the sweet up-shot of a zillion carrots from the winter farm share.
presuming carrot cake a quintessential American dessert, I went to Joy for the measurements. Out of respect for its crumbling, moldered pages, the 1953 edition doesn’t do kitchen duty so the kitchen’s 1997 edition provided the basic infrastructure. As expected, carrot cake, page 935. Adopted as below; brilliant.
snuggled into bed with the booky stink of the old copy to see how the recipe changed over time. It ain’t in there. Scoured the index, staring blankly at places where it should fit…carrot, cake; cake, carrot… It wasn’t hiding out near the gingerbread where it lives in 1997, and the gingerbread lived in breads not cake and without the quaint introduction as the baked good with the oldest traceable roots with the exception of bread. Wouldn’t carrot cake be a logical runner up? Pineapple cake—perhaps leading to the crushed pineapple in the late innovation of carrot cake—was the closest thing. Seems Granny Rom didn’t put shredded veggies in dessert.
and I don’t put canned crushed pineapple in anything. So, happily abandoning that convention, peel an apple, slice it into quarters, and drop them into a small saucepan with 4 tablespoons of butter, the zest of one lemon and half an orange, and about an inch of fresh ginger peeled and minced. Cook covered over low heat, stirring once in awhile, until, essentially, you have a very fragrant apple mush.
heat your oven to 350° and butter and flour a 9” round cake pan.
sift together: 1 ¾ cup of cake flour with 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda and a teaspoon of baking powder with cloves, cinnamon, salt and freshly grated nutmeg. I am afraid the latter measurements are of the “as you like” variety.
in a large measuring bowl, whisk together ½ cup of sunflower oil, 3 eggs (at room temperature), and one cup of sugar. We went in for plain white sugar which left room for the intricate spicing to shine through. Stir in the cooled apples.
stir in the dry goods along with 1 cup each of walnuts and dried cranberries as well as 2 cups of shredded carrots. Admittedly, the peeling & shredding of so many roots out me off making carrot cake before. The sole available tool had been a finger threatening flimsy box grater. But the newly gifted mandolin shredded them so fine and so fast we had more than originally called for lickety-split. Thus—even more carroty carrot cake.
pour the lot into your cake pan and bake for about half an hour or until set in the center. Leave for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan to a rack for cooling then a plate for icing.
according to my mother, who shredded these carrots and made the spangled pocket in the photo, carrot cake’s ultimate role is as perfect accompaniment for cream cheese frosting. The key to which, apparently, is very cold cream cheese. Cream together an 8 oz block of cold cream cheese with 4 tablespoons of softened butter and 2 – 2 ½ cups of powdered sugar.
once iced, the whole cake will need to refrigerated as well as slices as they linger, if the linger. Happy if they do, this is the sort of cake that gets better when its been around a bit.