The main ingredient in a Carrot cake is carrot. Ok, that’s pretty obvious. But while traditional carrot cakes stick to carrots to flavour the batter, you can find pretty interesting additions to the carrot cakes these days.
Pineapples are a more common new addition. You mix 2 cups of grated carrots and 1 cup crushed canned pineapple (reducing the sugar since the pineapple is already pretty sweet) and you get a really nice fruity cake.
Another fruity option that some recipes include is papaya — not crushed but diced small. I am not inclined to go with the papaya but was intrigued by the addition of some other ingredients like pumpkin, oranges, mashed sweet potatoes and … wait for it.. zucchini!
I didn’t have any zucchini and was too lazy to get some. But I did have pineapple and I did have some leftover pumpkin pie puree from… a while back. So I decided to make the basic carrot cake batter (flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, vegetable oil and eggs. I then divided it into two and added carrot+pineapple in one and carrot+pumpkin in the other.
It turns out, the humble carrot cake is very versatile. Both cakes turned out to be delicious and moist, making me quite certain that the zucchini would have worked pretty well too.
I wasn’t very adventurous with the frosting though and stuck to the classic cream cheese frosting. I decided to frost only the carrot-pineapple cake and leave the carrot-pumpkin one frost free. Actually, they both taste great even without the frosting but I am a sucker for cream cheese and so I decided to indulge.
I decided to tempt fate and do a little deco with the frosting: nothing ambitious, just crafted a little cream cheese carrot atop the cake. You see, I’d bought some gel food colouring and was dying to try the colours out. Gorgeous. The sunset orange yielded the perfect shade and the leaf green too. Goodbye liquid colour, hello gels!
So, here’s the recipe. Go try it out.
Carrot cake: two ways
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup crushed pineapple (drained)/ pumpkin pie filling
8 oz cream cheese, leave to soften at room temp
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup icing’ sugar
Sift flour, baking powder+soda and salt. Add cinnamon powder and mix. Make a well in the centre and add the oil, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix well tell you get a smooth batter. Add the carrots, nuts and pineapple/pumpkin.
Pour into a greased 9 inch pan and bake at 180C for 35- 45 mins or till a tester comes out clean.
For the frosting, blend butter and cheese till creamy. Add sugar and beat till smooth.
Spread frosting on cake, cut and eat!