Most baked goods (like cookies) taste best right out of the oven. Carrot cake, however, always seems to get better over a few days.
I wanted to try my hands at making a healthy cake (or is it more of a bread?) that I could eat either for breakfast or as a mid-day energy snack. I wanted this cake to look and taste healthy, yet still be addictive.
Usually, I grate the carrots so small you can hardly tell they’re there. This time, I was going for a hearty texture, so I used a bigger grate. This also let me see the colorful combination of veggies I put in the cake – for I didn’t just use any old carrots! No, in addition to an orange one, I also used one purple carrot (according to this site, all carrots were purple up through the Middle Ages!) and one parsnip.
I didn’t use much sugar in this recipe. For one, I was going for healthy. For two, carrots are naturally sweet. They were once used to sweeten desserts in medieval Europe (sugar wasn’t readily available). While I didn’t altogether get rid of it, there’s much less sugar in this recipe than in any others I know. Also, I used “cassonade” (raw, unprocessed) sugar.
For the salt, I used “Diamant de sel du Cachemire” or pink-colored diamond salt from Kashmir that we found at G. Detou here in Paris. This had to be crushed with a mortar and pestle.
For the frosting, I used the French cheese “St Môret” in place of cream cheese (but either would work). I whipped it with a little bit of agave syrup and fresh lemon juice to taste.
The two longest steps were opening the fresh walnuts – a slightly tedious task, but worth it – and waiting for the cake to cook – about an hour.
Did you know that February 3 is National Carrot Cake Day in the US? I hold carrot cake in pretty high esteem – glad to know I’m not the only one!
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 carrots and 1 parsnip (about 3 ½ cups when shredded)
2 cups whole grain spelt flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup raw sugar
¾ cup olive oil
For the frosting:
250 grams soft cheese
Fresh lemon juice
1. Prepare nuts and carrots.
2. Mix dry and wet ingredients separately.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry.
4. Add carrots and nuts.
5. Line a cake mold with parchment paper and bake at 180C or 350F for about 1 hour (a knife should come out pretty clean).
6. Let cool and frost (see above).
Keep covered in the fridge and enjoy over several days.