There's a restaurant in New York called Alice's Tea Cup which serves Alice In Wonderland-themed tea-type meals. It's a wee bit kitschy, but still cute, and the food is quite good. There's a particular sandwich they make that my sister and I both love, filled with goat cheese, olive tapenade, and cumin-glazed carrots. After eating this sandwich, my sister went home and recreated the carrots. I went home and made a cake. Make of that what you will-and also, make this cake, because it is wonderful. It's adapted just slightly from a recipe on 101 cookbooks (http://www.101cookbooks...) and it's really more like a carrot loaf, or a carrot quick-bread, since it's not very sweet. The frosting, though, is entirely my own invention and, if I do say so myself, is what really puts the flavors over the top. I'm one of those people who usually prefers the cake to the frosting and really, if given the choice, would take a muffin or a scone instead, but I could eat this stuff with a spoon. I've paired it with a carrot cake/loaf here, but I expect the frosting would go equally well with a zucchini or pumpkin bread, or even with a chocolate cake. —summersavory
a loaf cake
2 tbsp heavy cream, divided
neufchatel cheese (or cream cheese)
whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons
walnuts, chopped fine
butter, melted (1 stick)
(packed!) pitted dried dates
mashed butternut squash, or equivalent (pumpkin, acorn, whatever)
1 1/2 cups
(packed!) grated carrots
plain, whole-milk yogurt
eggs, lightly beaten
In This Recipe
Toast the cumin seeds over medium heat in a small skillet until they begin to make your kitchen smell wonderful and a little smoky. Pour 1/2 cup of the cream into the skillet with the seeds, and heat on low for another 30 seconds or so. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Then, strain it all to remove the seeds and any clotted bits, and refrigerate the infused cream until thoroughly chilled.
When the cream is nice and cold, mix the neufchatel cheese, confectioner's sugar, cinnamon, and 3 tbsp of the infused cream until well combined. Then, take the rest of the infused cream out of the fridge and add the other 2 tbsp of cream that weren't infused (they should also be cold). Whip the cream to very soft peaks (it may take bit of extra elbow grease, since the heating/cooling/infusing messes with the cream a little). Fold the neufchatel cheese mixture into the whipped cream. Try not to over-mix, of course, but do make sure there aren't huge uncombined streaks. Refrigerate the mixture until you're ready to use it.
Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment. Whisk together the flours, baking powder, spices, salt, and walnuts, and set aside.
Chop the dates finely. Really finely. When you think they're chopped enough, chop some more. They should almost become a paste. Mix the dates into the melted butter and set aside. Now would also be a good time to Preheat The Oven to 350 F.
Mash the bananas and mix with the mashed squash. You should have about 1 1/4 cups altogether; if you're short, make up the difference with more squash or banana (whichever you have on hand). Mix in the grated carrots. Add the dates and butter to that, and then mix in the yogurt and eggs. Combine all those wet ingredients with the dry ones you measured out earlier and mix it all together until completely combined. It will be a lot of batter, and it will seem relatively thick. This is okay.
Spoon the batter into your prepared loaf pan and smooth it all the way out to the edges and corners. Bake in the preheated-to-350F oven for about an hour, or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out free of tantalizing crumbs. Remove the loaf from the pan, take off the parchment, and cool completely.
Just before serving, take the frosting out of the fridge and generously spread it across the top of the loaf. Once it's frosted, any leftovers should be stored in the refrigerator (ideally, of course, there are no leftovers at all :) ) (but if there are, it makes a great breakfast! Relatively healthy, too, for cake.)