You will fall in love with this gorgeous and moist Instant Pot carrot cake the minute you taste it. It’s nut-free and perfect with a cup of tea or as a treat for birthday parties, Easter, or Thanksgiving.
We have to be honest, we have never made a carrot cake in my Instant Pot pressure cooker before and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. We wanted to test this recipe before the holidays, and used a combination of multiple traditional recipes with our own twist or two thrown into the mix. Oh boy! We were so impressed with how well it turned out that we just can’t wait for you to try it.
To make it easier, we have provided a few step-by-step pictures and the full recipe is just below.
Let us know what you think of this recipe and if it turns out great for you as well. And by the way, you can make it in an oven too; just check how long a regular carrot cake should take, and it should be about the same.
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Instant Pot Carrot Cake Ingredients
The ingredients are pretty straightforward, and you should be able to find most of them in your local supermarket and online.
We used wholemeal self-rising flour but you can use white self-rising or gluten-free flour as well. If using all-purpose flour rather than self-rising flour listed in the recipe, please add 1 teaspoon of baking powder to the dry ingredients.
You can use a coarse or a medium-shred grater. We use the medium-shred holes of this grater, just to give you an example.
We wanted to make this carrot cake nut-free, so we are using a mix of seeds for that extra crunch. Instead of seeds, you can use chopped walnuts, pecans, or other nuts. Alternatively, you can go without. Dried apricots can be replaced with raisins, sultanas, or any other dried fruit of your choice – about 1/3 cup. We used organic sulfur-free dried apricots, which are not as bright orange as the chemically treated variety.
Butter can be replaced with coconut oil for a dairy-free version.
As with most cakes, you will mix the wet and dry ingredients in two separate bowls and then combine them together. You should have a nice, thick batter.
You will need a round springform cake tin that fits inside your pressure cooker and a trivet for it to sit on top of. We used a 7.5″ round tin. Make sure to grease the sides and the bottom with some butter or oil and dust with a little flour. This prevents the cake from sticking to the tin and gives the cake a nice crust. The tin will then go on top of the trivet with some water on the bottom.
Cover the cake loosely with foil, but make sure there is enough space under the foil for the cake to rise. You will see in my picture that I had a spot in the cake where the foil was bent and it left an imprint. It’s not a big deal as we will decorate the cake with the icing and you won’t see those imperfections.
When the cake is ready, its top will feel slightly moist to the touch and seem a little bit like steamed pudding. Once you cool it, the cake will feel more like a normal carrot cake. The texture is slightly more dense than a regular oven-baked cake, but it’s super delicious and moist regardless.
When it comes to decorating the cake, you are welcome to use your own imagination. Besides a lovely, cream cheese-based frosting, we decided to go with figs and physalis as our fruit, as well as some extra seeds on top. You can use fresh berries, shaved carrots, and so on. Can’t be bothered decorating? Just smother on a thick layer of creamy frosting and enjoy.
It’s truly a beautiful, moist and easy cake and we couldn’t believe just how well it worked in the Instant Pot. For those of you without an oven or if you want to make a dessert in summer without turning on an oven, this carrot cake is a total winner!
For the cake
- 10–12 dried apricots, diced into small cubes (about 80 g / 3 oz)
- ¼ cup (30 ml / 1 oz.) of dark rum (such as Mount Gay)
- 7 oz / 200 g carrots, finely grated (2 medium)
- Zest of 1 orange
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- ¼ cup mixed seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds etc)
- 4.5 oz / 125 g butter unsalted (half a stick)
- 3 medium to large eggs
- 1 cup (5 oz / 150 g) brown sugar
- 2 cups (7oz / 200 g) self-raising wholemeal flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried ginger (optional, but very nice)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- A little extra butter and flour for the cake tin
- 7.5” round springform cake tin
Cream cheese icing
- 8.8 oz / 250 g full-fat cream cheese (feel free to use light version)
- 3 heaped tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
- 1/3 cup icing sugar
- A little bit of lemon and orange zest (optional, but lifts it up slightly)
Decorations (your choice!)
- Berries or other fruit of choice (I used physalis and figs)
- Extra seeds
- Finely sliced lemon and/orange rind
- Prepare the ingredients for the batter: mix the diced apricots with the rum and set aside; in another bowl, mix the grated carrots, orange and lemon zest and the mixed seeds in and set aside; in a microwave or on a stove, melt the butter and allow to cool slightly.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar. Add the melted butter and whisk again until well combined. Set aside.
- Add the flour to a larger mixing bowl. Sprinkle evenly with bicarb soda, spices and salt and mix through. Stir in the sugar and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the carrots, apricots (including the rum), citrus zest, and seeds and drizzle the lemon juice (it helps to activate the bicarb soda). Fold through until well combined.
- Grease a round springform cake tin with some butter (about a teaspoon), making sure the sides and the bottom are evenly covered. Dust the sides and the bottom with a little flour. This will stop the cake from sticking to the tin. Transfer the cake mixture to the tin and smooth the top.
- Add a cup of water to the Instant Pot’s inner pot. Place a trivet on the bottom, with the handles facing up. Place the cake tin on top of the trivet above the water. Gently cover the tin with foil, overlapping and folding the edges slightly but not too tight. Allow some space for the cake to rise.
- Place and lock the Instant Pot lid, making sure the vent is set to Sealing. Press Manual setting, HIGH pressure and adjust the time to 20 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start cooking. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally (about 15 minutes). Open the lid carefully, lift and remove the foil. Allow the heat to escape and then carefully remove the trivet and the cake tin to a plate or the kitchen bench top. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then release the spring and remove the tin from around the cake. The easiest way to remove the bottom of the cake tin, is to place another plate on top of the cake and turn it upside down. Then carefully remove the bottom and allow the cake to cool slightly while upside down. Then turn it back around and place on a serving plate.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the cream cheese icing by combining and mixing all ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
- Time to finish the cake! Spread the cream cheese icing over the top of the cake and decorate with your choice of fruit, berries, seeds, nuts, zest or small pieces of carrots. Store in the fridge for 5-6 days. Ideally, allow it to come to room temperature when serving.
- See next page for step-by-step photos to help you along.