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Post a comment » 19 Comments

  1. Wow, I can’t wait to try this recipe! Sounds wonderful! I am going to use 100% sourdough rather than the yogurt though. Thank you very much!

  2. This is brilliant. I would love a slice right now. I am going to give this a whirl!

  3. What a cool idea! I like that you add pineapple too.

    (But but but, where’s the cream cheese icing?)

  4. You find a good idea of using stale bread. Carrot cake looks delicious!

  5. That looks wonderful. I love love carrot cake.

  6. I’m rather hooked on any cakes involving yogurt at the moment. I like the sounds of this one.

  7. Great idea! I’m very surprised to see no fat at all in the cake, though–is that really the case? I also wonder about combining the bread crumbs and yogurt and letting them soak together–I do this with breadcrumbs for meatballs and hamburgers and it really seems to enhance the moisture-retaining capacity of the mix. Not that the cake looks like it lacks for moisture! It looks yummy, as does pretty much everything you make.

    thanks for your wonderful blog, Susan–you’ve taught me so much about making bread.


  8. Lisa, there is no fat — unless you count the butter and the eggs ;-)

  9. How’d I miss that?! (tgif!)

  10. Never thought to use bread crumbs this way in a carrot cake…or really any cake, but I can see that it is wonderful!

  11. Want to try this cake out but I was wondering could I replace the yogurt with creme freche. Didnt want to do it in case i messed it up what do you think.

  12. I replaced the bread with crostoli (which I made few days ago) and I used a muffin pan.
    Thanks for this recipe, great great idea!
    Using crostoli made it a little soft to keep its shape, but
    very nice. Thank you!

  13. My mother used to make a bread crumb with cinnamon cake when I was a little girl, I’m going to search her recipe.
    This cake is wonderful :)

  14. hi.
    thanks for sharing all your yummy receipe. i have a quick question. i have a made a sourdough and i used it only for bread. now that i discovered your wonderful site, i realized you used a lot of sourdough in your receipe like muffins brownie etc. i am just wondering why did you use it it is for the extra soury taste or will the sourdough make the bake more moist or extra tasty, please enlightened. thanks again

  15. Does it have to be sourdough bread crumbs or would ordinary bread crumbs work? (I’m a novice so sorry if this is a dumb question).

  16. For shame on me to have missed this!

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