Wednesday, June 07, 2006

carrot cake

i have never been much of a fan of carrot cake. the café versions i’ve sampled have been dense, greasy and slathered with enough cream cheese frosting to pop you up a pants size just by fingering it through its scratched and dull plexiglass case. having said this, i love both carrots and spice cakes. from fran costigans more great good dairy-free desserts, this cake fulfills almost all my criteria for a good cake, vegan or otherwise. it is moist without being gummy, rich-tasting without being greasy, sweet without making my teeth tingle, and light in texture. i reduced the oil in the original recipe by half with excellent results. aside from being less oily to the touch, the texture and flavor were identical to a batch made with the full amount. more great good dairy free desserts and it predecessor, great good desserts naturally, focus on the use of less refined ingredients. this carrot cake, for example uses no refined white sugar but is sweetened with real maple syrup, orange juice and raisins. sounds kinda hippy-birkenstock-crunchy but it doesn’t taste that way. so far I’ve tried only one other recipe from this book, vanilla wafer cookies, which uses a combination of arrowroot powder and unbleached white flour and again is sweetened with only a touch of maple syrup. they are reminiscent of a cross between animal crackers and nilla wafers. cut into tiny little shapes (about 1” x 1”) they are perfect for dipping into a cup of tea. and then there is this nocturnal-emission-inducing coconut cloud layer cake that i’m eyeing with a lust of biblical proportions. as for the frosting, i just slapped together a very basic buttercream to fix the two layers together. consisting of non-hydrogenated margarine (earth balance), soymilk, powdered sugar and a few drops of vanilla it’s not very good for you, and to be frank, not all that spectacular tasting so i’m not going to post it. i’m still looking for that fluffy, not too sweet, delicious frosting of my dreams so it anyone out there has one, please share!

24 karrot cake
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup canola oil (i reduced this amount to 2 Tablespoons)
1 cup +2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 cups peeled & grated carrots

preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8 inch round cake pans or line cup cake tins with paper liner. if using cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides (or use a baking spray). for cupcakes, a quick shot of pan spray inside the liners will help avoid sticking. soak the raisins in the orange juice for about 10 minutes. drain the raisins and reserve the orange juice. if you are in a hurry you can put them in the microwave for 3 minutes or so to encourage rehydration. sift the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. in another larger mixing bowl measure out the oil, maple syrup, soymilk, vinegar, vanilla and orange extracts, plus the orange juice from soaking the raisins. pour dry ingredients into wet and whisk until blended. fold in the carrots and raisins. pour into cake or cupcake tins and bake for 30-35 minutes (cakes) or 20 minutes (cupcakes). cool for 10 minutes and remove from tins.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the recipe! looks like the perfect carrot cake!

6:01 AM  
Blogger Carrie™ said...

yumyumyum! A non-greasy carrot cake that isn't sickly sweet, so it won't eat the enamel off my teeth as I indulge. I like how you only used frosting in the center. Slathered all over the outside of the cake is over-kill, don't ya think?

9:22 AM  
Blogger KleoPatra said...

Wow, now THAT's a great karat kake!!!

Thanks for sharing ...

7:11 PM  
Blogger Shirley said...

Yum carrot cake! Why have I started seeing cake recipes that have vinegar in them? Do you think that I could leave it out because I don't use vinegar. I don't want to buy it just for a cake and I don't even know if they have apple cider vinegar here.

1:26 AM  
Blogger The Overworked Barista said...

It's actually because of the chemical reaction but apple cider is a very common ingrediant to find. It's usually near the oils and most vegan (which also happen to be lowfat and large butt syndrome friendly) cakes I've seen use it with baking soda in replace of the lack of leavening (egg yolk/whites)

5:51 PM  
Blogger The Overworked Barista said...

Ah, forgot to add, I've used cheapo 63 cents vinegar instead of apple cider in recipes before, and it had no real significant effect on the flavor ( although apple cider vinegar has the edge)

I've also found in in odd places like walmart and GNC under elixers. It's supposed to be great for helping those with GERD and other reflux diseases.

3:42 PM  
Blogger obachan said...

Looks good and guilt-free :)

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks great, I'm already checking my cupboards for the ingredients. I did notice there is a cream cheese-looking center, and the recipe doesn't say anything about it... ;)

5:04 AM  
Blogger rae said...

johanna3: it really is a great carrot cake!
carrie: yeah, i agree. i like naked cakes...
kleopatra: your welcome, but you should really check out the cookbook from whence it came - it's great.
waist watcher: you could omit the vinegar but the result will be less light. in fact, in her previous book, the author published the recipe sans vingear. BUT you don't taste it at all and it does make it a little nicer.
the barista worker: yeah, that's right. any mild tasting, unflavore, white vinegar would probably work.
obachan: guilt free? i wish there were such a thing...
jesska: i didn't post the recipe because i wasn't very pleased with it. basically earthbalance margarine, powdered sugar, a bit of soymilk and some vanilla beaten until smooth...

8:45 AM  
Blogger Dori said...

Cake looks great! Okay,so the middle layer needs some work... I think I'll try this one anyways.

12:25 AM  
Blogger Mélanie said...

Carrot cakes are so good.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

I have say, I have mixed feelings about this cake. Once people tasted it, they fell in love. They kept asking for it...and asking for it...and asking for it. Now I'm stuck in an evil downward spiral of food processing carrots and spending hundreds of dollars on maple syrup. Damn, you, Fran and your baking genius!

5:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love carrot cake.
and i have know the icing your talking about it came with this cake mixture .. i think it was for lemon cake. but boy was it good :)

gracie <3 (heart)

12:05 AM  
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12:54 AM  
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7:08 PM  

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