Over dinner today, which my roommate catered, we had a discussion about zucchini casserole and the rising epidemic of young kids who have actually managed to convince themselves (and their willing parents) that to eat vegetables would be akin to sticking one’s head in a vat of, say, a very concentrated acid.
We concluded with the very astute observation that perhaps this was why, all trends considered, carrot cakes have that nifty little anti-nutritional, sans-essential-vitamins carrot on the top. In fact, I’m pretty sure that that sugary faux carrot probably constitutes more daily servings of vegetables for the average modern-day kid than he/she would normally get. I remember reading several food blogs a while back that would have comments like, “Success! I love this carrots cake and/or zucchini bread and/or some other variation of mildly-vegetated sugary substance recipe because I sneaked in my kids’ servings of vegetables!”
Not that it’s bad to try and sneak your kids veggies through yummy things–that’s like teaching through fun topics! Completely and totally acceptable. But I do believe in being straightforward about what you eat. In response to some concerned and insightful comments about my topic in this post, I guess that’s the point I want to emphasize more than anything else. I bake because I love it and because it brings joy to people in my life–healthy subs are great options that I don’t always, however, offer. I believe that it’s healthier, in some ways, to acknowledge what we’re eating and enjoy it than to pretend that it necessarily is “healthy.” I hope that makes sense.
That being said, here’s a photo of the vegetable culprit.
No, that’s not Photoshop. Heck, I don’t even know how to use a word processor properly, let alone try and fool you by editing my images ever-so-slyly. So yes, that carrot cake actually glistening. And let me tell you, it is gooood.
I had to omit walnuts from my batch because I’m taking the leftovers to my students tomorrow, and there are some food allergies (I know what you’re thinking, “Carrot cake for your students–and you’re talking about parents spoiling their kids?” Well–er…let me get back to you on that one). But you most definitely need to make these with nuts. Pecans work, too. This cake was still delicious, but I’m a sucker for the texture of a full-fledged, nut-filled carrot cake with plump raising and the whole shebam.
If you don’t believe me, just look at another photo.
But speaking of classes, did I mention that this blog was created in large part for a class I’m teaching? It’s “New Media,” and blogging is a big part of what we do in class, so I’m using carrot cakes in yet another way to teach my students. Nifty, eh? That being said…Feel free to leave a comment for the green-thumbed, bright-eyed blogger if you wish! I’m technically supposed to show them what it’s like catering to an audience and/or interacting with readers, so comments would be especially welcome at this crucial juncture. (In other words, if you like what you see/read, please let me know!)
Recipe under the cut–happy readings, all, and of course, happy eatings!
(Adapted from our old favorite, Allrecipes.)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1-1/2 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 pound cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Red, yellow, and green gel food coloring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×9-inch pan. Set aside.
- For the cake: In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white and brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon1 vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until just incorporated. Stir in carrots. Fold in walnuts, if desired. Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 27-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. I prefer storing my carrot cake in the fridge after letting it cool briefly post-baking; I find that it makes the cake moister.
- For frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake with 3/4 of the plain white frosting (use all of the frosting if you don’t plan on making frosting carrots). If you want to decorate your carrot cake with frosting carrots, divide the remaining 1/4 white frosting between two bowls. Add 1 drop of green coloring to one bowl, and 1 drop of red + 2 drops of yellow coloring to the second bowl. Stir until desired color is achieved. Then simply fill two piping bags and pipe a nice little carrot on top of each slice!