28 January 2007

A memory test and the ultimate carrot cake

Carrot cake

My favourite passtime is getting into a bookstore like Crossword or Landmark and spending hours browsing around. No marks for guessing which my favourite section is. Nowadays bookstore chains in India encourage to you to browse, sit down, relax, read as much as you want, without anyone bugging you. The Oxford bookstore at Churchgate (downtown Bombay) has a Cha Bar in the store, where you can order from an impressive variety of teas and the all time favourite potato wedges or fries (they serve fries as rings). They don't even mind you taking their books to your table and eating over a good read as most of us like to do at home. How they manage the 'greasy' situations in the event of ketchup or chai or just oil getting on their pages is something I haven't figured out.

Last week, I was loafing around at the Crossword bookstore. This 'big fat' book of 'low-fat' baking (what an irony!) by Linda Fraser, caught my eye. Linda Fraser has this other very popular book on Vegetarian cooking.
Coming to this book, the size of it prohibited me from buying as cooking from a really huge book can be pretty cumbersome. One either has to copy out the recipe on the page or occupy half your counter space. While flipping through the pages, I saw this must-try carrot cake recipe. Memorising the ingredients and process seemed to be a good way to give my memory some exercise.

After reaching home, I tried to pull out the list of ingredients from my memory. The result of the memory test would be out only after we had tasted the cake. With my mom's help, all the necessaries were laid out, assembled and baked into a truly yummy carrot cake. The only effort was in using my rusted memorising skills and ofcourse beating the eggwhites into stiff peaks. The rest of it was a breeze to make and delicious to eat. As Anupama put it, it is a 'homely' kind of cake. Oh, and i did pass the test.

Low Fat Carrot CakePreparation time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes
Makes 16 slices
Category: Cake, Low fat, Healthy baking
Recipe source: Low Fat Baking by Linda Fraser

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tsp baking powder (it is 3 tsp, no mistake here)
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp all - spice powder (Optional, but if you have it, use it)
2 medium carrots - grated (to make roughly 2 cups)
Handful of raisins
4 tbsp cooking oil
4 tbsp milk
4 tbsp orange juice ( I used 8 tbsp milk as I didn't have orange juice)
3/4 cup sugar or more depending on sweetness of carrots
2 eggs - separated
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 9" round pan with oil.
Microwave the grated carrot for 2 minutes and cool. (Optional)
Sift the two flours with the baking powder, salt and spice powders.
In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the yolks, oil, milk and orange juice until well blended.
Mix in the grated carrots and raisins. Gently mix in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
Whisk the egg whites with a tiny pinch of salt for 4-5 minutes, until you get stiff peaks.
With a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites gently into the flour mixture, such that all the air in the egg whites is incorporated into the cake. If you don't fold with a light hand, you will let all the air out, and the cake may not be as soft as it can be.
Empty the mixture into the greased cake tin, smoothen with the spatula and bake for around 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool for atleast 15 minutes. Unmould and cut into slices of desired thickness. Serve warm with a glass of milk!

This is not a very fluffy cake. The carrots and raisins do make it dense but the baking powder and egg whites give it the springy texture. The spices balance out the bland sweetness of the carrots. I would recommend using orange juice for that slight tart taste.

Technorati tags: Carrot cake, healthy baking, low fat cake


Anita said...

Makeover?? More than one it seems!!

Just read your year old post about the 'misunderstanding'!! Now I know the history.

A said...

hey...check that profile...Wow..I wd have never guessed your age..(or is that a tongue and cheek kinda thing) :)

Anupama said...

Hallo to you Nandita after a very long time. I really liked your Cauliflower in spicy peanut curry. The carrot cake looks very homely (can you call a cake "homely"?) and inviting.

lalitha said...

Looks delicious.Have to try this one.thanks for sharing.

jacob said...

i've tried making this like a dozen times and have flopped a dozen times. my carrot cake always turns out soggy. waiting rather impatiently for your recipe:)

Nandita said...

Anita - yes dear, thanks for noticing the makeover! I've decided to keep the template simple and just work on my writing and photo skills. And thanks to the categories now, my past history is open to all (and easily too)

a - :P Lemme see who is this 'a' now - two of the As I know have already commented with their names , haha

Anu- Hi lady! So you came to India and u back now - kai kai kela ikde?? Ofcourse you can call a cake 'homely' and I take it as a compliment :)

Jacob - posting this recipe soon and I hope this turns out well for you.

Lalitha - will post in a while, hope you like it!

veryvibha said...

hiya nandita! the cake looks divine! Wat spice powder did u use? i have never used one in cakes.

Do u have any alternative in this recipe for non-egg eaters?

Lemme know if u want me to post a very easy and YUMMY eggless cake.



Janaki said...

Time to get that oven repaired... i absolutely love carrot cakes... and apparently here in delhi u get the dark kinds.. will try this cake with those carrots.
And since u mentioned Cha Bar, they would serve the most amazing carrot cake with cream.. but i believe its not on their menu any more.

Meeta said...

Looks really scrumptious Nandita. Glad you have a great memory. I love carrot cakes and this really does sound great being low fat and all!

Naked Desserts said...

Do we get baking powder without aluminium in India? I have found that using more than 1tsp in cakes gives them a metallic taste.

Carrot cakes come out great if you use the ruby carrots from Bangalore. Their natural sugar content is higher.

Nandita said...

Vibha- You can try substituting eggs with yogurt, but I am not very sure if the results will be same.

Malini - It does give a metallic taste - but somehow using spices masks the unpleasant taste. Is the aluminium content in baking powder hazardous to health? I did use the ruby red carrots that are very sweet. That is very much in season here too. You can see the red specks in the cake slices. Those are the ones used for nice and red gaajar ka halwa

Janaki, Meeta - glad u liked it.

Pavani said...

Hi Nandita, You have a great memory. I need to look at the recipe a million times, especially for baking. This carrot cake looks delicious and with only 4 tbsp of oil is definitely figure friendly. Thanks for the recipe. Cheers.

Cyndi said...

Nandita, what about the typical Indian diet makes India the "diabetes capital?" Is it the starches in the beans/lentils/potatoes? Something else? I've been working so hard to not cross into full-blown diabetes from the "borderline" state I'm in. Love the look of the cake, by the way.

Nandita said...

Cyndi, interesting question...Indian food habits have revolved around geography for a very long time. Coastal people eating rice and fish and the northern farmers eating wheat, and everyone eating whatever vegetables grow locally. With rapid urbanization, everyone seems to be eating everything. Wrong combinations, too much quantity, the Mc Donald culture as well - plus a genetic tendency in Indians to get diabetes is all working at the high percentage of urbans having diabetes today. DIet and exercise can ofcourse go a long way.

Aruna said...

you can make ur own aluminium free baking powder using B.soda: cream of tartar:corn starch in 1:2:1 ratio. this is a healthy option than the Al based baking pwdr. cream of tartar is available in stores stocking baking supplies. i know of one in chembur, mumbai. Al intake is related to mood disorders..though strong correlation not seen. in any case, there is no metallic taste in baked goods with homemade baking powder. i use it all times with success

Family Restaurants said...

carrot bases desserts, the Indian sweet gajrela / gajar ka halwa is up
there, particularly served hot with vanilla ice cream.


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