Supreme carrot cake-A A +A
Pots and Pans
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
AN ALTERNATIVE and popular cake with added nutrients, vitamins and fibers, a healthy and superb carrot cake is sure to be a hit with everyone, young and old alike.
This was one of the earliest cakes I have ever done in my quest for a dessert that can I can fully enjoy with added benefits. And I was so happy it became one of my mainstays in my list of “favorites” even until now.
Basic ingredients would include grated carrots, flour, sugar, eggs, oil, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla. But because of our creativity and quest for something unique, or shall I say something more upscale, so many other “special” ingredients are added for a better result and taste. And which eventually became synonymous with this “vegetarian” cake.
Let’s start with flour. Some uses cake flour, some uses all-purpose flour and even bread flour while others would go for the healthier option, wheat flour.
Since carrot cakes are almost always fool-proof, there is nothing to worry about, although the consistency and make-up of the finished product may vary.
Carrots. Any kind of carrots will do, large, medium, small. Size doesn’t matter because it has to be shredded anyway. So, try to buy the cheapest ones (usually the smallest sizes). And try to make lots of these in time when prices of carrots hit their lowest.
Eggs. Of course we are referring to chicken eggs and it is always large eggs (although I tend to use extra large eggs for a bigger and better size) which for me does not make a difference.
Oil. Vegetable oil or corn oil is normally the practice. But for the more delicate and “expensive” taste -buds, one can use olive oil for added health benefits. Now, we are talking!
Sugar. Plain table sugar is the choice but then to give it a more pronounced color, brown sugar can be used. Although for diabetics, I would consider coconut sugar because of its low glycemic level. Stevia is a good natural substitute. Agave sweetener is picking up. It can also be done with sugar substitute if one chooses to.
Cinnamon. This is always an essential part of this cake while nutmeg, allspice can also be used to provoke the senses!
Vanilla. It gives a smooth and sweet delicate aroma while baking and definitely, while enjoying a slice or two. I would highly recommend pure vanilla as compared to artificial vanilla because of the end result. Artificial vanilla tends to give a “chemical” taste, too. Some would opt for lemon or orange extract with the addition of the zest which really brings the flavor to the next level!
Now, here are the “extras” which I would absolutely consider to be as important as the rest of the ingredients for a grand and exciting cake!
Nuts. Walnuts and pecans would impart a crunchy bite to the moist cake. Almonds, macadamia. However, cashew nuts would also do justice to it. Some would use peanuts which is also good. Make sure they are chopped coarsely (though I really don’t mind big chunks of nuts!) and added towards the end of the mixture. They also add fiber and minerals.
Raisins. Absolutely nice contrast to the “orangey” color of the cake that gives little dark spots all over. Sultanas would be better choice for a light contrast instead. I wouldn’t mind chopped dried plums or even apricots.
Pineapple. Crushed pineapples (canned or fresh) make the cake moister and again, added fiber. It also gives a sweeter cake so one should lessen the amount of sugar (unless unsweetened type is used). Just make sure they are drained well. And who would say mangoes are not allowed? Peaches? Coconut? Or even apples? Strawberries, perhaps? So, using of fruits can definitely be an integral part of this repertoire! Now, this can be called a veggie-fruit cake!
Other bakers can be more expressive and explorative, thus one can even add chocolate chips (minus the other mentioned ingredients for obvious reasons), squash or pumpkin, or even beets for that reddish tinge. Endless possibilities.
Minus the ultra-rich and calorie-laden “cream cheese” frosting, this is definitely a nourishing and healthful dessert one can dig in every day. Here’s the basic recipe.
2½ cups grated carrots
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1½ tsp cinnamon powder
4 pcs eggs
1½ cup sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp vanilla
But then again, why not splurge once in a while? Enjoy life to the utmost, end a wonderful meal with a great and superb dessert! Moderation, again, is the key!
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 28, 2013.