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Author Notes: I'm still testing this one (if you try it, let me know your thoughts). A coming-together of two pretty different carrot cake recipes: one is Madhur Jaffrey's very simple take on Indian halwai, the other is Kimberly Boyce's carrot muffin recipe which capitalizes on the flavor of spelt flour. I'm dedicating this one to my brother, who loves carrot cake since its sweetness is a bit more complex (I've never seen him eat junky candy like I do) but lives across the country from me so I hardly get to bake for him. It has the whole-grain hippie goodness flavor that I enjoy so much, that we grew up eating (children of Moosewood and Cabbagetown Cafe cookbook collectors) —Raquelita
Makes 9 generous pieces, could serve 12
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 2/3 cup raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vietnamese (preferably) cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon freshly-grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 4 tablespoons softened ghee or melted unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots--as locally-produced as possible for sweetest flavor
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, crushed
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
- Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in the oat bran and mix until combined.
- Whisk the yogurt with the water in a small bowl until smooth and lightened.
- Break up the egg, whisk in the ghee/butter, sugar, spices and yogurt.
- Add the carrots and raisins to the dry mixture.
- Add the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, stir in gently to combine.
- Turn batter into an oiled, floured round or square cake pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile, infuse the maple syrup: heat the syrup with the whole cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, slice of ginger root, points of star anise and scraped-out vanilla bean seeds/bean. Boil a larger pot or pan of water while you do this. Let the syrup boil just a few minutes (you don't want to over-reduce it), turn it off the heat and place the saucepan in a larger pan of hot water to keep it fluid while the spices steep.
- When the cake is golden-brown and baked through, let it cool. To serve, cut it into squares, or turn the whole thing onto a plate. Strain the syrup and drizzle over the cake. The syrup is totally optional. You can sort of pass this off as bread if you omit the syrup and bake this in a loaf pan for about 40-45 minutes.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Carrot Recipe