easy desserts & recipes: no frills seriously delicious carrot cake & passion cake recipe
Whoever thought of adding a vegetable to dessert to somehow ease the guilty pleasure is a genius! After all, a cake is only a cake, but the addition of carrots provides that distinct flavor that gives the otherwise ordinary cake a delicious twist. Carrot cake is also known as “Passion cake” and using carrots is an age old secret to create sweet cakes since the medieval period. Sweeteners were as valuable as gold and usually very expensive but carrots, with their natural sweetness, were a lot cheaper. The origins of carrot cake can be traced back to Norway, and during WWII it became a rationing staple in Britain when a businessman named George C. Page asked bakers to make use of an overabundance of canned carrots. The idea of a carrot cake worked wonders for creating a demand for the excess canned carrots! The Americans caught the carrot cake bug in the 1960’s when it became commonly available in restaurants. In the U.S., carrot cake was initially thought of as a novelty, but its velvety texture, mild sweetness, and overall scrumptious taste made it an instant hit. A simply delish carrot cake is straightforward, no frills, just plain and simple delectable. It instantly satisfies that sweet tooth craving minus the sugar overload.
Carrot CakeAdapted from The Joy of Baking
- 1 cup (100 grams) pecans or walnuts
- 3/4 pound (340 grams) raw carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated)
- 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) safflower, vegetable or canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. Please follow baking directions for pound cake. When Tested, we lowed the baking to 310 for 45 min to an hour.If you are using round pans please follow the directions above and cook at 350.
- Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
- Peel and finely grate the carrots.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.
- In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 - 4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.
- To assemble: place one cake layer onto your serving plate. Spread with about half the frosting. Gently place the other cake onto the frosting and spread the rest of the frosting over the top of the cake. If desired, garnish with toasted nuts on the top of the cake. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
- Serves 10 - 12.