Tuesday, March 18, 2008

When Life Gives You Carrots

Make Carrot Cake

Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

The other day I got a windfall of carrots. Carrots are terrific winter veggies anyway, but when you get a whole bunch (like 15 pounds) for free, well, you have to make a carrot cake. Or two. Not to mention roast a goat ham with a lot of carrots and allow your 16 yo carrot monster to have his absolute fill of them and several other things. This demonstrates a couple of very important principles -- eating what you have and taking advantage of what happens around you.

My carrot cake is, shall we say, substantial, thus I make it in a tube pan. We keep soft wheat berries in store and grind maybe three pounds at a time to use for cakes and biscuits and whatever else calls for soft flour. This is of course whole wheat. When I made this cake, I was out of eggs (which is a whole ‘nother story) so I made the egg substitute of a tablespoon of ground flax seeds simmered with 3 tablespoons of water for each egg, then cooled. Make no mistake, this isn’t as good as eggs in the same way that nothing is as good as butter, but sometimes substitution is necessary. We stock flax seed the same way we stock wheat, and flax is in all our breads and a lot of other stuff as a matter of course.

Sift together:
4 C. soft whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
3 tsp. baking powder (use the non-aluminum kind -- and don’t forget to check your salt’s anti-caking agent to be sure it isn’t aluminum too)
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. mixed pie spices (because I have a bottle so labeled, made from older leftover spices)
½ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. cinnamon
(all spices ground, duh)
1 ½ C melted butter
1 ¾ C brown sugar
4 eggs, room temp
3 tsp vanilla extract
(citrus zest is great in there too but I rarely have it)

Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl, add eggs one at a time, then remaining ingredients. Beat until light in color and smooth.
2 ½ C (or more) packed shredded carrot, soaked in citrus juice which for me is usually not fresh citrus juice

You can also add raisins or cranberries or currants or nuts if you want, maybe up to a cup total.
Alternatively add flour mix and carrots to butter mix, beginning and ending with flour. Mix gently, don’t beat.

Butter your tube pan (or whatever you choose), pour in batter, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes in a 350 oven.

Top with an icing mixture of cream cheese and/or butter and 10X sugar, flavored with some vanilla extract and cinnamon.

I've been asked to make another of these in a few days for a daughter's birthday. Between now and then there will also be a black forest cake -- my own made up for the occasion recipe which is my usual chocolate-enough-to-kill-normal-people cake and icing, with the icing peaked to a turret so a cherry with rum filling can be held in there. It is a tiny bit over the top. Like the extra spices and cinnamon icing on the carrot cake.


Kitt said...

Look great! And very resourceful.I had no idea you could sub flax for eggs.

Sudiegirl said...

I had no idea you could put rum in carrot cake!

Screw it...just want the rum.

CG said...

I didn't put rum in the carrot cake, although now that you mention it, it sounds like a grand idea. I meant that I planned on making a cherry filling/topping for the black forest cake using rum. But I forgot to pick up the rum so I might make the cherry stuff with Jack Daniels instead. I love Jack. Husband says it isn't exactly classic black forest but it'll do.

Teri said...

We do glazed carrots with real maple syrup. It's wonderful

Ren said...

We use the boiled flax gel too! In fact, we used it Sunday to make a batch of Easter cookies because we'd run out of eggs (far different reasons than why you'd run out of eggs!;).
They were great. I learned that trick many years ago and it's come in handy often!

CG said...

Our eggs seem to finally be coming in. Thank goodness. Knock on wood. Scare the hawks and bobcats away.

laura said...

that looks so good. your black forest cake sounds awesome. you'll have to give the recipe for that too. i could use a dose of enough chocolate to kill a normal person right now!!