There are 2 kind of people in the world – those who love carrot cakes and those who don’t.. well it gets a little more complicated than that . Regardless , whichever group you fall into chances are you will like this Spiced Carrot Cake . It is made with hearty whole wheat , with a touch of spices enhancing the nutty warm tones. The cream cheese frosting is optional but absolutely delicious when paired with the warm tones of the cake . Without the icing this could pass for a healthy breakfast option .. .
Among vegetables carrots have high sugar content . Before processed sugar became so common carrots were used in deserts around the world . The shredded carrots cooks in the cake and helps retain some moisture . These cakes are usually moist and denser and many times loaded with other mix ins like raisins and nuts . Many of the recipes call for copious amounts of sugar and fat robbing it of its nutritional advantages and loading it with empty calories .
It does not have to be so . Cakes like these are perfect when made with whole wheat flour . Sugar is not the star here , there are more earthy , nutty robust flavors for the adult palate . Cutting back on the sugar allows the robust flavors of the carrots and spices shine through . Slather on the icing for those time when you need a sugar high , but for me I will have these plain any day with a hot cup of Joe .
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the sides . Set aside . Coarsely grate the carrots and set aside. Use the food processor or the grater . The goal is to get thin pieces of carrots about 2 mm thick or so . Sift the dry ingredients , and spice powders – Whole Wheat flour , cinnamon , cardamon , ginger , nutmeg , salt and baking powder – together . In another bowl beat oil and egg until uniformly blended .
Add the yogurt and vanilla essence to the wet ingredients and mix well until no lumps remain and uniformly mixed . Sift the dry ingredients over this reserving 1 tbsp . With a spatula or wooden spoon fold the dry ingredients into the wet . Toss the chopped nuts in the reserved flour and set aside .
Add the grated carrots to the batter and fold in . Reserve about 1 tbsp of nuts and fold the rest into the batter . Of course you can always mix in all the nuts at this time .
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the reserved nuts on top . Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick/tester inserted in the center comes out clean . Cool in the pan for a few minutes before inverting into a cooling rack to cool completely .
While the cake is cooling prepare the icing . The quantity given here is just sufficient for a smooth spread over the top or to make a semi clad version . Make sure that the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature (softened) before starting . Take butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat together until blended . Add about 2 C sifted icing sugar and mix in and vanilla and beat in until thick and creamy and soft peaks form on the beater . . Taste and add extra sugar if necessary .
Place the cake on a serving platter . Pile the frosting on top . Spread using the back of a spoon or offset spatula . Do not worry about getting a smooth finish . Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top (optional) and decorate with chopped nuts .
WWFlour - 11/2 C (180 gms)
Granulated Sugar - 3/4 C
Cinnamon - 1 Tsp
Cardamom - 1/4 Tsp
Ginger - 1/2 Tsp
Nutmeg - 1/4 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Baking Powder - 2 Tsp
Carrots - 1 1/2 C Coarsely grated
Oil - 1/3 C (any flavorless like Canola )
Thick Yogurt - 3/4 C
Egg - 1
Walnut - 1/2 C
Vanilla - 1/2 Tsp
Unsalted Butter - 4 Tbsp
Cream Cheese - 1/2 C
Icing Sugar - 2 to 21/2 C
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 Tsp
Chopped Walnuts - 2 Tbsp
Cinnamon - A Pinch
Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Prepare a 9" round cake pan . Place the chopped nuts on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Coarsely grate the carrots. Sift the dry ingredients - flour , salt , cinnamon , cardamon , ginger , nutmeg and baking powder together. In another bowl beat the eggs and oil together until blended well . Add the yogurt and vanilla essence to this and mix well.Mix 1 tablespoon of flour with the nuts . Add the remaining dry ingredients to the wet and gently fold in using a spatula .Fold in the grated carrots and the chopped nuts reserving 1 tbsp . Pour the batter to the prepared baking pan . Sprinkle the reserved nuts on top .
Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 30 - 35 minutes.The cake is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean .Remove from the oven , let cool in the pan for 5 minutes .Invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely .
Make the Frosting
Sift the icing sugar and set aside .Place the softened butter and cream cheese in a bowl and beat together until blended .Add vanilla and about 2 cups of icing sugar and beat in until thick and creamy and soft peaks forms on the beater .Taste and add extra sugar if necessary .
Putting it together
Place the cake on the server , top side up . Pile a layer of frosting on top . Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to to spread the the frosting leaving a rustic look .Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon and decorate with chopped nuts .
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