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WHAT should one do when the temperature is hovering around 0ºC outside?  Scooting on an electric motorcycle around a city where the rivers are looking almost skater-friendly, thinking a couple of helmets and the rare appearance of socks are gonna make a difference?  No.  No, definitely not.   The consequences of Tour de Beijing de Stupid Couple… is a couple of very sick stupids.

What should one do, however, is to bake this uber-easy, deep dark and spicy carrot gingerbread cake with ground cardamon and cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with crispy sugared ginger shoestring fries.  It’s the ultimate embodiment of December, a very good thing… a much gooder thing, than doing other stupid things in a face-freezing temperature.

What were we doing on a freaking scooter in winter-wasteland when there was a perfectly good carrot gingerbread cake and hot coffees at home?  I told you this delicious cake is so easy even the ultimate fools can make…  Sniff… sniff….

Recipe adapted from a combination of Food52, Delicious magazine, and my favourite carrot cake.

Even though ground cardamon is not the most common spices from your corner-grocers, and you’d be very tempted to say “One small pinch?  I think I can ignore it.”, don’t.  You will be casting away the hidden spirit behind a mysteriously delicious frosting, and not knowing what you’ve missed.  Just like nutmegs, green cardamons lose the potency fast after it’s being ground.  So it’s best to use freshly ground with a spice-grinder, and when it is, it’s very strong and prominent stuff that a small pinch, will go a long way.  So do your best not to ignore it.

I used the shredder-blade from the food-processor for the carrots, but I found the final cake was begging for a more delicate and lighter texture.  So in this particular case, I would suggest using the finest holes on the cheese-grater for dealing with the carrots.  And as you can see from the photos that I’m obviously someone who has no patience to chill the frosting until it’s firm, and ended with the sloppiest-looking cake ever.  I would suggest giving the frosting a good 6 hours in the fridge at least, if not overnight, before applying it to the cake.

But then again, what has sloppy cake ever do to anyone anyways… except for happiness.




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  • 1 1/2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup (100 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (175 grams) cream cheese, soften
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small pinch ground green cardamon
  • 1 small pinch ground cinnamon
  • 10 oz (280 grams/2 small-size) carrots, grated
  • 2 3/4 cup (400 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 tbsp (170 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (320 grams) molasses
  • 3/4 cup (140 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) white sugar
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (245 grams) whole milk
  • 3" (125 grams) ginger
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • pinch of ground cinnamon


  1. UPDATE 2014/12/08: I made this cake the second time and found that it needed 1/4 cup more milk. So I've changed the recipe accordingly.
  2. TO MAKE THE CARDAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: In a stand-mixer bowl with whisk-attachment, or large bowl with hand-held mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, powdered sugar and salt together for 6~7 min, until very glossy and thick. Large ribbons should hold behind the trail of whisk. In another bowl or a food-processor, whip the softened cream cheese for a couple min until smooth and lump-free. Add vanilla extract, ground cardamon and ground cinnamon into the beaten egg whites, then add 1/4 cup of whipped cream cheese at a time, and whisk until everything's smoothly incorporated.
  3. Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours until firm, or you can make this the day before.
  4. TO MAKE THE CARROT GINGERBREAD CAKE: Preheat the oven on 350F/175C. Grate the carrots through the finest holes through a cheese grater (it should be finer than "shredded"), then toss them evenly with all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, freshly grated nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, microwave unsalted butter on a 30-seconds-increments, whisking in between, until just melted but not hot. Whisk in the molasses, dark brown sugar, white sugar, ground ginger and large eggs until smooth. Then add the whole milk and the flour-mixture, and fold with a spatula until the batter is evenly incorporated.
  6. Divide the batter between two 8" round cake-pan, lined with parchments on the bottom and sides. Smooth and level the surface of the batter as much as you can, then bake in the oven for 40~50 min, until an inserted wooden skewer comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 20 min in the pan, than cool completely on a cooling-rack. You can also make the cake the day before, wrapped in plastic-wrap.
  7. TO MAKE THE GINGER SHOESTRING FRIES: Peel the ginger then slice it as thinly as you humanly can, then cut into shoestrings as thinly as you humanly can. Combine the shoestring-gingers with vegetable oil in a pot, set over medium heat. Keep the oil bubbling, in between medium to medium-low heat, and cook for 10~15 min, until the gingers are dehydrated, crispy and slightly browned. Drain well, then toss with light brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Let cool completely.
  8. TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Smear a good layer of cardamon frosting between and on top of the cake, then shower with sugared ginger shoestring fries.



  • Natalie

    December 7, 2014 at 7:37 PM Reply

    “What were we doing on a freaking scooter in a winter wasteland when there was a perfectly good cake and hot coffees at home?”
    ^ True words That essentially epitomize how I feel about winter vs. warm food
    Also those ginger fries look gorgeous and delicious, what a great idea for a cake topper!

  • Melinda

    December 7, 2014 at 8:13 PM Reply

    You’re the only person who could make carrot cake look appetizing to me!

  • Belinda @themoonblushbaker

    December 7, 2014 at 8:31 PM Reply

    I hope you get better soon! Sending lots of honey and lemons your way. However FINALLY someone who is not horrified at using more than a tbsp of ginger in sweet dish! I understand your frustration while gawk at this cake… Beautiful

  • Ellie

    December 7, 2014 at 8:53 PM Reply

    That photo can be described as little other than magnificent. Actually, with ginger and with cardamom icing, it’s not too far from the cake I baked my dad for his birthday this year – one of my all time favorites. In the end, ginger is probably my all time favourite flavour and you can’t go wrong with a really dark, sticky gingerbread.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    December 7, 2014 at 9:01 PM Reply

    Totally dying for this. I love that frosting and I love the combo of gingerbread and carrot. You’re my fav!

  • Charlie (Chockywoky)

    December 7, 2014 at 9:14 PM Reply

    Ahhh this is so devilishly decadent Mandy! The ginger string fries are so ingenious. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Ursula @

    December 7, 2014 at 11:16 PM Reply

    Sounds like a holiday treat ;-) Love your picture of the beaters!

  • Grace @ The Big Reveal

    December 7, 2014 at 11:48 PM Reply

    This cake looks amazing! I am going to try it with gluten free flower and cross my fingers! (Hope you feel better! I hear cake helps:))

    • Reni

      November 11, 2017 at 6:19 AM Reply

      That is what I am going to do also – let’s compare – can’t wait.

  • june2

    December 8, 2014 at 3:31 AM Reply

    Wow, genius to combine carrot cake and gingerbread, never occured to me before. Ditto the ginger fry topping! LOVE that. PS: my favorite is when warm icing sort of melts into warm cake, (tell-tale sign of an impatient baker/eater, but can you blame me?!)…thought you did that on purpose because it is mouth-wateringly good that way!

    PS: I was really enjoying your more “advanced” (haha) maths spam gate! Were people really unable to deal?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM Reply

      June2: Hahaha the melting frosting was definitely delicious although not the most presentable-looking. And are you kidding! The math is even too much for MYSELF! 9 + what = 14? Shit that’s too much before coffee!!!

  • Becky @

    December 8, 2014 at 3:47 AM Reply

    Another beautiful creation with gorgeous photographs!! Of course baking is much more fun than freezing Beijing cold. That cardamon frosting sounds insane..can’t wait to try!!

  • Millie l Add A Little

    December 8, 2014 at 4:39 AM Reply

    Carrot cake is my favourite so this looks amazing, especially with the dainty but zingy ginger fries!

  • Pamela

    December 8, 2014 at 7:23 AM Reply

    Love this cake! I am going to make this for my “Ladies who do Tea” get together in January. Yes, I know it’s a long time from now…. But we won’t be meeting till then and we will need this wonderful cake to get us out of the January blues!! Could I possibly make this in one layer in a larger pan? How many cups of batter does the recipe make, I wonder? Would a 9 x 13 pan be too large?

    • mandy@ladyandpups

      December 8, 2014 at 4:48 PM Reply

      Pamela: This batter is enough for TWO 8″ round cake-pan, so I would think 9×13 wouldn’t be a problem. The batter may spread more thinly, or more thick in a different sized pan, so just make sure you monitor the cooking-time accordingly.

  • Dhanya Samuel

    December 8, 2014 at 8:17 AM Reply

    Love the idea of those ginger fries….

  • Sarah @ Bonjour Sucre

    December 8, 2014 at 9:54 AM Reply

    Yum – That looks delicious! it looks absolutely moist and flavoursome. Perfect for Christmas. Thanks!

  • joyce gilman

    December 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM Reply

    Made this over the weekend – truly a masterful recipe, Mandy. Absolutely remarkable – thank you.

  • Becki

    July 14, 2015 at 8:31 PM Reply

    The only thing that I would change is the vegetable oil. I prefer other more healthful oils, and I do not keep vegetable oil in my home.

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