Saturday, 23 June 2007

Moreish Carrot and Date Cake

* Moreish/morish (adj)
colloq. Said especially of a food: so tasty, delicious, etc that one wants to keep eating more of it.

When you mention "carrot cake" to Singaporeans, they will immediately think that you are referring to the fried savoury dish made of radish and eggs. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is a "sweet" version of carrot cake. My first encounter with this version was during my first visit to Australia more than a decade ago. It was love at first bite - so moist and not overly sweet.

I had a great handwritten recipe from a friend's mom, but in my many moves to different countries I've lost it. I've also lost touch with that friend, so there is no way I can recover that recipe. There are lots of carrot cake recipes out there but I find them too "heavy". Even carrot cakes at cafes tend to be too oily for my taste. When I saw
Freya's recipe for a low fat carrot cake, I had to make it right away. You can probably tell by now that I have problems following instructions, so of course I adapted the recipe. I wanted to try something a bit different so I used dates instead of sultanas, reduced the amount of oil, added walnuts and orange zest and used brown sugar in place of muscovado sugar.

The Verdict - The cake is wonderfully moist and with the right amount of sweetness. It's a keeper (even Quikong agreed). This cake tastes better when it has completely cooled and with some icing. It remains moist the next day. I actually think it tasted better the next morning (yes - I had cake for breakfast!).

You can find Freya's original carrot cake recipe here. She adapted it from Sue Lawrence's Book of Baking. Thank you, Freya!

Carrot and Date Cake

1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil

150g soft brown sugar

3 large eggs
150g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp freshly grounded nutmeg
250g carrots (unpeeled weight), topped, tailed and grated

100g dried dates, roughly chopped

25g walnuts, roughly chopped

grated zest of 1 orange

1 - Preheat Oven to 180°. Line a 7" baking tin with parch paper.

- Whisk together the sugar and oil and well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well.

3 - Sift together the flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder, then fold into the batter. Fold in the grated carrot, dates, walnuts and orange zest till well blended but be careful not to overmix.

4 - Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake for 40 minutes or a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for five minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a cooling rack. Leave cake to cool completely before icing.

Simple Lemon-Orange Icing
Simply mix 100g of sifted icing sugar with 3 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice until smooth. Spread it over the cooled cake.


Anh said...

Your kichen is full of wonderful sweets lately! This carrot cake sounds lovely. The fact that is healthy is a great bonus! ;)

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Cake for breakfast. Very moreish indeed! Right - I really must stop reading and leave this house. School Fete here we come.

Maggie said...

Now I've made carrot cake lots of times because I love trying out different recipes, but not with dates (that's interesting). Sue Lawrence is a gem. Can I have a piece to try please?

Janet said...

Oh gosh! YUM! Why did you cut the pieces so small???

Nora B. said...

Anh, I have been doing a lot of things with the oven lately, including savoury dishes but I always forget or get too hungry to take photos by the time I finish cooking. ;-)

Amanda, I heard you've been baking up a storm. I hope the summer fair goes well.

Margaret, I love dates in cakes. I make the cake extra moist.

Janet, I cut it into small squares so that i don't feel so bad when I have a few! ;-)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Love carrot cakes. Mine uses a cream cheese frosting (I always use fat free) but I like the Simple Lemon Orange you've used.
Thanks for stopping by my place. It was a wonderful trip and I'm working hard to get the last two parts up by tomorrow.

Cynthia said...

When I saw the title of your post, I remembered Freya's cake right away. Yours looks just as good, so moist, dark and rich, yummm.

Anonymous said...

I laughed when I read your definition :-)

This cake looks perfect to me!

For years, carrot cake was my favorite... but now I just like too many things to be able to pick favorites :)

I cannot wait to make it... Too bad I don't have dates in the pantry. I am glad you found an alternative to the cream cheese icing (Not that I don't like cream cheese, but you have reduced the fat content without compromising in flavor... always good!

Nora B. said...

Tanna,I like cream cheese frosting too but i wasn't sure how long I can leave it out without putting it in the fridge, so that's the main reason why I used the icing glaze instead, not to save calories ;-) I'll have to check out your blog again to read the rest of your adventures.

Cynthia, yes, I couldn't resist when i saw Freya's cake :-)

Em, you can try with sultanas like the original recipe. But if you use dates, it seems to be extra moist.

Anonymous said...

oooh...I have to try making carrot cake with dates. Yours sure looks fabulously delicious.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Nora, I went through something similar when I saw the kind of carrot cake people from US make - the carrot cake we have here in Brazil is sweet but completely different. It's covered with chocolate icing and it's just delicious (I have posted it on my blog).

Your carrot cake looks so good! And being low fat it appeals to me even more. I'm making it soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love your cake! And I love learning a new vocabulary word! ;-)


Kelly-Jane said...

Carrot and dat is new to me, but I like it! Looks yummy.

ilingc said...

My favourite thing about carrot cakes is the cream cheese frosting! That's the only thing that would get me to eat it since I'm not really a big fan of carrots. Your cake looks wonderful but if I make it you can be sure that cream cheese frosting will be on the top. :D

Anonymous said...

What a delight to find that you live in Australia ~ one of those places I would love to visit someday! I love the way creative blogging connects us with others from around the world. I followed your warm welcome to blogland on my blog, & as a carrot cake lover, am enjoying your post here. Oh, congrats on jumping onto the blogging ship, & it's great to meet someone who has been at it for a relatively short time, & has such a lovely, & yummmmy looking blog. Also, glad you enjoyed the photos, & yes, it IS wonderful to have moved to the mountains! Now I am even more curious about Australia! Have a great day. :-)

Aimée said...

There's nothing wrong with cake for breakfast! In fact, I think that people should sit down with a nice slice of something iced more often in the mornings and the world would be a much happier place.:)

Nora B. said...

Ninja, you have to try baking with dates, it makes the extra nice & moist.

Patricia, i didn't know about the Brazilian carrot cake and had a look at your recipe. I like how the carrots are blended because the colour of the cake looks so vibrant! I will definitely try your recipe. The choc icing is an added bonus :-)

Paz, glad I could teach you something new. :-)

Kelly-jane, if you don't tell anyone there is carrot in it, I don't think anyone would notice ;-)

Ilingc, I love cream cheese frosting too. It's just that plain icing can last longer if not refridgerated.

Carolyn, thank you! And we hope to see you down under some day. :-)

Aimée, I couldn't have said it any better! ;-)

Wendy said...

This sounds like my kind of cake. Spiced rather than sweet.
A lovely photo too. You can see how moist the cake is.

Anonymous said...

looks divine! :D have bookmarked to try :D knbdg

WokandSpoon said...

Hi Nora, thanks for stopping by my blog. I have to admit - I find carrot cake a bit weird as I almost expect it to be savoury and not sweet! I'll have to try out your recipe to change my mind ;-)

Hope you're enjoying Australia! I miss it a little but I get to spend 10 days in melbourne in August! Can't wait!

thepassionatecook said...

ah this comes very timely, i've been wanting to make carrot cake for ages!
not too keen on the icing, though, but that's a persinal problem i am seeing my shrink for ;-)

bee said...

thanks for dropping by, nora. love your blog. this cake sounds really moist and delish.

Nora B. said...

Thanks Wendy. yes it was not too sweet. The sweetness came more from the dates & carrots.

TriniGourmet - Thanks and Welcome!

Wok & Spoon - I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.
p/s: August is a great month to be here, not too cold and not too hot.

The passionate cook - Does that include chocolate icing??? If so, I hope that you get over the icing phobia soon because you are missing out ;-)

Helene said...

I would so have half that cake before 10am!!! Looks delish...just noticed you and I are wonder I love your cakes!!

Anonymous said...

I made it tonight... but no frosting since I had no icing sugar or no cream cheese. But it does not really matter, because the cake in itself is yummy! Very moist and moreish indeed! I think it will become a favorite.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi Nora, Thanks for visiting my blog. I am used to the savoury kind of carrot cake too, coming from M'sia. I have never made carrot cake before, neither have I tasted very many that I liked. I love dates in cakes( my next post will be on sticky date pudding) though, so I'm sure yours would taste lovely. I love that you have chosen to use an orange icing instead too!

Warda said...

Starting the day with a healthy cake is not wrong .Looks lovely and so moist.

Nora B. said...

Hi Bee, thanks for dropping by my blog.

Helen, I've heard a lot of nice things about Taurians ;-)

Hey Em, I'm glad that you enjoyed the cake. I'm making it again soon.

Carol, carrot cakes are usually very moist and not too sweet, so do give it a try. I just saw your sticky date pudding. I have been looking for a good recipe, so thanks!

Rose, I'm glad that you agree.

Freya said...

Great adaptation of this recipe! Sorry for the delay in commenting but I just came across your email which my husband must have opened but forgot to tell me about!!
It looks wonderful, I'm sure you'll find it becomes a firm favourite!

Nora B. said...

Hi Freya, no worries, and thanks for writing back. It's already a favouirte - I've already made it again last night. :-)

Paola Westbeek said...

This looks right up my alley! I am a huge fan of anything with carrots and I love dates. I was planning on making some carrot muffins over the weekend but I might give this recipe a try.


Nora B. said...

Hi Paola, I hope that you'll like the cake. I've never made carrot muffins. I hope that you'll post a recipe when you do make some. ;-)

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I love the substitution of dates for raisins in your delicious looking carrot cake!! The choice of icing would depend on mood..sometimes I would like the heavy cream cheese icing of mine and sometimes the light lemony glaze of yours!!

Nora B. said...

Hi Valli, thanks for having a look at this recipe. I did actually prefer dates than sultanas in cakes. It has a richer flavour and I prefer the texture too. That said, I am keen to try your carrot cake recipe. I like cream cheese icing very much. This was just quicker.

Celia Hart said...

This is definitely the best carrot cake recipe I've baked - so from now on this is THE Carrot Cake of choice for me! And it's so quick and easy too.
I baked one for my husband to take to work on his birthday and it was devoured by his colleagues - "I don't like carrot cake - but this is delicious" was one comment!!!


Anonymous said...

hi i tried this recipe and believe me it was Awesome and pretty easy to make. Well, was over before the next morning... but then realized my husband saved a piece and had it for breakfast. Yum Yum!