Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday special: Carrot cake triumph

Carrot cake with maple-cream cheese frosting.

Our CSA provides us with more carrots than two people could possibly eat. It probably provides us with more carrots than ten people could possibly eat. We concluded that we had no choice but to turn them into baked goods!

This was our first attempt at carrot cake. When we tried to find a recipe for it, we discovered that most carrot cakes are made with vast quantities of vegetable oil of one type or another. Apparently, this is what gives it that characteristic moist, very dense texture. (Butter would not have the same effect.) Since evicting the canola from the house, Giselle has been on a crusade against use of vegetable and nut oils in baking, so we needed to find an alternative. Luckily, a little internet research revealed that substituting applesauce (or, apparently, crushed pineapple) for oil will produce the same dense texture and moisture. We still had some of our homemade applesauce in the freezer, which has been waiting for its day in the sun ever since we went apple-picking last fall. Well: today was its day.

Not feeling entirely satisfied with any one carrot cake recipe on the internet, we cobbled this one together based on a few different sites:


2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cup shredded carrots
1 cup applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs


8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup


Combine flour and the rest of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add carrots, applesauce, vanilla, and eggs and mix well. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13x9 inch baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake is completely done in the middle. Allow to cool before frosting.
To make icing, combine cream cheese and butter, then add maple syrup and mix in powdered sugar. When it is a smooth consistency spread it over the sheet cake.

The final result was creamy and delicious, and was the perfect dessert for our dinner party.

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