After watching a few episodes of Top Chef: Just Desserts (in between surfing, knitting and reviews on patagonia ultralight down shirts), I suddenly have a craving for carrot cake but I wanted something that the kids, specifically Noah, could enjoy. This meant no dairy and only ingredients that he is familiar with.
So after hunting around my recipe books and the Internet, I decided to improvise on the simplest recipe I could find – the one by Betty Crocker. I was intrigued by the low calorie option although the idea of using just 1 egg and 4 egg whites didn’t go down too well. So I just stuck with replacing 1/2 cup of oil with applesauce. Then I had the strangest idea – I wanted a dark, nearly toffee-like smelling cake so why not use the molasses I bought a while back? I usually like my cakes to be on the less-sweet side so I cut back on the sugar and sub 1/4 cup of the stuff for molasses.
The result is a moist, semi-light cake that reminds me a lot of Christmas and fruit cakes. Perhaps it’s the spices I used – cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s not a bad thing…in fact, I like it. I can’t really remember what carrot cakes are supposed to taste like – the ones I had in Malaysia always taste like buttercream more than carrot OR butter cake with carrot bits in it. The only change I would make would be to shred the carrots by hand as they appear to be too large – I used a food processor – but after looking at it again, it doesn’t seem to be all that bad.
Molasses carrot cake
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Carrot Cake recipe.
3 cups shredded carrot (about four medium sized carrots)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup dessicated coconut (optional; you can sub with chopped nuts, raisins and other dried fruit)
Slight less than 3/4 brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup olive oil
4 medium eggs
1 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
- Preheat your oven to 170°C and put aside a greased loaf pan or square pan.
- Mix the eggs, sugar, oil, applesauce and molasses until well combined before adding in the flour, vanilla essence, cinnamon and nutmeg powder. Stir until just lumpy.
- Fold in the coconut, coconut milk and shredded carrots. Mix well.
- When ready, pour into your pan and bake for 30-45 mins – test using a toothpick (it should come out clean if cooked).
- Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar for 10 mins before removing it from the oven. Cool in the pan for an hour before removing it to place on the rake. Enjoy on its own or with frosting if you like