Momma Told Me: If you don't try it, you'll never know if you like it!Few cakes create controversy like the seasonal Carrot Cake; seasonal, of course, not for it's crop availability, but the time of the year people will most tolerate it's presence. Let's face it, putting 3 cups of any vegetable into something and still passing it off as a cake is quite the accomplishment. I sometimes wonder who first thought of this alarming idea, and what on Earth would have lead to the strange addition. Believe it or not, carrots were used as sweeteners as far back as Medieval times, comparable to the Sweet Potato today. Much like the German habit of adding Sauerkraut to a batter, the carrots release moisture in cooking and help to create an especially dense, yet wonderfully moist cake. Of course this baked good is often dressed up with a rich Cream Cheese Frosting and decorative carrots to help win the skeptics over. But the simple fact remains, the initial reaction to this creation is usually, 'What?!"
No Fuss Carrot Cake
* 2 C Granulated Sugar
* 1 1/2 C Vegetable Oil
* 4 Eggs
* 2 C Flour
* 3 C Raw, Finely Ground Carrots
* 2 TSP Ground Cinnamon
* 1 TSP Salt
* 2 TSP Baking Soda
Preheat Oven to 300F
1.) In a Large Mixing Bowl combine Sugar, Vegetable Oil, and Eggs. In a separate bowl sift together Flour, Salt, Baking Soda, and Cinnamon.
2.) Fold Dry Ingredients into wet mixture and mix well. Introduce Carrots gradually, folding into mixture. Batter will be gooey like caramel in appearance. Add crushed walnuts (3/4 C) if desired.
3.) Separate mixture evenly into 3 pre-greased 9" Round Pans. Bake 50-60 MINS, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
4.) Cool for a minimum of 1 hour before attempting to remove layers from pans. Layers can be stored, covered, in fridge overnight to assist in removal and assembly. Frost with Cream Cheese frosting an decorate with iced carrots or Marzipan carrots. (You can purchase a roll of Marzipan dough at your local grocer in the baking ingredients aisle, I find it at Fresh and Easy here. Simply dye and roll into carrot logs!)
I recently discovered this years Seasonal Spring MandM collection; White Chocolate and White Chocolate Carrot Cake. Much like my obsession to acquire the wildly popular Candy Corn Oreos, I hunted the aisles of our local grocers, and mass merchandisers, for a good week before caving and hitting eBay. Usually specialty/seasonal flavors such as this can be found locally at Walgreens and Target with some success, but Carrot Cake MandMs seemed to be more of a regional thing this year. While I found many bags of the White Chocolate variety, I'll admit this foodie ended up buying them for about $5 a bag online. My curiosity was that strong. As it turns out, these were exceedingly strong in flavor, relying primarily on the spice aspect of this classic, and had an almost bitter flavor which reminded my of black licorice (odd, I know). I can't quite see myself munching these down regularly, but they are a very interesting and one of a kind MandM (and I've tried near 20 varieties through the years), worth snagging if you can catch it on the shelves.
In any case, that is precisely what inspired today's post. I showed the MandMs to Sabrina (10), who promptly scrunched her face and asked what Carrot Cake was. As it's Spring Break right now, I found it the perfect opportunity to turn it into a baking project so she could compare the two. She didn't care much for the MandMs (or Marzipan, almond confection dough), but she loved the cake! It's always cool to see someone expand their foodie horizons and try something new with great results. What have you tried lately that's out of the ordinary for you?
What Daughter Says: I often wonder what will be the next Carrot Cake- Chicken and Waffles Chips?