Today, dear friends, I’m offering you cake.
Does it matter that it came from the (very boring) utilitarian impulse to rid my fridge of a 5lb bag of carrots? Or that it burnt a little along the edges because I forgot to set the timer? Or that the carrots strewn decoratively over the top came out a bit crisper than expected? No, none of the this matters. Because, it is, after all, still cake.
Glorious, glorious cake.
Or at least that’s what I’m calling it, even if it’s worlds apart from the butter-and-frosting YOLO carrot cake I made a few weeks ago (if that thing were a person, it’d be the first one to finish the keg at the party and do a cannonball in the deep end of the pool.)
No, this cake, this loaf, marches to the beat of a different drum.
The original recipe refers to it a “bread”, but I think it feels and tastes a lot closer to a pound cake, the only real difference being that you swap the pound of butter (hence, POUND cake) for one cup of olive oil. (cardiologists, rejoice.) To be clear, though, this isn’t exactly health-cake either. At least not in the strictest sense of the word. It’s still got white flour and sugar (one and a quarter cups to be precise!) and all that good stuff. Which brings me back to the reason I’m calling it “cake”. It’s got a very moist crumb – thanks to the olive oil – and crisp edges, making it perfect for dunking into coffee or tea. The fact that it’s jam-packed with strands of fresh carrot leads me to believe that it’s also perfectly acceptable to call it breakfast cake. (If you’re not convinced, just leave half a loaf in the copy room at work. By 9:30am, that thing will be demolished. Ta da! Breakfast for all!)
Olive Oil Carrot Cake – slightly adapted from Brooklyn Supper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 3 eggs
- 1 ¼ cups sugar
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Liberally butter a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
2) In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices.
3) In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on low speed (or with a whisk). Add grated carrots, zest, and vanilla. Fold in half the flour, all of the olive oil, and then the remaining flour. Mix just until everything is well combined.
4) Spoon into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes. Pull bread from oven and carefully lay 3 or 4 candied carrot halves across the top; spoon 2 tablespoons of the syrup over the top. Put back into the oven, and bake 20 – 30 minutes more or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached.
5) Cool for 20 minutes, and then flip out onto a platter or rack to cool completely.
For the Candied Carrots (optional)
- 4 small carrots
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
1) Trim the tops of the carrots, then peel and halve them. (if you’re using pretty, market-fresh carrots for this, you can leave a little spray of greens at the top.)
2) In a wide saucepan, heat the sugar and water over medium heat. When sugar has dissolved, add the carrots and turn heat down so that mixture bubbles ever so gently. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, for 20 minutes or until thinnest part of carrot is translucent.
Note: the carrot bread will keep for a few days, well-wrapped at room temperature.