Fresh produce always reminds me of Spring. The crispness in the air is just enough for a light sweater or blazer, and a welcome change from that horribly bulky winter jacket you were forced to carry around. You switch from hot coffee (or hot chocolate) to a delicious iced latte or a cold press. And the trees start blooming! This is probably my favorite part. I love walking or driving down the same streets that were so stark and dreary, and are now bright and deliciously green. That brings me to this gorgeous batch of carrots I picked up. Originally I thought I’d roast them with some butter and herbs to go with some chicken. But then I remembered I’d been meaning to make some carrot cake. On a whim I went with the cake option (obv).
Now “by a whim” I meant I decided on it and life got in the way for an extra week. I had to search for a recipe that wouldn’t fail me. My husband is a big carrot cake fan and a half ass cake wouldn’t do. I didn’t want it to be too sweet, and I wanted the crumb to have some weight to it, but not be dense like a pound cake. In the end I was debating between the recipe by Faux Martha and Smitten Kitchen. What pushed me over the edge is that the Faux Martha recipe used some whole wheat flour as well. I loved the idea and felt that it would give the cake a good amount of heft. Plus I had some whole wheat pastry flour that was going to expire in a month so…. Qismat!
Now the recipe needs 1 pound of grated carrots. That’s a lot guys. Sorry I forgot to measure how much that comes out to in cups, but it’s a lot. Or at least it felt like a lot since I had to grate them all by hand. My daughter has this “wonderful” habit (yes air quotes) of hiding / taking / demanding that all things mini are hers. And since my food processor is one of those tiny ones that latches onto my blender, the parts are tiny, and therefore were stolen by my little dictator. So 9pm on a Friday night I’m grating carrots. But it was worth it. When I pulled this cake out of the oven, it looks gorgeous. Just gorgeous! The golden dome, the smell of cinnamon and something sweet and earthy. I let the cakes sit out for a while to help them cool but I did nab one of the tester cupcakes. So good. I’m not even a fan of carrot cake, but this one turned me into a believer.
By the next morning the cakes had developed an amazing flavor and I couldn’t wait to frost them. Again I compared Faux Martha’s Brown Butter Cream Cheese frosting and Smitten Kitchen’s Maple Cream Cheese frosting. The maple flavor won out in the end. I had to up the maple syrup by a bit to really taste it, but it was so worth it. Coated it with some toasty walnuts to give it an optional crunch, and I was set. We were having friends over for a BBQ and it fit the menu so well. Paired it with tea (because I’m desi and it’s what we do hah) and later with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. All my chocoholic friends, give this one a try. Seriously. I know it’s not a batch of cookies or a flourless cake or truffles, but this one competes. Let me know what you think.