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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Single Layer Carrot Cake with Olive Oil

It took me 3 rounds of baking this cake before I actually got a chance to snap a shot of a slice, let alone post the recipe.
That's how fast it goes.
The last time I made it was for my Mother in Law, who had never had carrot cake before, and thought the idea was interesting.  As I grated my carrots and prepared the olive oil, I could literally see the question marks above my in-law's heads as I told them I was making a cake for dessert.  They really thought I was pulling their legs and I was making some sort of appetizer.

Everything was settled once they had a slice and made 2 break through discoveries:  
1.  Carrots can be used in dessert!
2.  The French are not the only ones who can do dessert!

Come on now, everyone who has eaten at my table several times has had carrot or beetroot halwa before.. this really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone!

So I now present to you the most requested dessert (and easiest one to make) in my house, 
the Single Layer Carrot Cake with Olive Oil.

Serves 10-12
170g (6oz) brown sugar
180 mL (3/4 cup) Olive Oil
60g (1/4 cup) plain yogurt
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 packet vanilla sugar
250g (2 cups) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly ground java pepper (or quality black pepper)
Fold in:
260-280g (2 cups) grated carrots (approximately 6 medium)
1 inch freshly grated ginger
60g (1/2 cup) raisins or 3/4 cup chopped pecans
100g (3.5oz) room temperature cream cheese
50g (1.76oz) softened butter
50g (1.76oz) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
pinch freshly ground java pepper

1.  Combine the dry ingredients and set aside.
2.  Beat the brown sugar, olive oil, and yogurt together for at least 1 minute.
3.  Add the eggs in one at a time, beating them in, then add the vanilla.
4.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir until just combined.  This means not to mix it too much, but enough so the pockets of flour have disappeared.
5.  Fold in the grated carrots, ginger, and raisins very gently.
6.  I don't have one of those cake pans where the bottom drops out, and I don't believe I really need one, so I used a 20 x 25cm (8 x 10in) rectangular pan lined with parchment paper.  The parchment paper makes it easy to remove the cake from the pan and cut it nicely at the end.  Pour your batter into this and distribute it evenly.
7.  Bake at 180°C 350°F for 32-38 minutes.  Check for doneness by poking a toothpick into the center.  It is done when it comes out almost clean.  If it is totally clean, the cake will be less moist.
Each oven is different, so it's hard to give an exact time.  In my oven, it is perfect at 33-34 minutes.
8.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before frosting it.
9.  Make the frosting.   Beat the butter and cream cheese together, then incorporate the sugar, vanilla, ginger, and pepper.  It should be rather stiff.  To make it easier to spread, add the yogurt.  It should not be runny!  Don't screw this up!
10.  Apply the frosting with the back of a spoon or a frosting spatula so there is a nice thick even layer covering the entire top of the cake.  I'm not usually a frosting person, but trust me, this is necessary.  Don't think to hard about it.. just do it.
Cut the cake the way you like, into sizes you like, and serve at room temperature or cold.
You can add chopped pecans or raisins to each slice to make it pretty, instead of just plopping it onto the table, parchment paper and all the way I usually do.
The result is so moist and decadent, not too sweet, but just enough with a touch of zesty happiness.
No, you can't taste the olive oil.  No, it doesn't taste like a salad.
It actually gets better the next day...
and the next..
and the next after that..

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