Walnut raisin carrot cake

Isn’t this the wrong season to make Carrot cake? It’s Monsoon! Not winter when you get those fantastic, long, red, Gajar Halwa type Carrots.

Right now all you get are short, intensly orange, plump carrots that have people frowning at times. I wonder why? They are a different variety of carrots and in my opinion make an excellent carrot cake.
What more should you ask for right? Look.

I have not had much to with Carrot cake. I haven't even eaten much of carrot cake because it's not something you generally get in bakeries here.  Which is a shame really - because carrot cake is so wonderful, and so many cake eaters won't know about it.

I always thought that carrot cake should not be called cake. Carrots were classified as ‘veggies’ in my mind, therefore Carrot and Cake did not go together. They can also tend to be super healthy and full of spices I don't like (all spice, for example. It  was ‘without icing’ and much too heavy to be enjoyed as a cake. But hey, a girl can change her mind can’t she (plus these days, I often change my mind).

On vacation, in London, my Mom ordered a slice of Carrot Cake. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was good with my order of Scone with clotted cream and jam (I was in England; as if I would have anything else). But one look at that cake had me swooning (please note, Look, not Taste). Her slice of cake was a huge piece of carrot cake, all dense, caramel-y brown, full of pecans and spicy. Just like a carrot cake should be. I have to give it that. The version I saw available on the Delhi Airport was a plastic wrapped, too expensive, white sponge cake with a few bits of orange in it. Sold as Carrot cake. Seriously? And ever since then, I was determined to try the cake at home. The first recipe I tried, was good, but I am sure I did something wrong. It was too oily, and the amount of carrots was less.

So what is the story behind Carrot cake, as in, Carrots in cake? In the Middle Ages, when other sweeteners were either expensive or hard to find, Europeans used carrots (or even Beets!) to sweeten their cakes. Carrots contain a larger amount of sugar than any other vegetable and are were easily found. Apparently, carrot cake got popular in Britain during the World War II because of rationing – where they got to eat carrot cake (source here, here and here)

This cake really is super healthy. You can replace the all purpose flour with whole-wheat flour (though I haven’t actually tried that, I know someone who has). It is filled with dry fruits, is made with vegetable oil, and is full, and I mean full of carrots. I have made a few changes from the original recipe, and served it without the icing, but it was still amazing.

Carrot cake
Adapted from Rachel Allen Bake!

180 g all purpose flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 tsp Baking soda
½ tsp Baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
140 ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
200 g brown sugar
300 g grated carrots
100 g raisins
75 g chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 150 degree C. Line a loaf tin with butter-paper.

2. Sift the dry ingredients and keep it separately

3. In a large steel bowl, beat the eggs till light in colour, then add the oil, brown sugar, grated carrot, raisins and chopped nuts and mix till it all comes together.

4. Now add the sifted dry ingredients in and bring the mixture together until it’s well combined. Use a wooden or large metal spoon.

5. Pour the mixture into your  loaf tin and smooth the surface as much as possible. Bake in the oven for an hour or l until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

6. Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool in the tin for about five minutes before removing. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

For the orange cream cheese icing – see the original recipe  


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