Baking is a delicious and therapeutic process. Baking cakes can fill the house with a tantalizing aroma. While the world goes gaga over classics like chocolate and simply vanilla, cakes with seasonal fruits and vegetables are no less drool-worthy. A humble carrot cake with a generous frosting over it is magical and a match made in heaven. However tempting the cakes may be, baking needs a lot of precision and some patience. A simple yet tasty carrot cake can become hard like a rock or can be undercooked and inedible. The page shares a few tips and tricks and an easy recipe to bake a delectable carrot cake. These tips would come in handy even to amateurs or first-timers while baking a moist and Vitamin A-rich goodness.
Recipe for a Carrot Cake
Cook time: 40-45 minutes
Serves: 10 – 12
Ingredients for the cake:
All-purpose flour: 2 cups
Baking powder: 1 tsp.
Baking soda: 1 tsp.
Brown sugar: 1 ¾ cups
Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp.
Walnuts: ¼ cup
Sunflower oil: 1 ¼ cup
Ginger grated: ½ tsp.
Carrots (grated): 3 cups
Eggs: 3 large
Ingredients for the frosting:
Cream cheese: 180 grams
Powdered sugar: ½ cup
Vanilla essence: 1 tsp.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare an 8-inch baking tray by greasing and lining with parchment paper.
- Sieve flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
- Add in sugar, cinnamon powder, and coarsely crushed walnuts. Mix well.
- Add in oil, grated ginger, and carrots and mix thoroughly.
- Separate the eggs and beat the egg white till soft peaks are formed. Beat the yolk till light and foamy.
- Whisk in the yolk to the flour mixture and fold the batter.
- Now gently fold in the egg whites in batches.
- The batter should be in a thick pourable stage. If it is not in a pourable stage, add a few tablespoons of milk.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre.
- Cool the cake well before frosting.
- For the frosting: beat the cream cheese till smooth. Add in the sugar and vanilla essence and beat till it is creamy. Refrigerate till the cake cools down.
- The trick to a spongy cake is to sieve the flour with baking powder or baking soda, whichever is used, at least twice. It is pertinent to stick to the measure of baking powder or/and baking soda. Too much of both can make the cake batter, and too little will not help rise, and one might end in a flat cake.
- While most cakes call for all-purpose flour, one can choose a healthier option of replacing all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. If the bran in the whole wheat flour is more, the cake will be a little dense. So in such cases, an equal proportion of both the flours work well.
- The temperature of the ingredients also affects the texture of the cake. Ensure every component is at room temperature and not cold or hot.
- It is advisable to separate the eggs and beat the whites and the yolks separately. Well beaten egg whites add loads of air into the cake, making it spongy and light.
- One always faces the issue of a mushy cake. It is important to grate the carrots into medium or large gratings. Too tiny or delicate gratings, when cooked with the batter, tend to clog. This makes the cake clumpy and not-so-tasty.
- Certain spices go well with a type of fruit or vegetable. The best pairing with carrots is cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or all-spice. Care should be taken not to add in too much as the taste of spice overpowers the taste of the cake. Too little spice mix will make the cake an earthy carrot flavoured one, which might not appease many.
- The spice rule applies to the nuts as well. Walnuts and almonds pair well with carrots. One can also add desiccated coconut. Lightly toasting the nuts bring out the flavour better.
- It is good to treat the cake batter with lots of care. So while adding the ingredients, it is necessary to fold the mixture rather than vigorous whisking and mixing.
- For an eggless cake: substitute each egg with ¼ of buttermilk. So this particular recipe would require ¾ cup of buttermilk.
- Before frosting, it is necessary to cool down the cake completely.
A humble carrot cake would definitely turn into a perfect party dessert with these tips and tricks. Enjoy baking!!
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