Yes, I do know it´s still winter in the northern hemisphere, but this entry isn´t strictly about suntans… it´s more about carrots. Don´t worry, I´m not going to write a full entry about a carrot salad, more like a fantastic carrot cake.
Thing is, I love carrot cakes, yet I had only eaten them twice in my whole life. Here in Argentina they are pretty much unheard of, in fact, some people might think it odd to use carrots in a dessert. That´s actually what I thought when I was offered a piece of carrot cake with hazelnuts in Zurich back in mmmm 1997. But, since the tour we had booked included that dinner and the other choices for dessert were kind of blah, I thought to myself “what the hell” and ordered it. It was incredibly moist and packed with flavor and I rejoiced in every single bite. Yet when it was over, I had no way to replicate it (oh, Internet, how I love thee). Until I saw a recipe for it on tv and tried it… I didn´t love it as much, which is what usually happens when you have years and years to fantasize about and remember a particular dish… pretty much a recipe for disaster.
But after seeing the amazingly moist cake Brilynn came up with the other day, I just knew it was time to let go of fear and give carrot cakes another try… I mean, I can´t justify another trip to Switzerland just to have some carrot cake, right? well, now that I think about it, maybe I could…
I was all set to make it, yet I was missing some key ingredients for this particular recipe (like shredded coconut), so I decided to put it on hold for a while. Fate intervened in the form of the arrival of a new cookbook I had ordered online, which coincidentaly had a carrot cake recipe in it.
I did have to use dried apricots instead of white raisins, but that was pretty much all the tweaking I did. This is definitely one of those recipes that actually taste better the second day because the flavors get more intense as time goes by. And the cake is really moist so there´s no need to worry about it getting too dry.
I apologize for the crappy pictures, but I made the cake at night so the light wasn´t working for me. But, please trust me on this one, disregard the pictures and go for it, it´s a really easy recipe which tastes remarkably well… and can help you with your tan… what more can you ask for?
As you might have noticed, there is a yellow “powder” sprinkled over the frosting. Well, that´s a great tip I discovered thanks to my new book: lemon/orange powder. It is really simple and can really add to the presentation (and flavor) of many dishes. You simply peel some oranges or lemons with a potato peeler (trying not to get much of the white peel), put the peels in glass container and cover it with a lid (or with plastic wrap) and microwave it on maximum for 6 minutes (they say 6 minutes for the peel of 4 oranges, just adjust using your common sense, they peels should dry out). Let the peels cool for a few minutes and then grind them in the food processor until you get a nice powder.
Carrot cake (adapted and translated from La cocina de Mauricio y Eduardo)
Conversions from this great site.
Sugar 1 cup
Honey 100 grams (around half a cup)
All-purpose flour 210 grams (a little less than 1/2 a pound)
Baking powder 1 teaspoon
Ground cinammon 1 or 2 teaspoons
Nutmeg 1 teaspoon (I didn´t have any so I didn´t use it, it could work really well though)
Salt 1/2 a teaspoon
Corn oil (or canola oil) 160cc (5.6 ounces)
Finely grated carrots 1 1/2 cups
White raisins (or dried apricots or whatever you have you think could work) 1 cup
Pecans or walnuts 1 cup
1. Whisk the eggs with the sugar and the honey using an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 or 3 minutes.
2. Incorporate the previously sifted flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg to the egg mix. Add the oil.
3. Add the carrots, the nuts and the raisins/dried apricots.
4. Pour into a previously buttered/floured pan (I used a fluted pan of around 24 centimeters of diameter).
5. Cook in a 170°C/340°F oven for around 35 minutes (mine was done after 20 minutes, which might mean it was too hot or that they use a smaller pan and get a taller cake).