Mar 28, 2014

Very carrot cake (with 2 pounds roasted carrots)


Impressed by my Very apple cake, I switched apples for carrots and I'm impressed even more. Why carrot cake now? Because I like this recipe a lot and, in March, I can either buy local Winter or imported Spring produce. Tough choice... not really, I still go for the first one... and patiently wait for the warm sun and ripe Polish strawberries.


I was worried about my experiment, about so many not-so-interesting carrots in one space. But long oven time still brought the best in the vegetable and putting the roasted puree in the cake, made the dessert a true carrot delight.

Recipe by Gray Apron (originally adapted from Cafe Fernando)
time: 1hr45min roasting carrots + 15 min preparation + 55 min baking cake

 ingredients 
for puree, can be prepared a day ahead
1 kg (2.2 lbs) carrots
for cake
2 cups (480 ml) flourI used: 2 cups (240 g) whole spelt flour
2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (2 g) fine salt
1 3/4 stick (200 g) butter, room temperature 
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 medium eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cup (390 g) carrot puree cooled to room temperature

zest from 1 medium/large lemon, grated
for glaze
2 Tablespoon sweet (whipping) cream
70 g white chocolate, broken in pieces 
zest from 1/4 medium lemon, grated
2 - 3 Tablespoons almond flakes

 instructions 
prepare carrots:
Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan forced). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel and cut carrots in chunks (I sliced each one lengthwise in half and then chopped the pieces). Transfer onto the lined baking sheet. Set it in the hot oven for 45 minutes, stirring once half way through baking, till tender. 

Lower temperature to 150C/300F. Remove carrots from the heat and slide them from the paper into a mixing bowl. Using a hand held immersion blender and/or food processor with steal blades, blend the vegetable till smooth. 

Transfer the puree onto a half-size (or smaller) baking sheet. Smooth it out and set it in the hot oven for 50 - 60 minutes, stirring and smoothing every 15 minutes to prevent film from forming on top. Take it out of the oven, let it cool to room temperature. (Soaking the dish in water makes cleaning a breeze).

prepare cake:
Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan forced function). Grease with extra butter a round 26cm/10inch spring baking form.  In a medium bowl, sift together flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a bowl of a standing mixer equipped with a paddle attachment, beat butter with sugar for 5 minutes on medium speed till fluffy. Add eggs, one at the time, scraping sides and bottom of the bowl when necessary. Mix in carrot puree, lemon zest and vanilla till fully incorporated. With the mixer set on low, stir in flour mix just till combined.

Transfer the batter onto the prepared form, smooth it out and set in in the hot oven for 50 - 55 minutes, till the toothpick from the middle of the cake comes out clean (doesn't have to be dry). Let it sit in the form for 30 minutes. Remove from the form, let it cool to room temperature and cover with icing.

prepare glaze:
On a small skillet, toast almond flakes for about 3-5 minutes on medium/high, moving the skillet constantly.

Melt chocolate with cream over hot water (never boiling), stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon. Add lemon zest. If your icing is too liquidy, add little chocolate, or little cream if too dense. Pour warm (not hot) icing over cooled cake. Drop almond flakes on top. Icing will get hard and mat after a couple of hours.

NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES NOTES 
  • the puree never got smooth like baby food; there were little, tiny tender pieces of carrots after all the roasting and blending;
  • but the cake is buttery smooth;
  • to help to bring the best flavor in carrots, I added a lot of lemon zest, reduced cinnamon and sugar amount;
  • and just in case the cake didn't turn out sweet enough (but it did) and because it was a Sunday, I decorated the dessert with glaze;
  • white chocolate on top turned out to be a big hit with Hania and others...

      23 comments:

      1. oh my, what a brilliant idea to roast the carrots first! I am so going to try that with my next carrot recipe :)

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      2. I've been craving some good carrot cake these weeks, maybe it's the Spring thing. :) Like your use of the carrot puree - deelicious!

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      3. I love baking with carrots. Your cake looks so good, I bet it would be great with a cup of coffee or tea :)

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      4. Wow! Great experiment with all those carrots. Cake looks really moist! I really like the lemon zest in the cake and the white chocolate on top.

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      5. Wow, now that's what I call a 'very carrot cake!'. Beautiful Ela. xo

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      6. I love carrot cakes, but many of recipes are usually...if you ask me, over-loaded with sugar and cream. This looks like just the one I would love with my afternoon tea. Thanks for sharing, Ela.

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      7. I love carrot cake and that's such a neat idea to roast and puree the carrots first - it looks so moist and delicious :) Thanks for sharing Ela :)

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      8. I was just talking to my friend the other day, how much I love carrot cake and muffins. This looks delicious :), love the idea of using carrot puree,

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      9. What a brilliant cake Ela, just gorgeous. Now this is something I could sink my teeth into.

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      10. Oh, I love, love carrot cake and the glaze sounds like an incredible addition!

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      11. I love carrot cake and I especially like just how much carrot is in here! It looks delicious! And so moist!

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      12. Love the carrot emphasis of this cake...and that glaze is just lovely!

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      13. Everything about your cake sounds wonderful…from the sweetness of the roasted carrots, the icing to the crunchy almonds of top.

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      14. Holly molly, i love carrot cake,
        my mom used to made the crumbly version, but i guess this moist and butterry version gonna be lovely even more!

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      15. Carrot cake has always been a favorite of mine but I've never had one that piqued my interest more than this one. I love it!

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      16. This is a carrot cake treat! Definitely keeping this around for the garden harvest, can't wait to enjoy this cake!

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      17. Love everything about this treat.
        The name, the way it looks and the great idea to roast the carots before baking them to enhance the flavor!

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      18. Sounds inviting and delicious; never tried carrot cake with pre-cooked carrots!

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      19. This sounds like a fantastic cake,dear Ela!I would love to devour a huge piece of ti with a cup of coffee!
        Many kisses from sunny Zakinthos!

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      20. Really love that you roasted the carrots! That must really intensify the delicious caramelized carrot flavor! Yum!

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      21. Wow that is a lot of carrots, good thing I love carrot cake. It's guilt free as it is mostly a vegetable right? Looks great.

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      22. These looks completely fantastic! I recently baked carrot cake with a slightly different recipe.. these are just yummiest cake I love to have anytime...

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      23. Irene Takamizu11/02/2014

        After roasting 1K of rainbow carrots, my husband and I decided that they were sweet enough for cake, cutting the sugar by a great deal. I looked to the internet for help. Your recipe is the only one that used roasted carrots. I will be using your recipe, perhaps adding some adjustments, tomorrow, and will post with the results.

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