Friday, June 18, 2010

Carrot Cake, Healthy and Tasty

I am not so much into sweets. I only enjoy several types of cake. In particular, I only like those moderately sweetened and not covered with overly sweet icing. You will notice this by the types of cake that I bake and feature here like the banana cake and chocolate cake I posted earlier. However, I am open and don’t really have a problem to preparing even those not suited to my taste, provided I will be serving them to family and friends. After all, fulfillment in cooking, or baking for that matter, is a factor of sharing to your love ones. And besides, personal satisfaction is only as good as the satisfaction of those whom the food was shared with.

Another cake that works well with me is the healthy and tasty carrot cake. Like banana cake, it is fruit and/or vegetable base and not excessively sweet. Carrot cake is a cake which consists of finely grated carrot mixed with cake batter. The carrot softens during the baking process and the resulting cake usually has softer but denser texture and coarser crumb than the traditional cake. The carrot itself enhances the flavor, quality and appearance of the cake. Usual recipes include optional ingredients such as nuts, raisins, coconut or pineapple. The last one is my favorite addition to the cake.

Carrot cake is always regarded as the healthier cake due to its main ingredient that is carrot. It is a popular root vegetable which can be eaten raw and usually orange in color but also existing in purple, red, white or yellow varieties. The edible part of a carrot is a taproot which is a domesticated form of the wild carrot, native to Europe and southwestern Asia. It has a crisp texture when fresh.

Carrot is widely consumed because apart from being delicious, it is an important source of beta carotene which metabolized into vitamin A in humans. It is also rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants and minerals.

In method of preparation, carrot cake actually more closely resembles a quick bread than a cake because all the wet ingredients are mixed together, all the dry ingredients are mixed together and the wet are then added to the dry and beaten to final consistency which is usually denser.

To prepare, pre-heat oven to 350 ˚F or 170 ˚C. In a large mixing bowl dump 1 ½ cups wheat or all-purpose flour, followed by ¾ cup fine sugar, ½ tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp cinnamon powder. Stir to mix everything together.

In the meantime, prepare the wet and other optional ingredients: 3 eggs slightly beaten, ¾ cup vegetable oil, 2 tbsp vanilla, 1 ½ cups grated carrot and 1 cup crushed pineapple which in my case was substituted by tidbits to be finely diced prior to folding.

Add the wet ingredients eggs, vegetable oil and vanilla to the dry mixture and stir and beat properly until a thick batter is attained.

Fold in grated carrot and diced pineapple tidbits and carefully stir to properly blend with the batter.

Pour batter into cake pan with parchment paper or lightly greased and floured. Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes until fragrant and fork prong inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let to cool on a cake rack. Since I will not be using cream cheese frosting, I just sprinkle the top with some confectioner’s sugar. Cut and serve. Yummy!

You can serve it as a dessert at the end of a meal or eat as a snack in between meals or like me, both. c”,)

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