I was once again at the crossroads of baking a chocolate flavoured carrot cake or an orange one or just plain and simple carrot cake with walnuts … ideas are profuse, options are endless and I have to bake just one cake !!! Can we call it challenging enough !
Ideas born with the imaginations, original ideas are just like fresh dews on mossy green leaves, brilliantly radiant and soon dissolves into something other or simply vanishes into oblivion. An idea needs a fertile mind, an imaginative mind sown the first seed and when nourished they germinates from the womb of imaginations, creativity or fantasy, slowly and beautifully matures into new innovations. That’s the “IDEA” for you, we all dreamt of things that we want to do in our life, thoughts that have threaded together slowly transforms into new ideas but may not be an original one. Why ? because we all get easily influenced by our surroundings, by the people we have met in our lifetime, by the books we have read, by the stories that we have heard, and they all contributes in some form or other to shape up our ideas… eventually which become our signature style, which we can relate to, which we can call it as our very “OWN”.
So when the idea of baking a carrot cake was tossing in my head, so many ideas instantly cropped up in my heads,I must have read it somewhere, must have eaten it somewhere, or must have snipped it from a forlorn magazine…and has long back added in my wish list like “1000 things to eat before you die”. In short, I must bake a carrot cake before the world ends !!! 🙂
Enthusiastically I dissect a very popular baking blog and religiously followed the word – to word method and baked the carrot cupcakes, thinking proactively that it will look divine just the way it was showed in the blog, but unfortunately it ends up in a disaster. Fault was mine…I grated the carrots coarsely and try to adapt one bowl method to bake this. This was my presumptions though.
On a second attempt I baked a carrot pound cake, still no luck…cake was dense and oily..reason…perhaps I have added two tablespoon more oil… 🙁
They said while cooking follow your taste but while baking follow the measurements, needless to say that being a staunch disciple of this maxim, I still failed in my earlier two attempts. Recipes may not be fool-proof, quality of ingredients varies and so as the temperature and climate, though we cannot account for the later, but to some extent these factors influenced the end results too. That’s where we need an idea that will showed us the light and will give some respite from our failures. But these failed attempts taught me one more thing – follow your INTUITION – a perceptive insight. Intuitions never ditched you, because in your sub-conscious mind you have already analyzed the problems and found a solution, only it need to see the daylight.
In my third attempt I baked this carrot cake, with zest of oranges thrown in good measure and have used some leftover chocolate infused shredded coconut too. Displace some of the sugar with honey and have used cautiously the vegetable oil, added the amount just required and did not go by book. And yes shredded the carrot finely. Result was good and satisfactory. Taste was perfect, the way I always wanted it to be with high notes of citrus flavours. Though on a hindsight I knew it can be perfected to make it more moist.
So go on lovely ladies and try this recipe but do follow your instincts too and if you score success with this recipe, do let me know, it will make my smile an inch wider, and if you failed in your attempt, don’t lose your heart, try next time…its not difficult… may be you need a little more understanding…
Recipe: Carrot cake with zest of orange and cream cheese frosting
Summary: A simple carrot cake but infused with flavours of orange and loaded with walnuts and topped with zesty cream cheese frosting
- All purpose flour : 1 1/2 cup
- Carrot (finely grated) : 1 cup
- Coconut (shredded) : 1/3 cup (optional)
- Walnuts (chopped) : 1/3 cup
- Zest of orange : 2-3 tbsp
- Pinch of salt
- Ground cinnamon : 1 tsp
- Brown sugar (light) : 1/4 cup
- Honey : 1/2 cup
- Baking powder : 1 tsp
- Eggs (large) : 2
- Sunflower oil : 1/2 cup (+/- 1 tbsp)
- For frosting :
- Butter : 4 tbsp softened
- Cream cheese : 1/4 cup
- Confectioner’s sugar : 1 cup
- Orange juice : 2 tsp
- Lightly grease an 9 – inch round cake pan and if requires line it with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour, salt, baking powder, ground cinnamon in a large bowl and stir in the brown sugar.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs well and add the oil and honey to it. Mix them really well.
- Add the oil, honey and egg mixture to the above dry ingredient bowl and mix well.
- Stir in the grated carrot, shredded coconut, orange zest and chopped walnuts.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 F for 25-30 minutes or until it feels just firm to the touch.
- Cool in the pan.
- Meanwhile make the cream cheese frosting.
- In a bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar and orange juice until the mixture is fluffy and creamy.
- Turn the cake out of the pan and spread the frosting and then decorate with walnut pieces.
Adjust the oil as per your requirement, you can add or subtract 1 tbsp oil if requires.
Grate the carrots very finely.
Coconut is optional, if you wish you can skip it.
Instead of orange juice, you can add lemon for more citrus flavour.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: English