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.
At our staff end-of-year party, a coworker made the best thing ever: a cauliflower mash with the taste of stuffing and the texture of mashed potatoes. It is as easy as roasting two heads of cauliflower and whirling it with some other delicious ingredients in a food processor. For the love of all things holy, go whip this up for your next meal.
Rosemary Cauliflower Mash
- 6.5 TBS olive oil
- 2 heads of cauliflower, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 1 head garlic
- about 1/4 c whole milk or half and half
- half stick of butter
- ancho chili powder (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Toss cauliflower in 4-5 TBS olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Slice the head of garlic across the top so all the cloves are exposed. Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the garlic and wrap loosely in tinfoil. Roast the cauliflower until tender and garlic until fragrant and soft, about 40 minutes. While those roast, saute the onion with the remaining olive oil until soft and fragrant.
- Place the roasted cauliflower in food processor. Squeeze out the roasted garlic cloves into the food processor. Add remaining ingredients and grind to desired texture, adding milk if necessary.
Better than the muffin man– I’m married to the donut man!
It’s no secret that MrKef is happier as the breadwinner than the breadmaker in this family. He doesn’t venture into the strange room with the oven and dishwasher often, but when he does, it usually makes for a good story. For some of his previous shenanigans, check out the hilarious crime scene I woke up to last time he cooked, and his Jamdown-wowing goat stew.
Over the weekend MrKef realized he had let this fancy milk he buys at Jrink go one day too long in the fridge. It’s entirely too expensive to go to waste, so he did some googling and found that one can make all kinds of bready bakedgood with milk that’s gone bad. Who knew?
These are the definition of easy- if you can stir ’em, you can make ’em. In case you don’t believe me, we made these after I had a full day of clinical, after I went on my first run in three weeks (#praiseHim), and before we went to Aar-zanaKef’s pumpkin carving party (and yes- if you were wondering- that is the first joint-couple Kef name to grace these pages).
We got the original idea from this recipe–what is reflected below are the few tweaks we made to thicken up the batter and speed the whole thing up by making them munchkins instead of full fledged donuts.
Sour Milk Donuts
- 4 .5-5.5 c flour
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1.25 sugar
- 3 TBS shortening
- 1 c sour milk (use insanely fancy milk your husband didn’t drink , or put 1 TBS vinegar or lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring cup. Add milk to fill. Let sit for 5 minutes and milk will sour.)
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Oil- enough for deep drying
- 0.5-1 c sugar
- 2-4 TBS cinnamon, to taste
- Mix together 4.5 flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and nutmeg in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl combine sugar, lard, milk and eggs. Add wet ingredients to dry ones, and mix well. Batter should be thick enough that it can be rolled into balls–if it’s not, add the remaining flour as needed, a quarter cup at a time. You’re in the ballpark when it the dough is a bit sticky but doesn’t make an absolute mess of your hands.
- Roll the dough into munchkin-sized balls. They will get expand in oil, so be judicious.
- Heat oil in a saucepan on medium heat–the oil should be at least 3-4 inches deep, so choose your pot accordingly. When oil is hot, add doughnuts and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping over halfway. Cool on brown paper or paper towels.
- Mix sugar and cinnamon to taste and roll each donut in the mixture before serving. Serve warm or room temp.
My love for watermelon runs deep- MamaKef has been known to stare into a fridge with three full melons and lament that there won’t be enough for the whole weekend once I get home. So ChampagneOnlyKef knew exactly what she was doing when she rolled up to the 4th of July ‘Ganza with an innovative watermelon dessert.
This ‘pouzi pizza (watermelon=karpouzi in Greek) is delicious and full of dairy decadence. I love the combo of sweet ricotta cheese and mint, and the cold watermelon base makes you forget you’re eating a Heart Attack flavored dessert. Many thanks to ChampagneOnlyKef for bringing this guy into the repertoire!
- 1/2 c ricotta
- 1/4 c cream cheese
- 1 TBS honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Berries, for garnish
- Fresh mint, for garnish
- Slice watermelon longitudinally.
- Mix together cheeses, honey, and vanilla until well combined. Spread over watermelon rounds.
- Cut covered rounds into “slices.” Garnish with mint and berries. Chill before serving.