Monday, April 11, 2011

Carrot Cake, Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food



I certainly did not mean to be away from the blog for this long, but then the spring sprung, and well, it appears that it got away from me.

But, sigh, we're on spring break right now, which means I can get caught up.

But before I catch you up on the second round of carrot cake (and I have another round planned for later this week), let me get you caught up on the most exciting things.

I decided to run a race.


Now for some of you, this means nothing.  You are superstars.  You run marathons in your free time.  You laugh at half marathons.  But I am not that person.  About a year ago, I professed loudly and proudly that I did not like to run.  But in January, I purchased new kicks, and I got myself out there so I could participate in the Oakland Relay (which encourages four non-overachievers to band together to run separate legs of the race).  Let's be clear here, we were near the back of the pack.  Times meant nothing.  But I ran a 10k.  And I literally said to the guy manning my finish line, "That's it?"  Now part of this may be because I was running the third leg, so the only person at my finish line was that guy.  No kidding.  And then around the corner were all the relay participants.  Part of this may also be because I was actually enjoying myself.  Of course, my legs felt like noodles, I had a headache from being a little dehydrated, and I am sure I was bright beet red.  Because I am ever-so-attractive when I run.

The next week, I signed up for Bay to Breakers.



These have been big decisions for me.  I still would not call myself a runner, but I am running.  In less than five weeks, I will be running another 10k (this time with a monstrous hill).   And the goal is to run a half marathon Halloween weekend.  Am I crazy?

Well, perhaps if I keep eating carrot cake muffins, I will never be able to haul myself across the finish lines.  But I do love the carrot cake.  For the bonus, carrot cake has finally put a dent in the sheer number of carrots from the CSA box.  And we're finally moving away from the winter root vegetables and into the world of asparagus.  Sweet asparagus.



In this second round of carrot cake, I would say that this is a better recipe than The Joy of Cooking, but I am not entirely sold yet.  Here are its pros and its cons:

Pros:
Not as oily as the Joy of Cooking
Has much more of a carrot taste to it
Lower fat--I like the use of yogurt, and I even used non-fat yogurt rather than the whole milk kind
Not a spice cake

Cons:
Lost a lot of moisture on the second day
Could use a kick up of the cinnamon--it felt a little one note

All in all, this was a solid entry into the carrot cake extravaganza.  I am looking forward to making more carrot cake, to writing more entries on the blog, and (gasp) to ticking off the miles as I run.





-------------
18-Carrot Cake

Yield:
12 Muffins

Ingredients:  
1 3/4 cups (241 grams) All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
3/4 cup Vanilla Yogurt
2 ounces Vegetable Oil
10 ounces (284 grams) Granulated Sugar
3 Large Eggs
8 ounces (227 grams) Raw Carrot
1 cup raisins

Instructions:
1.  Prep a 9x3 inch pan with pam and flour or set up muffin cups.

2.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

3.  Combine the dry ingredients.  Alton suggests a couple of pulses in the food processor. Pour dry ingredients into a large bowl.

4. Grate carrots.  I used the food processor with the grating attachment, but you could use the box grater.  Place the carrots on top of the dry ingredients.

5.  In the food processor, combine the yogurt, oil, sugar and eggs.  Spin until thoroughly combined and slightly thickened.

6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and carrots.   Add raisins.  Mix just until batter comes together.  Do not mix smooth.

7.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan or muffin cups.

8.  Bake for 30 minutes (muffin cups) or 45 minutes (cake pan), then lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake another 5 minutes (muffin cups) or 15 minute (cake pan).  Check the doneness of the cake by inserting a toothpick .  It should come out clean; if not, put back for another 5 minutes.

9.  Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool 15 minutes.


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