Right. Where do I start?
I think I had carrot cake for the first time about 4 years ago. Somehow I remember I really liked it. Belgium not being big on carrot cakes (or is it?), I didn’t eat carrot cake since.
All very confusing then why I suddenly woke up craving carrot cake. And not only craving it, but deciding I need to bake one. There is nothing to tie me to a carrot cake. Nothing. Zilch. I like carrots, yes, but as a savory dish. Sure, I like cakes, but I am more a pie person. And to top it all up, I am not really going through a sweet phase either.
Anyway, long story short – it was carrot cake time in our kitchen. Not having any reference points to what they should look like, taste like (?) or anything else I went for it. For all intend and purpose this probably is about as suicidal as it can get in a kitchen. I am sure many of you carrot cake bakers there must of be going ‘ouch! There comes the flop.’
Not one to disappoint, yes, the flop was only 30min away. But let’s start with the beginning. Ingredients on hand, see below, I started my carrot cake magic mixing. I have to say the orange of grated carrots is a lovely colour. Seriously – I could definitely go for a KitchenAid in that shade of orange. Stunning.
Some more mixing.
And it was baking time. Two things I need to mention here: when the recipe asks for a 18cm large tin, use one. And when the recipe asks for bicarbonate of soda, you guessed it, use it. Me being me, and new to all this carrot’ing, didn’t. So out came the carrot cake.
Here is where it got funny. Mark comes in, goes, oh you’ve been baking. What is it? Me, very proud: my first carrot cake. Mark: that’s not a carrot cake. Me: yes, it is. Mark: no, it isn’t. Me: yes it is. (See the pattern?). Mark, opting for compromise: it might have carrots in it, but this is not a carrot cake. Me: yes, it is, look (pointing to the recipe). Mark: no, it isn’t, look (pointing to the photo).
This went on for another 15min or so, time in which the carrot cake cooled down. We both had a slice. We both had opinions after. All I can you tell you is this: I will be baking this carrot cake over and over again, till I get it right. And if you have a carrot cake recipe which is fool proof you’d like to share, please do. So I can bake that one too.
Trust me, carrot cakes and me are not done yet.
Carrot Cake with(out) Cream Cheese Frosting (serves 10)
4tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
3 medium organic eggs
300gr carrots, grated
125gr demerara sugar
50gr walnuts, chopped
175gr plain flour
75gr plain wholemeal flour
1tbsp ground cinnamon
2tbsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Grease a deep, 18cm round cake tin and set aside. Beat the eggs in a large bowl., then add the carrots, vegetable oil, sugar and walnuts. Mix well. Sift the flours and cinnamon into a separate bowl and mix. Gently stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture, until half combined. Heat the milk in a pan until warm, then remove from the heat and add to the mixture until just combined. Do not over-mix.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. If it’s not ready, bake for a further 5 minutes, then test again. Leave to cool in the tin.
(Recipe from Delicious Magazine, pg. 106, June 2008)