Once the first day of fall arrives, we’re finally allowed to celebrate all things pumpkin without risking a punch in the mouth. We’ll get our fill of pumpkin bread, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, and of course the ever-present pumpkin spice latte. With all this pumpkin overload, there’s another autumn-appropriate flavor that always gets upstaged by pumpkin, and that’s the humble carrot cake.
Carrot cake has just as much spice as its pumpkin-flavored counterparts, but with a lot more substance. Carrots, golden raisins, sweet pineapple, crunchy walnuts and all sorts of earthy spices. If carrot cake comes in the form of a warm and flaky scone, does that mean we can eat it for breakfast without ridicule? I hope so. And don’t forget the cream cheese frosting!
carrot cake scones
(makes 6 large wedges)
for the scone dough
2 3/4 c (340 g) flour
1/3 c + 2 T (101 g) granulated sugar
2 tsp (4 g) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 g) nutmeg
1/2 tsp (2 g) cloves
1 3/4 tsp (7 g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 g) baking soda
1/2 tsp (4 g) kosher salt
1 1/2 c (110 g) shredded carrot
1/2 c (96 g) golden raisins
1/2 c (74 g) walnuts
1/2 c (116 g) crushed pineapple, drained
2 sticks (8 oz) cold butter, chopped
1/4 tsp (2 g) cider vinegar
1 tsp (6 g) vanilla extract
1/2 c (4 oz) milk, plus a little extra
for brushing the scones
for the cream cheese icing
2 T (1 oz) butter, softened
2 T (1 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 c powdered sugar
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1 T milk
Let’s make some scone dough! Grab a 9 inch cake pan, line it with plastic wrap so that the plastic hangs over the sides, and set it aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the shredded carrot and the walnuts about 16 times until the mixture is in small pieces. Set this aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on speed 1 with the paddle for about 30 seconds to make sure it’s fully mixed. Add the cold butter and continue to mix on speed 1 for 3 minutes. The butter should be almost completely incorporated into the flour mixture, and look vaguely damp with some small chunks of butter visible. Dump in the carrot/walnut mixture, along with the raisins, and mix for 10 seconds on speed 1 to get it all well-mixed.
In a measuring cup, measure out the milk. Add the vinegar, and crack the egg into the cup and stir with a fork to break the yolk. Pour this into the mixer bowl along with the drained crushed pineapple, and mix on speed 1 for about 25 seconds, so that there isn’t any flour left in the bottom of the bowl.
Scrape the bowl well to ensure that everything’s all mixed up, and dump the dough into the plastic wrap-lined cake pan. Flatten it by hand and cover the surface with the overhanging plastic wrap. Throw the pan into the freezer and chill for about 45 minutes to an hour.
You like cream cheese frosting with your carrot cake, don’t you? These scones are going to get a healthy dose of a cream cheese icing drizzle, so let’s make some! Start by putting your softened cream cheese and softened butter in a small bowl. With the back of a large spoon, mash and stir the butter and cream cheese together until it’s well blended. Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Whisk together gently until it’s all smooth and not lumpy. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.
When there’s about 15 minutes left of scone-chilling time, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grab a sheet pan and line it with parchment paper. Once the scone dough is chilled fully, shake the dough out of the pan and remove the plastic. Set the round of dough on a cutting board. Brush the dough with a little milk and slice it into 6 even wedges. Set the wedges onto your prepared pan and bake them for 30-36 minutes, rotating the pan when they’re halfway done. You’ll know they’re done when they spring back slightly when pressed in the centers. If they don’t spring back, or if they feel mushy, add a few more minutes.
Once the scones come out, place them on a cooling rack and let them sit for at least 30 minutes. Grab your bowl of delicious cream cheese icing and using a spoon (or a Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off), drizzle the scones with the icing. Perfect!
These scones are the best when served fresh, but if you must serve them later, they’ll keep for about 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve them, just pop them one at a time onto a plate and microwave them for 15-25 seconds, until warm.
When the inevitable pumpkin headache sets in this fall, reach for a plate of these hearty scones. They’re full of awesome ingredients that will still remind you of all the best parts of fall — and who wouldn’t like carrot cake for breakfast?