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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Basic carrot cake bars (American)

I love carrot cookies. The flavor and consistency added by carrots in bread-cake compositions is hard to beat by anything else. Sometimes even chocolate can't compare.
Carrots, although they may seem unusual in baked stuff, are actually a medieval European tradition, due to their wide availability in those times when sugar or other sweeteners were hard to find or expensive. Carrot cakes are believed to originated in Sweden, but have become popular through the immigrants bringing them to the emerging States of America. Today they are practically a staple in most pastry shops and cafeterias throughout USA.
This is the basic version of a fast and easy dessert without any other added flavors but pure sweet carrot. Enjoy.

P.S: If you're looking for a posh-up version of a festive cake using a carrot cake base, why not try our carrot and clementine cake :) ?

Ingredients (makes a batch):
  • 300 g carrot
  • 3 eggs (separated)
  • 5 tablespoons sunflower kernel oil (or any other unflavored oil)
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 100 g whole wheat flour
  • 180 g white sugar
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 envelope of baking powder (15 g)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a little butter for greasing the baking tray
For decorating:
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 200 g powder sugar
  • marzipan carrots (we bought ours from the supermarket, but they're also easy to make at home, follow this link to learn how)
Note: If you plan to not bother with marzipan carrots and just go for the simple cake, don't renounce the lemon sugar icing, it makes a huge difference. You could replace the carrots with little bits of orange or apricot jam. Although we do strongly recommend the marzipan goodness, it adds almond depth flavor to the whole thing which is hard to surpass.

Start by grating the carrots:

Beat the egg whites with half of the sugar and the salt. You don't need to do it until stiff, just creamy:

Separately, combine the remaining sugar with the egg yolks, oil and 5 tablespoons hot water:

Beat it until even and creamy, then add the beaten egg whites:

Also add the grated carrots and lemon zest:

Measure and combine the 2 flours. Also add the baking powder:

Mix well, then add over the rest of the stuff:

Mix everything into a batter (easy with a fork, should take 1 minute):

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and use a little butter to well grease a baking tray:

Pour the batter in the tray and level it if necessary:

Put in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Take it out and allow to cool:

When it's almost cooled (in another 30 minutes or so), mix the powder sugar with the lemon juice:

If it's too dry you may add 1-2 tablespoons of hot water to the icing. Mix it well:

Pour it over the cake and allow it to cool and harden up:

That should take 15 minutes tops. When it's cooled and dried, start cut it into square-shaped bars:

Decorate with marzipan carrots and arrange on serving plates:

It's ready, dig in!

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