Monday, April 05, 2010

Carrot Cake!

Having been logging my calories for the past few months, and actually seeing some lasting results, I decided to splurge a bit. Running through the list of desserts that I have successfully prepared before, nothing sounded right for the particular urge I was feeling. Also, the limited ingredients that I have on hand in Japan stifle my creativity sometimes.

The trick here is tweaking the recipes enough so that a single meal or cake doesn't cost as much as your rent. That usually means cutting back on the butter, the nuts, and many special ingredients that you wouldn't think would cost so much (powdered sugar, seriously how are you that expensive?) Fortunately, J and I brought two massive bags of nuts (walnuts and pecans, respectively) back from the US in January. I also had a bag of carrots on-hand. So, I decided to try my hand at creating a delicious and not 'overwhelmingly bad for us' carrot cake.

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cups canola oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • ½ cup chopped pineapple
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 8 ounces (one package) cream cheese, softened
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (to top)
*I would probably swap the pecans and walnuts (inside to outside) next time

Mix the wet ingredients together, then add into the dried. Fold in carrots, pineapple, and finally nuts. Pour into greased baking tray or cake pans. I baked at 180C for about 50 minutes, but the time will vary depending on your oven, because my oven is a bit of a monster. The icing was mixed and applied after the cake cooled, then the nuts were placed haphazardly on top.

The recipe requires some fiddling, as it came out really moist and dense. J mocked the sound of a piece dropping onto a serving plate. PLOP! It was delicious, but not perfect. This recipe is going in the "needs adjustments" file, but for a first attempt, I'd say it was a success.

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