Carrot Cake (or, An Elaborate Vehicle for Getting Carrots into Ivy)
May 25, 2011

Preparing the batter for this moist and homey pleasure took a while. But it isn’t complicated, and worrying over time causes cake to fall. So whilst plodding through I put the iPod on shuffle and considered the phases of my life thus far.

Sometimes, even when you think you’re sick to death of every single thing, shuffle produces a raft of heartbreaking nostalgia, to wit: Essential Music to Bake By. Warning: may contain nut fragments, may cause drowsiness and, if you believe in the Like Water For Chocolate principle, may cause those who eat this cake to do a tearful little happy food dance.

Preheat oven to 350°.

1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks (5cm, 2″, little thumbs)
1 cup pineapple (mine was tinned)
1½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2¼ tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
¾ cup oil (canola or grape seed)
½ tbsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp vanilla extract
½ cup golden raisins, plumped up in hot water, drained

1¼ packages cream cheese
½ cup butter
1 tbsp vanilla
icing sugar to desired consistency, ± 1½ cups
zest and juice of one lemon
food colouring, sprinkles, etc.

Lightly butter and flour two round cake pans. And now might be a good time to begin letting the butter and cream cheese soften to room temperature.

Shred carrots in a food processor, add pineapple and process until you have pineapple pulp and teeny tiny carrot fragments.

Sift the flours, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Then, whisking, use the nutmeg and cinnamon as a guide: when the colour is uniform, the mixture is adequately combined.
In another bowl whisk the eggs lightly and add the sugar, oil, vanilla, and ginger, mixing well because when you plunk in the raisins and add this wet concoction to the dry, you don’t want to over-mix it. Think of it as a party: everyone should meet and do some dancing; the thing is adequately lubricated, but any more and things begin to get heavy.

Divide the batter between the pans and slip them onto the middle oven rack. In about 50 minutes people blocks away will begin inhaling deeply and thinking kindly of their mothers. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean put the cakes on a rack (or improvise some such – as long as air can circulate under and around) to cool. If the toothpick besmirched give the cake another 5 minutes in the oven.

Allow the cakes to cool completely.

I did this with a wooden spoon but, as you know, I’m unusually strong and patient. I bet an electric mixer would have been good here. Anyhow, blend everything but the sugar, then add the sugar, a little at a time until what you have resembles frosting. I know this sounds like a lot, but powdered sugar has a tendency, like spinach, to disappear more than you expect. And ice your cake.

I added some food colouring to the leftover icing, put it in a little baggy, snipped the corner off and got fancy:

Ivy also got fancy:

I think this is the best cake I’ve ever made and better yet, buoyed by this success and the carotenoids now in her, I’m dreaming… broccoli pudding…turnip meringue pie….