Author: Gift, member of Team Scoop
I was first introduced to carrot cake when I worked as a kitchen staff at Brave Roasters - a specialty coffee shop in Bangkok. My main responsibilities were cooking and baking. The carrot cake was one of the sweet treats we served at the coffee shop. It’s a kind of cake that I have a pretty special relationship with. I learned how to use spices and vegetables in bakery, make cream cheese frosting, and decorate the cake for the first time. On top of that, it’s the cake that my crush (a regular customer I was flirting with) said he liked it a lot.
Not only was I mesmerized with the spice aroma coming off the oven while waiting for the cake, but also the complex and balanced taste of the cake that I found fascinating. The cream cheese frosting even added a more interesting texture into it.
After I baked spice cookies the other week, I still wanted to play around with spices, so the idea of making a carrot cake popped up in my head. What was funny was when I bought carrots, I turned unmotivated and procrastinated. So, they ended up sitting in my fridge for like a week, untouched. One time, I was hungry, so I sliced one carrot to eat with my lentil chicken curry. Now left with another thin, sad-looking carrot and a lazy me. I ran out of snacks for a while, and I felt incomplete, not having any treats to eat with my morning coffee, so I needed to get this done.
A lot of fights going on in my head when I reviewed the recipe I had from Brave Roasters. There were too many ingredients I didn’t have at that moment, and somehow it made me feel like it might compromise the taste of the cake. What if it’s not worth spending an hour making the cake that would turn out crappy. While the other side of my head said, why not using whatever you’ve got and freaking make it happen? As now having a cake to eat was an emergency, it’s not wise to wait till I had everything ready. So, yes, let’s do this now.
I skipped cream cheese frosting this time because I didn’t have the ingredients and didn’t want to spend too much time on it either. Making the cake itself was good enough.
So, based on what I had, here is my recipe:
240g. pastry flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon clove
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
100g. Sugar (I used 50g. Coconut sugar and 50g. Cane sugar)
290g. Coconut oil
1 carrot (Mine weighed 76g. Told you, it’s a sad-looking carrot. Please add more if you have.)
70g. Almond milk
Turn on the oven to 355 °F (180 °C).
Bend the carrot in the food processor till it becomes as fine as sushi rice grains, then set aside.
Mix wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl, starting with beating coconut oil and sugar, then put in almond milk, following with the carrot.
Mix dry ingredients in another container. Use a spoon to stir them all together before sifting into the wet mixture bowl.
After mixing well, pour the batter into a greased baking pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.
What was funny was I blended the carrot too fine - to the point that it almost turned into carrot juice. Luckily, I was able to save some carrot flesh by filtering it with my old handkerchief. Right before baking, I also brushed the cake top with honey because I learned that it will help make the top golden brown and crunchy. I really like that kind of crunchiness; it’s super fun to chew.
After taken out of the oven, the cake didn’t swell up much, but it was a lovely batch. The cake top looked shining brown and very moist. I was impatient, so I only waited till the baking pan was cool enough to touch before removing the cake out of the pan. Although I was very gentle, the freshly baked cake kind of fell apart when cut. I was melted away by the mixed aroma of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Then came the taste, it was great - very tasty! It’s better than I expected. If I could change anything, I would put in less sugar and salt (I adjusted on the recipe above already.). I could still see the tiny orange dots of carrot all over the cake. This batch was a lot different than the batch I baked at Brave Roasters from the ingredients standpoint. Despite that, everything else was satisfying.
Besides almond milk and the carrot, the rest of the ingredients are available at Scoop Marketplace, Seattle’s zero waste grocery store. If you are in Seattle, come visit the shop with your own containers! You can check out the product lists here. There can never be a better time to lower your impact on wasteful packages by shopping stuff in bulk with reusable containers.
The cake lasted for about a week before I had to bake the next batch. There are plenty of benefits when it comes to making your own snacks, which I talked about in the last post. Now, if there is anything I learned from this carrot cake specifically, it would be to never wait for anything to be perfectly ready before doing something. Just start. Just do it now. Done is better than perfect. Then you can learn from your experience and improve it next time.