Classic carrot cake takes cues from lemon-poppy seed loaf in this elegant hybrid. It has all the warming spices of a traditional recipe, but the tiny, satisfyingly crunchy seeds replace nuts and raisins in the batter. And instead of a thick cream-cheese frosting, it's topped with delicate Meyer-lemon glaze. 

Martha Stewart Living, April 2022


Credit: Lennart Weibull

Recipe Summary

25 mins
1 hr 30 mins
Makes one 8-by-4-inch loaf


Meyer-Lemon Glaze:


Instructions Checklist
  • For the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a standard loaf pan (8 by 4 inches) and line with parchment, leaving an overhang on both long sides; butter parchment. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and salt until combined. Beat butter and both sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat 3 minutes more. Add vanilla, carrot juice, and carrots; beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture, then beat in poppy seeds just until combined.

  • Transfer batter to prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool 20 minutes in pan on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Remove cake using parchment, transfer directly to rack, and let cool completely.

  • For the Glaze: In a large bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth, adding more lemon juice, teaspoon at a time, until icing is thick and pourable. Pour glaze over top.

  • Sprinkle cake generously with poppy seeds and let glaze set completely, about 30 minutes; transfer to a serving platter. Cake can be stored, covered, at room temperature up to 3 days.