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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Carrot Cake

I feel weird admitting this but the truth is... I’ve never really liked carrot cake. I always felt that I should like it, especially because I love spice cake, but when it comes right down to it, I can’t get past stringy pieces of carrot in my cake. I don’t like shredded carrot in my salad, and I feel it has no place in baked goods. It also brings back memories of carrot tzimmis, a dish my mom always loved and tried to get me to eat, but again, there were those stringy pieces of carrot I couldn’t get past. And carrot tzimmis is actually made using carrot peels, at least that's the way I've always seen it, so it just seems like someone took what was supposed to go into the garbage and put it on a plate. And don’t get me started on putting raisins in tzimmis, those are just two foods that were never meant to go together that way. Sorry, Mameleh. I always loved your kasha varnishkes though!

But today is the birthday of one of my coworkers, and carrot cake is his favorite. And since I like to make people happy on their birthdays, I wanted to make him carrot cake cupcakes. But I just wasn’t happy about the shredded carrot. And then it hit me. Why not make the carrot behave like canned pumpkin does in pumpkin cake? It’s so logical, I can’t believe it never occurred to me before. We have this awesome little baby food maker that steams and purees food, all you have to do is cut it up into little pieces first. So I peeled and cut the carrots and threw them into the machine, and voila! Perfect. (I meant to take a picture of the pureed carrot but I totally forgot, so just imagine a bowl of orange puree. It looks like pumpkin puree but a little more orange and a little less wet.) If you don’t have a Beaba Babycook machine, I think you could just boil or steam the carrots and then puree them in a food processor for the same effect.

I used this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I love her -- I think she’s brilliant. The only thing I changed, besides the carrot, was to cut the sugar down to 1-1/2 cups rather than 2, because I like cakes that are a little less sweet, especially when there’s a sweet frosting, but that’s a personal preference. I think the carrot puree actually improves the consistency because it helps keep them moister than shredded carrot would. And of course the cream cheese frosting makes them delicious.

So there you have it. Carrot puree. I think it’s an idea whose time has come.


  1. How did you get that perfect little swirl on the cupcake? I can never get them to look so pretty...

    BTW- Love the blog!

  2. Thanks, Jen! I don't know how the swirls came out so well. I didn't use a tip, just put the frosting in a plastic bag and cut a tiny hole in the end. I like to think it's my artistry but I think really it was the consistency of the frosting. :)