A carrot-ty cake

Did you know, stressed = desserts spelled backwards? I discovered this recently when googling cake recipes – my no. 1 choice of procrastination. It must be more than mere coincidence: the universe is probably trying to tell us something (and who am I to say no to the universe?). You can’t go against nature, man.

And I have good reason to be stressed. In between exam revision, looming project deadlines and job applications, I really don’t have any time to spare. The pressure is on but I’m managing okay – just about. Ask me again in a week’s time and I might well be a gibbering wreck of a shadow of my former self. Right now, the cake is keeping me going.

When I made this carrot cake two days ago, I had a craving for something dense and stodgy. This was after the banana and date wedge I had at Blackbird bakery – it was really quite something (so was the price tag). It was dense and dark. It had a natural sweetness coming from the banana and dates. Mmm… it got me thinking about my next bake. Yes, I wanted something solid and comforting and I had nuts, carrots and raisins at home so naturally… carrot cake was the answer.

I’ve made a few carrot cakes before, once with pineapple and another time with coconut. Once with cream cheese frosting (which was really, really good). This time I was going for the pecan-raisin combo.

The thing I’ve noticed with a lot of carrot cake recipes is the amount of sugar listed in the ingredients. Yeh, sugar is important for the texture of a cake (more sugar = a more tender crumb) but I feel like most recipes overdo it. Well that’s true for most cake recipes in general. Two cups of sugar for one cake, really? Eek, my Asian sweet-tooth rebels against the thought. I decided to cobble together my own in the end.

The result was not bad.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really like it when it first came out of the oven. A few hours later however, something had changed. The fats had solidified, the flavour had deepened. It was tasty. It was moreish. It was absolutely delicious. A few hours AFTER that… hey, I ate a third of the cake that day. I guess my brain needed the sugar.

Sadly, it’s all gone now. I had the last crumbs yesterday. But that’s okay, when one cake is finished you bake another. I’m thinking… chewy mochi cake?

Carrot Cake (with pecans & raisins)

Makes enough for one loaf.

2 eggs
½ cup of dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 packed cup of grated carrots (about 4 smallish carrots)
½ cup of raisins (pre-soak them if they’re a bit dry)
½ cup of walnuts/pecans (toast beforehand for more flavour)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ cups of plain flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt

Optional: black pepper, I thought I’d add a pinch as an experiment to give the cake a tiny kick but it was more of a feeble foot poke – I’d increase it to ½ tsp. next time.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the oil, grated carrots, raisins, nuts, vanilla extract and combine well. Add the dry ingredients and combine. Pour into a loaf tin, or whatever you’re using. Cupcakes will probably take half the time. Bake at 180°C for about an hour. Cover with foil if the cake starts to brown too much (at half hour mark).

That’s it, done. Now go forth and eat!

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