Recipe created by Nik Sharma, of A Brown Table and adapted from The Cook's Illustrated Baking Book.

Makes one 9-inch layer cake


  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 4 Tbsp. darjeeling and/or assam tea (Indian black tea)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. green cardamom, ground
  • 1 tsp. ginger, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. fine-grain kosher sea salt
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 larges eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raisins

    For the pistachio-flavored cream cheese frosting:
  • 12 ounces full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 Tbsp. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pistachio extract
  • 1/4 tsp. fine grain kosher sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted candied pistachios, for garnish (optional)


    Pour the boiling water over the tea leaves and let this sit aside for 10 minutes. Strain the tea leaves and reserve the tea concentrate until ready to use.

    Place a rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 13- x 9-inch baking pan and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and lightly dust the pan with a little flour. Keep the prepared pan aside until ready to use.

    Dry-whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, green cardamom, ginger and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

    Using a food processor fitted with the large shredding disk, shred the carrots. Transfer the carrots to a large mixing bowl. Wipe the bowl food processor clean, then attach the metal blade. Place the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and reserved tea in the food processor and pulse for about 30 seconds until combined. Now, run the food processor and slowly pour the oil in a steady stream until the mixture is completely emulsified. This should take about 20 to 30 seconds.

    Pour the emulsified mixture over the shredded carrots and fold with a silicone spatula. Now, fold in the flour until no visible specks of flour can be seen. Quickly fold in the raisins with the silicone spatula. Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for about 35 to 40 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking process. The cake will be golden-brown when done and a skewer/toothpick/knife will come out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan, this should take about 2 to 3 hours. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to release. Trim the edges of the cake with a sharp serrated knife and cut the cake in half along it's length to get two 6.5- x 9-inch rectangles. Wrap the cakes separately with cling film and chill the cakes for at least 2 hours before frosting.

    To make the frosting: Place the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, pistachio extract and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the ingredients on low speed and gradually increase to medium-high speed until combined. You will need to scrape the sides of the bowl down occasionally to bring the ingredients together.

    Stop the mixer and add in the sugar. Beat the mixture on medium-low speed until the sugar completely disappears, then increase to medium-high speed. You will need to scrape the sides of the bowl down occasionally to bring the ingredients together. Transfer the frosting to an airtight container and keep chilled until ready to use.

    Layer the top surface of 1 cut cake with half of the cream cheese frosting using an offset spatula. Place the second cake over it and layer with remaining cream cheese frosting. Garnish with pistachios. Serve immediately.

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