Momma Told Me: April Foodie Must: Carrot Cake Recipe + Seasonal M&Ms

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April Foodie Must: Carrot Cake Recipe + Seasonal M&Ms

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?!"
I can still recall the first time I learned of this cake. It was a family function, and I couldn't have been more than 5. Reflecting; since, Carrot Cake has made annual appearances at our family events. Just as avid as the one person who always refuses a slice in a personal stance of 'That's not a cake,' the fans of this specialty seem to be equally passionate. That is to say, if you love carrot cake, you love it. Since carrots have long been one of my favorite vegetables, convincing me to try my first slice was rather easy, and I was instantly hooked. I recall it was somewhere between Easter and Mother's Day that the first bite of that fluffy spice cake met my mouth. One of the Aunts has made it from scratch and I was enthralled by the almost sticky density of this surprise. Like many traditional recipes there were walnuts crushed along the outer sides, and the shredded carrots inside occasionally peeked through in strands with a bite. My own preferred recipe is a little dryer and features twice minced carrots for bits, rather than strings, that chew even more assuming than it's classic counterpart.

marzipan carrots
No Fuss Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

* 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

Instructions:
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!)
carrot cake candy

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?



19 comments:

  1. That is adorable! You did a FABULOUS job. I would never be able to make that, but I would totally buy it.

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  2. great job! i LOVE carrot cake. this looks so delicious

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  3. I'm not a fan of carrot cake, but I'm the ONLY one in my family that isn't. lol. This is so stinking cute though! I may have to make it for the rest of the family.

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  4. I LOVE carrot cake! I had to try and not lick the screen. Do you mail? This is a great recipe, and love the M&Ms on top!

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  5. Love the colors - but I shouldn't be eating it (Can I come over and indulge?)

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  6. That is amazing!! I love carrot cake!

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  7. I am not a fan of carrot cake...but my husband loves it...I'll have to make this for him and surprise him with something special Thanks!

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  8. My husband would love if I made this.. sounds and looks awesome!
    Ashley Sifers

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  9. Wow, you did a fabulous job! That Carrot cake looks fabulous. I like carrot cake but I never go out of my way to have it. It's funny though because when my oldest was about 4 we went to Baker's Square to eat and she insisted on having carrot cake for dessert. She said she "loved" it. I don't recall her ever having it...but I got it for her. She did pretty good with it and still does to this day! :-)

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  10. I am definitely a fan of carrot cake! In fact, our wedding cake was a vegan carrot cake! My mother-in-law made it. She makes the best carrot cake, period. Carrot cake wasn't big in my family, so I don't know when I ate it for the first time, but I know that after I did eat it, I would always order it for dessert if I saw it on the menu when we were dining out. I love mine full of walnut pieces and tiny carrot pieces.

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  11. Oh that is so cute! I really need to start baking cakes from scratch again! Its just so easy to use a box...but they never taste as good!

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  12. I love carrot cake and yours turned out beautiful! I liked your memories of trying carrot cake when you were young. I have not baked one in many years... next time I do I am going to double mince the carrots as you do.

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  13. I have always loved carrot cake, and I'll have to try your recipe.

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  14. I am not much of a baker but really want to try this recipe - love carrot cake.

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  15. this is one of my top cakes! I'll have to give it a try--THE m&m's HUNTIN'them down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  16. How did I miss Carrot Cake M&Ms? I supposed it's just as well, though.

    I make carrot cake from time to time, sometimes with pineapple, sometimes with coconut. I've never made cute little marzipan carrots, though!

    Thanks for the recipe. It's nice to have variations to keep things interesting.

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  17. I haven't thought of carrot cake for a long time. I love it! It is so delicious. My mom makes the best one ever, but I don't know her recipe. I need to get that from her soon.

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  18. I love carrot cake and it's alot of work, but worth it!

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