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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's a Cake! It's A Bread! It's Delicious!

I've been in a cakey mood lately.  I realize that this flies in the face of all good judgment.  After all, isn't it I who recently cut way back on my carbs so as to regain my svelte thirty years ago body?

Yes, that would be me.  But as everyone always says, you only live once.  What good is all that carb cutting if you can't splurge every so often and enjoy a nice little piece of cake.  It's no good at all.  That's what I always say.  But that's just me.  In my ever so humble opinion.  (For the record, Ted is now coughing and choking at the mere implication that I would consider any of my opinions ever so humble.  Or, for that matter, humble at all.)

But back to today's recipe.

This carrot concoction isn't a cake so much as a quick bread, although my sister always says that quick breaks and muffins are just cakes in a different format.  And she's probably right about that.  In fact, she's right about a lot of things, but I'm going to cling to the word bread here and pretend that this isn't really a cake at all.

That this carrot cake/bread is is delicious.  And it was the best ever use for those meaty carrots I received in last week's CSA basket.  Although I could have done lots of other things with those pretty carrots, somehow baking them into something sweet and special seemed just right.

Smear this baby with a little cream cheese or a delicious jam, or both, pour yourself a cup of tea, and sit back and enjoy yourself.  To hell with those nasty little carbs.

Recipe:  Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil
Smitten Kitchen

Note:  I added 1/4 cup of golden raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped to the batter because in my world, carrot cake always includes raisins and walnuts.  But that's just me.


2 1/3 cups (290 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon (5 grams) table or fine sea salt
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder (I prefer aluminum-free)
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground or a bunch of gratings of whole nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
3/4 cup (145 grams) dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (205 ml) apple cider (updated and reduced to help cake bake through; see suggestions below)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 cups packed coarsely grated carrots from about 12 ounces (3 meaty/large or 6 to 7 slim or 340 grams) whole, peeled ones
Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan* with olive oil or a nonstick cooking spray. If yours is old and you’re nervous about the cake sticking, it cannot hurt to line yours with a fitted rectangle of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, brown sugar, eggs, cider and vanilla. Stir grated carrots into wet ingredients until evenly coated, then stir wet ingredients into dry just until no floury bits remain.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out batter-free. Let cool in loaf pan for 20 minutes, then cool the rest of the way on a rack. Loaf should keep at room temperature for a few days, and longer in the fridge. It’s even more moist on the second day.

Whatever you do, definitely avoid making a cream cheese frosting-like spread whipped together from 4 ounces of softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extra and 6 tablespoons powdered sugar, some of which can be replaced with honey or maple syrup but will make for a softer spread. It will unquestionably compromise this cake’s dairy-free status. It might be dangerously good.

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