LUCY BURDETTE: I cracked myself up with the title for this post, because one of my favorite Key West characters is the Cat Man, Dominque, and his flying house cats. They put on a show every night at Mallory Square. All the while he's setting up his carriers full of cats and stools and rings, he's announcing in a funny French accent:
"Cat show for cat lovers, in five minutes!"
So, "Carrot cake for carrot cake lovers, in five minutes"...but in this case, it's for carrot cake haters too:)
|Jeff with our daughter Molly|
Most of the carrot cake recipes I read used oil instead of butter. While oil in a cake seems like sacrilege to me, I bowed to the majority opinion that in carrot cake, the oil helps the lightness and texture. In the end, I chose to make the cake with 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce. I also added pineapple and raisins and skipped the nutmeg while doubling the cinnamon.
I have to admit that the end result was delicious! (The cream cheese icing helps a lot...)
1 or so pound carrots, washed, peeled, cut into chunks
1 cup pecan halves, toasted
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
4 oz unsweetened apple sauce
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins, optional
1/2 cup crushed pineapple in juice
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
Grind the carrots in a food processor until fairly fine. This should measure about 3 cups. Grind the pecan halves until fine. Set these ingredients aside. Preheat the oven to 350. Butter or oil a 9 x 12 inch pan.
In a large bowl, beat the two sugars with the oil and the applesauce. In a second bowl, combine the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and flour. In a third bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla.
Add the dry and egg mixtures alternately into the sugar mixture, beating after each addition. At the end, stir in the carrots, nuts, raisins, and pineapple until well combined.
Pour this into the oiled pan. Bake at 350 for about 35-45 minutes until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick or knife stabbed into the cake comes out clean. (You will have to keep an eye on this.) Cool.
Beat the cream cheese with the butter, orange zest, and vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar until it's the consistency you like. I used about 2 cups. Frost the cooled cake.
Refrigerate, but let it sit out 30-45 minutes before serving. (Some bakers say the cake tastes better the second day, which is when we ate ours. Though it's a big cake, so we also ate it on the third day!)
Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. MURDER WITH GANACHE will be out on February 4, but you can pre-order it now.
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