Lifestyle & Culture

Kitchen Detail: A Cake for Queen Anne

October 19, 2023

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A variation on Camille Glen’s carrot cake. / iStock photo.

By Nancy Pollard

After owning one of the best cooking stores in the US for 47 years—La Cuisine: the Cook’s Resource, in Alexandria, Virginia—Nancy Pollard now writes Kitchen Detail, a blog about food in all its aspects—recipes, film, books, travel, superior sources and food-related issues. She and her husband, the Resident Wine Maniac, have recently moved to Italy.

MOST CARROT cakes have vegetable oil, nuts, and often shredded coconut, which makes for a very moist and sometimes dense cake. This one is different. I have adapted it from Camille Glenn’s Heritage of Southern Cooking (if you want to purchase it, get The Heritage of Southern Cooking contains a great Queen Anne's Cake recipethe original version and not the later coffee table one). Since the Resident Wine Maniac is Southern and I am not, I have used this book many times to re-create dishes he loved growing up. Camille called her carrot cake Queen Anne’s Cake, after Queen Anne’s Lace, which is a valid carrot relative (no link to the unfortunate English Queen). It is light in flavor and texture—and can be made ahead. She apparently used it for wedding cakes, so we know the batter ingredients can be easily multiplied. This cake freezes well before frosting.

I use mascarpone instead of cream cheese, because I find that the latter can have a heavy, gummy texture. Use your paddle beater when making the icing so that the mascarpone blends instead of being over-whipped. The Vanilla Essence from Grasse, France is more aromatic and powerful than our domestic extracts and you will use less.

Queen Anne’s Cake

Yields one 8-inch or 9-inch cake.
Recipe by Camille Glen.
Adapted from The Heritage of Southern Cooking.
  1. 1 cup (227gr) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  2. 1 cup (225gr) white caster sugar (or you can use all white sugar)
  3. 1 cup (198gr) Light Muscovado sugar
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. 2 cups (100gr) grated carrots
  6. 2 cups (280gr) white all-purpose flour
  7. 2 teaspoons (5gr) ground cinnamon
  8. ½ teaspoon (1gr) ground ginger
  9. 1 teaspoon (5gr) fine sea salt
  10. 1 teaspoon (3gr) baking soda
  11. 1 teaspoon (4.2gr) vanilla extract or vanilla paste OR ¼ teaspoon vanilla essence (see Note 5 below)
  12. Optional syrups
For the frosting
  1. 4 ounces (114gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  2. 8 ounces (228gr) mascarpone
  3. 2¾ cups (352gr) sifted confectioner’s sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons (8.4gr) pure vanilla paste or extract OR ½ teaspoon vanilla essence (see Note 5 below)
  5. Pinch of fine sea salt
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350F (180C) and grease and flour two 9-inch (23cm) cake pans.
  3. Cream the butter with the chosen sugars until smooth.
  4. Add the eggs and continue beating until the mixture is silky, almost like mayonnaise.
  5. Beat in the grated carrots.
  6. Separately, combine the flour with the cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt (you may want to sift them together).
  7. Fold the dry mixture into the carrot mixture and then fold in the vanilla.
  8. Spoon the batter into each of the prepared cake pans. They should be about 2/3 thirds full. (See Note 3 below.)
  9. Place the cake layers in the middle shelf of your oven and bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched. This should take about 25 minutes.
  10. Cool the cake layers for about 5 minutes and unmold them both onto a cake rack to cool completely.
  11. I normally brush my cake layers with a syrup, usually flavored with rum, lemon, or vanilla, but that is optional.
  12. For the frosting: 
  13. Whisk the butter in the mixer until it is light and smooth and then add the mascarpone in ¼-cup additions so that it becomes well blended with the butter. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar, then the salt and vanilla.
  14. Mixture should be smooth, but chill it until it has a good spreading consistency.- This may take an hour.
  15. Spread the top of the base layer with some of the frosting,
  16. Center the second layer and frost the top (and the sides if you like the cake to be completely covered).
  1. I make the frosting first and then the cake.
  2. You can add other ground spices in small amounts, such as mace, grated nutmeg, ground allspice, or ground cloves.
  3. If you use 8-inch layer pans, the cake will be a bit higher.
  4. The original recipe called for 2 cups of white sugar, but I like the flavor of the Light Muscovado sugar; Muscovado will make the cake a bit more dense.
  5. The flavoring essences from Grasse, France, are superior to our domestic flavoring extracts. You will use less, and the flavor and aroma will be exceptional. These are the ones that we carried at La Cuisine. They are available at

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