This is the recipe that started our neighborhood potluck tradition. The Tokarskis brought this over for an Easter get-together, and we talked about it for weeks afterward. It’s light and fluffy and can go with almost anything.


  • ½ cup (1 stick) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split


Preheat the oven to 350°F and adjust a rack to the center position. Grease a 3-quart baking dish.

Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over high heat, cooking until the butter is just starting to brown around the edges. Add the carrots and the thyme sprigs and cook over high heat until the carrots begin to develop a nice golden brown color, about 15 minutes. Slide the skillet into the oven and roast the carrots until they are very soft, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and discard the thyme sprigs.

Add the remaining ½ cup of butter and the sugars to the carrots and use an electric mixer on medium-high speed to beat the mixture until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and maple syrup, then use the tip of a knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Beat on medium until well combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.