Spiced Carrot Cake
My mission this week was to share a carrot cake recipe from my collection of cookbooks. As your culinary consultant (we are so high end, non?), my aim was to edit out the good from the bad. With a smug attitude, I tried a few recipes, assuming the end results would be bombastic. In the end, I walked away from each thinking I should have put my foot in it. The recipes seriously needed the Karate Kid to come by and drop kick in some flavor. As a compassionate cook, I will fiercely guard the anonymity of the authors, because shoot, some of their recipes kick major bootie.
Just so we are on the same page, I am one of you. I have not forgotten what it is like to slice into a hot buttermilk biscuit, slam on a pat of butter, then wait for that butta to melt. To lead you down the garden path of vegetarian bliss, then have you gnawing off your fingers after dessert would be a crime. Indeed, we are not trapped in a deep ravine near Mount Everest, so we should act accordingly. Over the years, I have noticed that “conscious” recipes ask your taste buds to forget their past and steam on with a depressing future of culinary austerity. However “yummy” brown rice syrup was in 1985, agave, maple syrup, and even dark muscovado sugar seem a more potently modern, delcious alternative. Since we are in agreement that life is too short, that one can healthy and happy, I see no reason to sacrifice flavor.
I came up with this lil’ ditty on my own. I rolled up my sleeves and hit the floured trenches. My tasting advisor for the mission was none other than my husband, Toby. He will forever be the one I have to win over. Once in a while, he sneaks off to see what’s happening on the other side, i.e., he periodically visits In and Out Burger. That’s right, I said it. I did
tell you that I was one of you, didn’t I? Don’t get it twisted: I will never, ever, eat at such an establishment, because my taste buds have moved over to the Promised Land. My heart just doesn’t skip a beat for stodgy white buns, and burgers made from confused cows. Toby goes out to sneak his burger, then promptly moans about how lethargic and unhealthy he feels. Go figure. Anyhoo, Toby is the man I love, and with patience, the man I continually win over. You have no idea how enjoyable it is to watch him polish off my Marinated Tofu Salad.
Who would have thought a few years ago?
As we are going for full throttle decadence, I would suggest using organic ingredients whenever possible. It’s much better for your health, and there’s a lot less guilt involved.
Spiced Carrot Cake
2 1/2 cups organic whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cup agave
1 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (reserve a few for decoration)
Softened Cream Cheese Frosting
3 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar sifted
1/4 cup Tofutti dairlyless cream cheese softened
1/4 cup vegetable margarine softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon
pinch of fine sea salt
Prepare the Cake
Preheat the oven to 325º
1. In a large mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
2. In another bowl, and the wet ingredients, and using a hand mixer, blend until throughly combined. Mix in the carrots, raisins, and walnuts.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix (taking care not over mix).
5. Pour the batter into a oiled and floured loaf tin, or a 9 inch cake tin. Bake the cake for 30-45 minutes. Test with a knife. The cake is finished when the knife comes out clean (I test in a few places to be sure). Cool in the tin on a wire rack.
For the Frosting
1. In a bowl, mix the softened cream cheese and vegetable margarine.
2. Using a hand held mixer, whisk in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, finally adding the last 1/2 cup.
3. Add the vanilla, juice and zest, and whisk until combined. Cover and chill in the refrigerator until the cake is cooled.
The frosting does not have the same consistency of cream cheese. It is a moreish puddle of lemony luxury.
4. Remove the cake from the tin, and place on a plate or cake stand. Frost using swirly movements. Decorate with walnuts. Serve immediately.
Lordy, these babies are good: Most, chewy, and gloriously fruity. They soften the hard edges of your day, and keep your lil' monsters smiling when the going gets tough. If only I had the problem of sharing my new choo choo with a friend.
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