Ginger Carrot Kraut Cake

What You'll Need

  • Skull cake mold, or 2 10” cake pans - NOTE: We sell these pans in our store but not online. If you are not nearby you can purchase a U.S.A. Made Skull cake pan from Nordicware here
  • medium mixing bowl
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • sifter or mesh strainer
  • serrated knife
  • large mixing bowl
  • mixing spoons
  • pastry brush
  • spatula
  • wooden skewers to support skull mold, if using
Ingredients for cake
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • 3 cups Carrot Kraut (find the recipe in Fermented Vegetables, or use one of the substitutions suggested below
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
For Buttercream filling
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Many of us are familiar with Sally Fallon’s seminal book, Nourishing Traditions. In it, she presents a lovely recipe for Gingered Carrots, which in turn has been adapted in Fermented Vegetables, the source of inspiration for this fantastic cake recipe. We in turn have adapted the recipe to our own ends again. If you don’t already make the Ginger Carrot Kraut that the recipe calls for, never fear; just make a batch of Fermented Carrots and shred them up, adding fresh grated ginger to taste. Immunity Boost Kraut might also be a good substitute.

This recipe is delicious made in a pair of 10” cake pans, but we thought this seasonal skull mold was just too much fun to pass up. If you are decorating the finished cake with flowers, as we do here, please be sure to use organically grown flower petals; many commercially grown flowers have nasty chemical residues. It goes without saying, too, (though I guess we are going to say it anyway) that it’s important to make sure all flowers used are in fact safe to eat. Have fun, and don’t be afraid to eat your delicious creation!

Use your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, if desired, to coat the outside of the cake.


Flowers and Seeds to Decorate the Cake. 

We used petals collected from Jacob’s Ladder rose, tithonia, sunflower, gallardia, bachelors button, marigold, and zinnia flowers, as well as fennel and nigella seeds and opal basil leaves to create this beauty. Geranium, pansy, and sage flowers would also work well; make sure that all flowers are organically grown and not recently transplanted from conventional nursery stock. Poppy seeds or cocoa powder would also work well for the eyes and nose cavities. 

Cake Directions

1) Preheat your oven and prepare your cake pans

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and lightly flour the cake pans.
butter and flour the pans

2) Mix the dry ingredients

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a medium bowl.
sift dry ingredients

3) Mix the wet ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil, and orange zest. Stir in the carrot kraut.
mix wet ingredients

combine wet and dry4) Combine wet and dry to form the batter

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until combined. Add the nuts and dried fruit.

wet and dry ingredients

carrot cake recipe

5) Fill your cake pans

Pour the batter into prepared pans; distribute the batter evenly between the two mold halves. Tap each pan to remove any air bubbles.
filling cake pans

6) Bake

Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. 

7) Cool and decorate

Allow the cake to cool for at least 15 minutes inside the pan before removing it. Remove the cake halves from the pan. Let the cake cool completely before assembling and decorating.


Directions for the Buttercream

1) Cream the butter

In a bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy.
buttercream frosting recipe

2) Add the additional ingredients to combine

Add the confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt, and beat until light and fluffy. Stop to scrape down the bottom and sides of bowl as needed.buttercream frosting

Assembling a Traditional Cake

If using traditional cake molds, spread the buttercream on what will be the bottom layer of the cake. Place the upper layer on top of the buttercream filling. Frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, if desired, or for a healthier alternative, use sour cream.

Assembling the Skull Cake

When completely cool, return the cake halves back into the pan.
With a serrated knife, gently saw any excess cake that may have risen above the pan. 
leveling a cake Remove the back half of the cake from the pan, leaving the front (face) half in the pan. Spread a thin layer of buttercream on the front half that is still in the pan.
buttercream frosting a cakeTake the back half of the cake and press it down gently into the buttercream to secure the halves together.
assembling a cakeFor additional stability, place a skewer into the base of the skull, and another into the upper half of the skull on the back side of the cake.

stabilizing a cakeLet the buttercream cool completely before decorating.
Frost the skull with your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe. We just blended a stick of cream cheese with sugar and 2 tbs butter to create an impromptu icing. We were left with plenty of icing for other purposes; even half of this formula would yield enough icing to frost the cake. A spatula gets the base layer on; a pastry brush is a helpful tool to spread it on evenly enough to allow the definition of the skull to shine through.

Slice the mouth open carefully, and insert a marigold or rose for the skull to clench in her teeth. Arrange the flower petals as desired. Seeds or cocoa powder darken the eye and nose areas and add a welcome contrast.

Have fun, and let your imagination run wild!

Over to You...

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food, more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.