You may recall my love affair with Superhero Muffins, the healthy and insanely delicious muffins chock full of vegetables. If the insanely delicious part of that description appeals to you but you could do without the healthy, this Carrot Cake is for you.
I followed this recipe from The Greek Vegan’s brilliant mind exactly, and it was gobbled down by a whole bunch of kiddos who are not inclined to eat carrots, even if they are hidden in cake. If you think this is a stranger-than-usual photo, you are right: I took the picture on my desk at work and was terrified I would accidentally publish patient information, so I covered my desk in random sheets of paper to avoid that. So, uh, yeah… here’s the least weird one of the bunch:
Anyway, I am told this cake is awesome. The secret is pre-flavoring the carrots by boiling them in orange juice and spices and then later using that same liquid in the cake batter. Greeks think of everything. This Greek-American will try to make another version that is a bit healthier… but you just feel free to ignore that and keep making this one.
Vegan Carrot Cake
- 3 c chopped carrots
- 1 c orange juice
- 1 c water
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 8 whole cloves (I used 2ish tsp ground cloves)
- 3.5 c all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 c sugar
- 1/3 c molasses
- 1/2 c cooking liquid from carrots
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp lemon zest (I used zest of about half a lemon)
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1 c raisins (or walnuts if you don’t hate them as much as I do)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a bundt pan. Bring chopped carrots, orange juice, water, cinnamon sticks and cloves to boil in a small pot. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until carrots are tender but not mushy. Set aside to cool. Do not even THINK of dumping out that cooking liquid–we are coming back to it!
- Once cool, drain the liquids from the carrots AND KEEP THE LIQUID IN A BOWL SOMEWHREE. Throw carrots in your food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times, then scrape down sides, then add 1/3 cup cooking liquid and pulse 2 more times. Scrape down side and set aside. At this point, carrots will be a variety of sizes, with a little mashing but not a full on puree.
- In medium mixng bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cooking liquid, sugar and molasses until combined. Add spices, whisk. Add oil, whisk. Add carrots and stir to combine completely.
- Add dry ingredients to wet and mix completely. Stir in golden raisins and/or nuts if they’re your jam. The batter will be dense and a teeny bit dryer than you might have expected. This is okay..
- Pour batter into lightly greased bundt pan and use a spatula to even out the top. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool in pan. Once completely cooled, turn the cake out and serve–if you’re fancy you can dust with powdered sugar before serving.
I’m 4-5 seconds from wildin’ and we got 3 more days til Friday, so today I gotta type and dash. Because I know my readership is full of people who turn up with Rihanna on Saturday and attend pinky-up high teas on Sunday, I present this pretty little cake especially for yall. The cake itself is dainty and sophisticated–pretty much what you’d expect from a tea loaf–and the cranberry swirl and candied lemons give it just enough sour sass to be memorable. Basically, a good girl gone bad.
To make this cake, I and combined a few recipes from the beautiful blog A Hint of Vanilla, the creator of which has artistry and genius that far exceed mine, so go check her out. Her bona fides include a world-class pastry education AND beautiful food photography, and all these recipes were easily made gluten/sugar free if you’re with me on that front. No word on whether she makes paragraphs-long Rihanna references, though.
Lemon Cranberry Tea Cake
–For the cranberry swirl
- 6 oz cranberries (about half of the bag you get in the grocery store)
- 60 mL brandy (I used a cherry brandy we bizarrely had hanging out)
- juice and zest of one orange
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch cloves
- 1/2 TBS vanilla
- 2 TBS maple syrup
–For the Cake
- 6TBS butter
- 1/3 c honey
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 c flour (I used CupforCup for gluten free)
- 1/2 c almond flour
- scant 1/2 c buttermilk (or 1/2 c milk + 1/4 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice)
–For the candied lemons
- 1 lemon
- 200 mL water
- 1/2 c sugar (I used coconut sugar and it was beautiful)
–For the lemon glaze
- 2 TBS butter
- 2 TBS honey
- 2 TBS milk
- zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- To make the cranberry swirl: place all the ingredients for the cranberry swirl in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir frequently. After about 5ish minutes, the cranberries will soften and burst–remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Texture will be something like smooth jam.
- To make candied lemons: slice the lemon as thin as you can–the original recipe suggest 1 mm, mine ended up somewhere about 3-4mm. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, then turn heat down to low. Add lemon slices and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let lemon slices soak in syrup until ready to use.
- To make the cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease two small loaf pans or one large one. Mix together dry ingredients, set aside. In a standing or electric mixer, cream together butter and honey until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium speed, add the egg, then turn up to medium-high for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat again for about 15 seconds. Add the egg yolk and beat on medium-high for another 20 seconds. This crazy beating schedule should get you a shiny batter.
- Using a rubber spatula, alternate folding in the dry flour mix and the buttermilk to the honey/butter/egg mixture. Begin and end with the dry mix, so that it takes 4 additions to use all the dry mix and 3 additions to use all the buttermilk. Do not overdo it- fold in until just combined. Finally, add in your desired amount of cranberry swirl and fold in–I used about 1/2 cup and think my bread could have used a bit more… start there and, if you decide to add, move up slowly. But again- don’t go crazy mixing this beautiful batter.
- Fill your prepared pans so each is about 2/3 full. Arrange 2-3 candied lemon slices on top. Bake the loaves for 30-40 minutes (mine took around 36 or 37), or until center is set and top is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool in pans.
- To make lemon glaze: Mix all glaze ingredients together in a small sauce pan until just simmering. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour/spoon glaze over cooled cake. Allow glaze to cool completely before serving.
Another year has come and gone. I don’t have a lot of deep reflections on 2016, but I do have this delicious pie to share today. And that’s got to count for something, right?
Like every year, 2016 brought some great times and some not-so-great times. I worried lot, ate a lot, studied a lot, and missed my grandmother a lot… but I also laughed a lot, learned a lot, and ran a lot, so it’s all probably a net gain once the counting’s done. Bring it on, 2017.
Back to the pie. My dear friend FlailKef turned 31 on 31 December, which means it was a GOLDEN birthday. She loves the chocolate cream pie from Waffle House, so I doctored up my own little version of the classic diner pie because she is wonderful and a GOLDEN birthday deserves a special treat. In what will probably be my only culinary achievement in this life, my pie was gone before the one from the inimitable MOM’S was–which I will take to mean this is an out-of-the-park homerun of a recipe.
I made very minimal changes to this pie recipe and followed Martha’s vanilla bean whipped cream recipe to a “T”. Complete recipes with my small tweaks reposted below because I hate having to have two different windows open for one recipe–but, as always, you just do whatever your little heart and personal code of internet-recipe ethics would lead you to.
FlailKef is clearly winning at life– she got golden goblets for her birthday AND has friends like these:
Chocolate Cream Pie
For the crust
For the filling
- 2/3 c sugar
- 1/4 c cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 c whole milk
- 5 oz dark chocolate, melted
- 2 oz milk chocolate, melted
- 2 TBS unsalted butter, softened
- 1.25 tsp vanilla extract
For the whipped cream
- 2 c heavy cream, cold
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1/4 c sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F. If you are making and serving this pie on the same day, see step 6 and be sure to chill the cream about an hour before you want to make it.
- Crush cookies into a fine crumb using a food processor (or, throw ’em in a ziploc bag and pound ’em with a wine bottle). Add sugar, and pulse to combine cookie crumbs and sugar. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in butter until mixture is moist and sticky, but not wet. Press into the bottom and up side of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, and yolks in a 3-quart heavy saucepan until combined well, then add milk in a stream, whisking. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking, then reduce heat and simmer, whisking, 1 minute (filling will thicken).
- Strain filling through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl (I used my mesh colander), then whisk in chocolates, butter, and vanilla. Cover surface of filling with a buttered round of wax paper and cool completely (on the counter, not in the fridge), about 2 hours.
- Spoon filling into crust and chill pie, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.
- Pour heavy cream into metal bowl of stand mixer. Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape seeds into cream and whisk to combine. Throw the bean pod in the cream, cover bowl, and chill cream in fridge for about an hour.
- Once cream and bowl are thoroughly chilled, remove bean pod and discard. Using the whisk attachment, beat at medium speed for 1 minute. With the mixer running, sprinkle in sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Chill for 1-2 hours, then spread over top of pie and serve.