Hawaiian Carrot Cake from the Cook Islands

Sue Carruthers' “The Flame Tree Cookbook — Pacific Recipes for the New Zealand Kitchen”, 1993, is one of my favorites. And this is one of our favorite cakes. We bake it, finish it off and then bake another one aboard ADAGIO. It keeps well in the fridge and re-heats deliciously. I have modified the recipe slightly, and bake it in a 12-cup Bundt cake pan. Try it!


  • 2 cups plain white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup canned crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated coconut, perhaps lightly toasted
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, whole
  • 3/4 cup raisins, sultanas or dried cranberries


1 – Butter a 12-cup Bundt cake pan or two 20 cm round cake pans.
2 – Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
3 – In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. I do not bother to sift the dry ingredients.
4 – Stir together the oil, vanilla and eggs until well combined. Stir into the flour mixture with the carrots, pineapple, coconut, dried cranberries and nuts.
5 – Bake for 1 hour to 1-1/2 hour, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
6 – Invert the cake on a cooling rack, and allow to thoroughly cool before removing the pan. Then turn it right side up into a sealed cake keeper and keep it in the refrigerator.