What! Carrot Cake! How does that fit into our category, fruits and vegetables? i mean, it’s cake!
Hold the phone Alice. This lesson will show you that veggies are much more versatile than most people would ever think. They can be used in savory dishes, as wonderful sides, in soups, and in deserts. We are simply using a sweet, and nutrient rich veggie to make a desert. So, here’s how we’re going to do it.
Carrots are a member of the class – root vegetable. They are starchy, and store much of their energy needs in the form of starches and sugars, all located in the root, that part that we eat. Similar vegetables include turnips and rutabagas, beets, potatoes, celery root, onions, etc. In fact you could easily substitute some of these for the carrots in this recipe. I would be willing to substitute beets for the carrots. I think it would make a very colorful, and tasty cake. I just might have to a bit of experimenting. But don’t worry. This recipe is delicious, and has been proven by baking the cake, and serving it to a great number of people, with its wonderful cream cheese frosting.
This cake uses two leavening agents to make it rise to perfection, baking powder, and baking soda. The baking soda reacts with slightly acidic carrots, and crushed pineapple, balancing the batter and allowing the baking powder to do its work. Remember way back in the lesson group where we worked with quick-breads, and I told you that if you add acidic ingredients, you have to ballance the batter by adding an alkali. This recipe is a perfect example of that principle.
The eggs in the recipe add body, loft, and improve the crumb, binding together the starches to the pineapple and pecans. The yolks also emulsify the cooking oil, allowing it to blend with the other batter liquids.
The original recipe I was given for this wonderful cake had so much cooking oil in it that you could squeeze the finished cake like a sponge, and oil would drip out. I took one bite and through that cake away. Soooo, what do you think I did to solve the problem? No Freddy, I didn’t rub it around in my hair to slick it down. Not all of us live in the fifties.
Karen, how do you think I solved the problem? What’s that, add more flour? I could have. But then I would have had to add more of everything else. I didn’t want to do that. Too much math involved. Instead, I decreased the amount of oil in the recipe by half. I baked the cake and it came out moist, tender, and very tasty. To this day, I use the altered recipe, and everyone who eats that cake is happy that I do.
Here’s the ingredient list:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional)
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (optional)
3/4 cup oil
4 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 tbs. dark molasses (optional)
1/8 cup pineapple juice
Fruit & Nut Ingredients:
2 cups finely shredded carrots (about seven carrots)
1 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans
1/4 cup crushed pineapple
Assemble your ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the oil and eggs into a large bowl and whisk until well blended.
Add the cinnamon into the batter.
Add the pineapple and 1/8th cup of pineapple juice. This make it easy to blend these ingredients into the batter. Combine all of the dry ingredients into the same bowl and whisk until blended.
Fold in the grated carrots, then the remaining fruit & nut ingredients. The final batter looks like this.
Grease and flour a 10 inch spring form pan, or a 9 X 12 cake pan.
After pouring the cake into the pan, bounce it lightly to remove any air bubbles. Now, pop that baby into the oven for an hour.
Ok, the cake is baking. Though the cake is yummy enough to eat without frosting, his cream cheese frosting compliments the carrot cake so perfectly, that it’s almost ridiculous not to use it.
Now I have to confess something. No Angie, I don’t smoke cigars behind the woodshed. My confession is much more serious. I made the frosting wrong and took my final picture for this lesson with the sub-standard frosting. So the picture you see isn’t what the cake looked like in the end. What I had done wrong was try to make my frosting from memory. I added twice the butter than was called for in the recipe. It tasted great, but was too soft, and too thin. After frosting the cake and taking the picture, my dear wife pointed out my mistake. She dug out the recipe and I perused the ingredient list. I had all of the correct ingredients, just double the amount of butter needed. So I removed as much frosting as I could from the cake and put it back in the bowl. I doubled the remaining ingredients and mixed everything completely. The frosting came out silky smooth and tasted wonderful. I spread that frosting on the cake, very artistically I might add, and took it to a church pot-luck. It got eaten ridiculously quick and got me rave reviews. I even had one lady tell me she didn’t like carrot cake. But if the cake looked like it had good frosting, she would take a piece and eat the frosting. She ate all of my carrot cake and asked me for the recipe. You will get the same kind of responses from this cake. Just remember, my version, as good as it is, is just a starting point. You can change it. In any case, here’s the frosting recipe.
Cream Cheese Frosting
3 cups Powdered Sugar
3 tbs. whole milk
½ cup sweet-cream, unsalted Butter
16 oz. Cream Cheese
Melt butter. Add the cream cheese and stir with wire whisk, or beat with electric beater until well combined and smooth. Combine the milk and powdered sugar. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Slowly Mix the powdered sugar syrup into the cheese mixture until all is silky smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Heat to room temperature before spreading.
Until our next lesson, eat well, eat healthy. And remember:
“There is no success outside the home that can compensate for failure within the home.