Spelt, Carrot and Parsnip Cake (Recipe)

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!


Shopping List

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

4 eggs

½ cup raw sugar

¾ cup olive oil

For the frosting:

250 grams soft cheese

Agave syrup

Fresh lemon juice


Recipe:

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.

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