Ingredient Substitutions and Carrot Cake

These days, I rarely follow a recipe exactly how it’s written. My son’s allergies are usually the cause for my ingredient substitutions, but it’s not the only factor. I often don’t have all the necessary ingredients on hand. In addition to my lack of organization, I attribute this to: (1) we don’t have a car, and (2) grocery stores aren’t open as much here in comparison to the United States.

Without a car, I can’t load up on groceries as easily. I purchase only what I can carry or stuff in the bottom of the stroller, especially when the boys are along for the ride. Thankfully, we have many small markets and grocery stores within walking distance of our apartment. While I really can’t complain, it can be challenging at times.

In terms of grocery shopping hours, doors typically open at 8:00 AM and close at 6:30 PM. On Saturday, they’re only open until 5:00 PM and don’t open again until Monday around noon. Back in Massachusetts, I could sneak off early in the morning or in the evening after the kids were in bed. While other options exist—some stores stay open until 8:00 PM on Thursdays and a few small markets open on Sunday—I’m still working to adapt my expectations and figure out a good routine.

While in many ways it’s great not having a car, and these reduced shopping hours seem more civilized, it means most of the time I’m at the grocery store with both boys during the day and on foot. As a result, I go almost every day, and I don’t always end up with everything I need.

Bundt Cake for Breakfast

I love carrot cake, but usually avoid ones that include raisins and pineapple. Over the weekend, I tried making one again, since I had these items on hand and thought the boys might like it. I ended up making lots of recipe modifications since I didn’t have or was running out of ingredients (e.g., lime juice for lemon juice, etc.). My family enjoyed it, but my feelings remain the same: carrot cake should only be made with carrots!

So, I went to my tried-and-true Betty Crocker cookbook and made another carrot cake. This one has double the carrots of my previous attempt, and no raisins or pineapple. Plus, I didn’t have to substitute anything, other than flax meal and water for the eggs. And, any cake looks better in a bundt pan, right? With all the carrots, I figured it was healthy enough for breakfast this morning.


Carrot Bundt Cake


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons flax meal mixed with 9 Tablespoons water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups shredded carrots

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-12 cup bundt pan with non-dairy butter and lightly flour.

2. Mix sugar, oil and flax meal mixture until well-blended. Whisk dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Fold carrots into the cake batter and pour into the bundt pan.

3. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 20 minutes and then remove from pan.

4. Dust with powdered sugar or use your favorite glaze.


The countdown continues… Less than a month until National Bundt Day! What’s your favorite bundt cake recipe? Please leave a comment below or send an email to


2 thoughts on “Ingredient Substitutions and Carrot Cake

  1. Jeana says:

    Hey I was thinking about your lack of vanilla extract and maybe you already knew this or are fine using other forms of vanilla, but it looks to be easy to make your own vanilla extract by letting vanilla beans soak in vodka. Just a thought. And cake is always a good breakfast option, carrots or no carrots!

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