Carrot Cake and SUMMER

16 Jun

Ah, summer. The opportune time in my “busy” life to cook every day and to finally do the things I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. Except- as soon as summer starts, I always start falling into the same habits of lazing around all day (watching 5 episodes of Gossip Girl, spending hours looking through food blogs). I’ve been doing a little better this summer. While I have been doing more than my share of lazing, I’ve also done a few “constructive” things. I’ve cooked quite a bit, shortening my endless list of recipes to try, even if by an insignificant amount. I’ve cleaned my room. I’ve started a book. I’ve attempted my first stop-motion animation. I’d say I’m doing all right.
But one thing I’ve neglected to do is post here! I have so much time to waste, so many cooking adventures to write about- and yet I haven’t written about a single one!
Part of it is that I’m too ambitious at the beginning. I start summer thinking I’m going to do SO much- but it’s always TOO much to realistically do, especially when I just want to vegetate all day. I have such high expectations that I’m inevitably disappointed in the end.

mmm...moist innards!

That’s sort of what happened with this carrot cake. Recently, I’ve rediscovered my love (and it is a passionate, burning one) for carrot cake. I tried some delicious carrot cake both in the states and even here, and I really thought I could make one to compete with the best carrot cakes I’ve had.

carrot cake from mOre cafe

Maybe I’m a perfectionist, but this wasn’t the best. It sure was good, but it just lacked that certain power over me, compelling me to eat every crumb, preventing me from letting any leftover cake sit longer than a few hours without going into my mouth. For now, when I’m craving carrot cake, I’ll go out and pick some up. It may not be cheap, at 18 dhs/$5 a slice, but considering the Philadelphia cream cheese costs more than 18 dhs itself, I’d say it’s not bad.

Carrot Cake

(Adapted from Martha Stewart and honey&jam)

Makes 12 cupcakes or 2 small loaves

¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp clove powder
1/8 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp flour
1 ½ cups shredded carrots
op. 1/3 cup small pineapple chunks (~2 rings)
op. handful chopped walnuts (~1/3 cup)
op. small handful candied ginger, cut in small pieces
op. ¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 180°C/350F.
In a small bowl, whisk the baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt and flour.
Beat (by hand) sugar and oil. Beat in vanilla and eggs.
Fold in flour mixture. Fold in carrots and optional additions.
Spoon batter into pan. Bake at 180° for 25-30 minutes (for cupcakes) to 40 min hour (for small loaf) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool then remove from pan and cool completely. Top with Cream Cheese Frosting:
200g cream cheese
2/3 cup (raw) confectioners’ sugar
3 tbsp butter
(1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
(1 tbsp orange zest)

Beat butter with electric mixer. Beat in cream cheese and until fluffy. Beat in sugar, then vanilla and orange). Refrigerate leftovers (and probably frosted cake too) up to 3 days.


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