With winter drawing to a sharp close, little time remains to indulge in the finest of cold weather comforts. Test out this recipe before the temperatures start rising and you swap rich cake for refreshing fruit salad.
Lent is upon us which means I had two options when coming up with a recipe for this week – torture those abstaining from sugar and/or chocolate or offer something yeast-laden for the pre-Passover crowd. I chose the former to give you the perfect treat to break your no-sweets rule at the end of lent but that doesn’t stop you from practicing until then!
Carrot cake, while indisputably popular in both North America and England, has somewhat recently exploded onto the Parisian pastry scene. Anglo-themed cafés and even some French bakeries offer their interpretation of our veggie classic with varying degrees of success. Usually their version is far too dry with icing that is not quite sweet enough so I am on an eternal quest to find the Parisian cake worth recommending. Until then, I’ll continue making my own.
For the cake
¾ cup chopped pecans
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Juice from half of an orange
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated carrots
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoon salt
For the icing
1 cup mascarpone or cream cheese
1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
Grind the pecans until in they become a powder.
Peel the carrots and grate finely.
Beat the eggs and brown sugar together until the mixture lightens and becomes slightly frothy. Add the vegetable oil and the orange juice, mix well. Add the sifted flour, baking soda and baking powder.
Incorporate the powdered pecans and grated carrots.
Pour the mixture into the buttered cake pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
During this time, prepare the icing. Beat the mascarpone or cream cheese with an electric hand mixer for about 2 minutes then add the icing sugar and lemon juice. Continue to beat until the mixture is smooth. Spread on the cooled cake.
Optional: sprinkle crushed pecans on top of the iced cake.
Lindsey Tramuta is a home & culture columnist for BitchBuzz and the creator of Lost In Cheeseland where she writes about food, love, life and obstacles in Paris. Follow her on twitter @LostNCheeseland.Recipe adapted from Saveurs Magazine
Photo courtesy of Claudia Ficca