Carrot Breakfast Loaf


Spring may be around the corner, and the temperatures are rising, but snow still covers the ground. To embrace the winter that remains, my boyfriend, Chris, and I are headed up north for the weekend to give dog sledding a try. With his love for dogs and my love for new experiences, it feels like the ideal way to get out of the house after a long, cooped up winter. 

We rented a rustic log cabin in the woods, with hopes to snowshoe along snowy tree-lined paths, relax in the sauna after the sun has set, and cuddle near a log fire before bed. The "rustic" nature of the cabin is real—with an outhouse and wood stove for heat, it will be an adventure just to keep ourselves warm in freezing temperatures. Even though there are hotels nearby, I campaigned for the cabin because we will be more likely to remember this experience (for better or for worse) years from now.

Isn't that what life is about—making memories?

With the weekend drawing near, I spent time in the kitchen baking up dishes to pack. When I was testing out the recipe for this carrot breakfast loaf, I really enjoyed how the natural sweetness of the carrot emerges. Along with the addition of raisins, coconut flakes, and walnuts, the hearty bread plays off the flavors of a carrot cake.

With a handful of granola bars and a loaf of this carrot bread, I hope to keep well fed for breakfast, with enough energy for a long day of mushing (and dog petting).


This Carrot Breakfast Loaf is a play off of the traditional carrot cake. The sweetness of the carrot complements the warm spices of cinnamon and nutmeg to create this spiced bread. Coconut flakes, raisins, and chopped walnuts are added to give the loaf additional flavor and texture. Serve each slice with a thick layer of butter and enjoy. 

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Fudge Bars
Two Years Ago: Traditional Challah
Three Years Ago: Blackberry Coconut Scones
Four Years Ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Frosted Cake & Orange Coconut Pull-Apart Bread 
Five Years Ago:  Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins, Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, & Coconut Whipped Cream
Six Years Ago: Chocolate Caramel Crispy Bars, Tropical Banana Bread, Strawberry Balsamic Jam, & Strawberry Oat Bars
Seven Years Ago: Vanilla Almond Cupcakes, Banana Pudding, Devil's Food Cake, & Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Carrot Breakfast Loaf

Yields 9 x 5-inch loaf

3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) peeled, shredded carrots
1/3 cup (53 grams) raisins
1/4 cup (30 grams) coconut flakes
1/2 cup (60 grams) chopped walnuts, plus extra for topping
1 tablespoon demerara or raw sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla until uniform. Stir in the spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt, flours, and milk until smooth. Stir in the carrots, raisins, coconut flakes, and chopped walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and level. Sprinkle the top with demerara sugar and additional chopped walnuts, if desired. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Pear Cake

Pears and chocolate may be an unfamiliar pairing, but it is one worth exploring. The delicate sweetness of the pear balances the richness of the chocolate, creating one of my favorite combinations. While pears and chocolate are no stranger to this blog (check out these recipes for pear & chocolate scones and brown butter pear & chocolate muffins), it has been awhile since I've played around with these flavors.

For this cake, I mixed ripe pears into the cake and layered them on the top for both aesthetics and for my personal preference (I will openly fight for the pieces with the most pear). The chocolate cake itself is light and moist. To bring out a deeper chocolate flavor, I also tossed chopped chocolate into the batter.

This cake lasted only a brief time in my house, and I hope you'll find the same is true for you.

With this recipe (and many that involve pears), canned pears can be substituted for their fresh counterparts as a quick and easy alternative. If you don't have ripe pears on hand, dice the canned pears and fold them into the cake batter instead of layering on top—the flavors will taste the same. 


Chocolate Pear Cake is a sweet snacking cake. Diced pears and chopped chocolate are folded into a chocolate cake batter. Before baking, the top is covered with pear slices and sprinkled with more chopped chocolate and raw sugar to add additional sweetness and texture. Serve the cake warm or chilled with a scoop of ice cream or a dreamy spoonful of whipped cream.

Two Years Ago: Quick Puff Pastry (Tutorial) 
Three Years Ago: Chocolate Orange Cake
Four Years Ago: Almond Cake 
Five Years Ago:  Blueberry Lemon Pancakes, Lavender Lemon Shortbread, & Grapefruit Margaritas
Six Years Ago: Basic Caramel Sauce, Rum  Raisin Ice Cream, Butternut Squash & Spinach Tart, & Rosemary Crackers
Seven Years Ago: Lemon Chocolate Tart, Coconut Cream Cupcakes, Italian Popcorn, & PB Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Pear Cake

Yields 9-inch cake

2 large ripe pears*
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (78 ml) vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (180 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk of choice
4 ounces (113 grams) semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon raw or demerara sugar, optional
Chocolate shavings, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a 9-inch spring-form cake pan. Set aside.

To prepare the pears, peel them, if desired. Cut in half and remove the core. Dice one pear into small cubes. Quarter the other pear lengthwise and thinly slice. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, vegetable oil, and eggs for several minutes, or until lighter in color. Whisk in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract. Using a spatula, stir in the flour, cocoa powder, and milk. Mix until the batter is smooth and uniform. Fold in the cubed pear and chopped chocolate.

Pour batter into the prepared baking dish. Top batter with folded pear quarters and chocolate shavings. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edges and remove outer springform. Allow to cool before serving.

* Canned pears can be substituted in a pinch. Dice all the pears and fold them into the batter instead of layering over the top.

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Every four years, I excitedly await the winter Olympics, talking about it ad infinitum in the weeks prior. As a former figure skater during my high school years, it is my chance to watch figure skating's best compete on the world's stage. The beautiful performances, the nervous energy, and the drama bring me an enduring joy.

In fact, when my boyfriend Chris and I started dating before the winter Olympics eight years ago, I warned him that this was my sport, and if he'd want to see me during the next two weeks he would need to brush up on his figure skating knowledge. To my astonishment, he dutifully researched the competitors, learned the scoring, and watched former performances so he could cheer alongside me in appreciation.

When he started one-upping me with knoweldge on men's singles, I knew that he was a keeper.


As a snub to February's variety of winter monotony, I dusted off my skates and took them down to the nearby ice rink. With the empty rink laid out in front of me, I imagined myself as talented as Michelle Kwan or Tara Lipinski, as I had many times years before. On shaky ankles, I then attempted a few spins and jumps that would have embarrassed my former coach.

I may have lost most of my training over the years, but the fresh air and the feel of the ice beneath my feet felt invigorating after spending so many weeks indoors.

Though Minnesota may still be covered in snow, my food preferences are evolving away from heavy comfort foods towards brighter, fresher flavors. Blending up fruit smoothies is a quick way to reenergize standard breakfasts and mid-day snacks. To bring these bright flavors to you, I have partnered with Dole Sunshine to #SharetheSunshine by sharing this pineapple coconut smoothie bowl.

Topped with toasted coconut, banana slices, and frozen pineapple, the simple smoothie can be elevated into something special.

Frozen fruit is the key to a quick smoothie with bright, vibrant flavor. I keep a steady supply of frozen berries, pineapple, and bananas in my freezer for this purpose. This recipe uses a combination of frozen pineapple and frozen bananas to thicken the smoothie (but ice can also be used in a pinch). The addition of full-fat coconut milk lends a creamy texture and rich flavor.

While the smoothie could be poured into a glass, I prefer to enjoy this one in a bowl. The smoothie is dense enough to support a range of toppings, which takes it from a grab-and-go drink into a complete breakfast.


This Pineapple Coconut Smoothie Bowl celebrates the flavors of a piña colada in a fresh form. Frozen pineapple, banana, and coconut milk are blended together to form a thick smoothie base. Toppings like banana slices, frozen pineapple, toasted coconut, and chia seeds are layered over the top to bring additional flavor and texture. Serve for breakfast or enjoy as an afternoon snack. 

One Year Ago: Sprouted Wheat Vanilla Chai Bars
Two Years Ago: Coffee Eclairs 
Three Years Ago: Rosemary Soda Bread 
Four Years Ago: Grapefruit Rum Cocktails
Five Years Ago:  Coconut Raisin Granola, Hot Cocoa Popsicles, Chocolate Pudding, & Black Tea Cake with Honey Buttercream
Six Years Ago: Cappuccino Pancakes, Hot Cocoa Cookies, Rosemary Focaccia, Swedish Visiting Cake, & Cinnamon Sugar Muffin
Seven Years Ago: Chocolate Blueberry Ice Cream, Cinnamon Rolls, Brown Butter Crispy Rice Bars, & Meyer Lemon Curd

Pineapple Coconut Smoothie Bowl

Yields 2 servings

2 ripe frozen bananas
2 cups (280 grams) Dole Frozen Tropical Gold® Pineapple Chunks
3/4 cup (180 mL) full-fat coconut milk
3/4 cup (180 mL) milk
Ice, optional

Toppings (optional)
Banana slices
Dole Frozen Tropical Gold® Pineapple Chunks
Toasted coconut flakes
Chia seeds

Place all smoothie ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Divide servings equally between two glasses or two bowls. For smoothie bowls, top with desired toppings, and serve immediately.

This post is sponsored through a partnership with Dole Sunshine. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I am incredibly excited to be working with Dole Sunshine because of the excellent quality of their frozen & preserved fruits. Thank you for supporting Pastry Affair & my wonderful sponsors!