Last October, I organized Pumpkin Pie Fest, a celebration of that classic Thanksgiving dessert. (In fact, we held the event on the day after Canadian Thanksgiving, a holiday which in this country is called “Columbus Day“, on which we try to pretend we’re not celebrating one of the largest genocides in recorded history.) I baked eight pies, and was able to organize enough other volunteers to double that total. My original purpose in holding the event was to give myself an excuse to try a whole bunch of pumpkin pie recipes and get some sort of objective evaluation as to which one was best — and, not coincidentally, get a bunch of other people to eat most of the pie so I wasn’t stuck with a freezer full of super-high-calorie orange custard.
Earlier this week I was thinking about doing the same for carrot cake. I had three or four recipes that I wanted to try, and I figured <blink>FREE CAKE</blink> would be enough to convince people that it was worth doing. It didn’t seem to work; I received only one response indicating the remotest interest in doing something of the sort, despite asking a number of people who are far better bakers than I am. Of course, carrot cake has its detractors, but for every person who says “sure, I like carrot cake, just don’t make me eat cream-cheese frosting”, there’s another person who views carrot cake as little more than a means to pretend that cream-cheese frosting isn’t quite as unhealthy as it actually is.
Nonetheless, I came up with a list of nine different recipes for things that are vaguely carrot-cake-ish (not counting the Moosewood one that uses pre-cooked carrot) from my personal cookbook collection, and I wanted to take note of them all here before I lose the piece of paper I was using to take notes. There are two major categories: those with raisins, and those with pineapple and shredded or flaked coconut.
|Diane St. Clair, The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook, p. 29||Spicy Carrot Cake Muffins||12 cupcakes||whole-wheat pastry flour, raisins, pecans, allspice/clove/nutmeg|
|Joanne Chang, Flour, p. 159||Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting||12 cupcakes or 2-layer 8″ round||raisins, walnuts, ginger|
|King Arthur Flour, Whole Grain Baking, p. 419||Carrot Cake||9×13 sheet cake or 2-layer 9″ round or 3-layer 8″ round||whole wheat (of course), raisins or coconut/pineapple, pecans or walnuts, nutmeg; another KAF cookbook has the same recipe with white flour|
|Michael Ruhlman, Egg, p. 135||Emilia’s Carrot Cake||did not take note||rum, raisins, applesauce, walnuts, allspice/nutmeg/cardamom/ginger|
|Alton Brown, I’m Just Here for More Food, p. 128||18-Carrot Cake||did not take note||vanilla yogurt; does not actually have 18 carrots|
|Alton Brown, Good Eats: The Middle Years, p. 228 (from Good Eats #124, “A Taproot Orange”)||Carrot Cake||9×3 round||plain yogurt, allspice/nutmeg|
|Zoe Nathan, Huckleberry, p. 98||Carrot-Apple Teacake||9×5 loaf||raisins, wheat germ or flaxseed, walnuts, nutmeg, grated apple|
|Christopher Kimball, The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook, p. 288||Light Carrot Cake||2-layer 9″ round||pineapple and coconut, pecans, cake flour; based on a Cook’s Illustrated recipe that Kimball, the magazine’s owner-publisher, wasn’t happy with (!)|
|Richard Sax, Classic Home Desserts, p. 434||Applesauce-Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting||10″ tube cake||pineapple/coconut and raisins, allspice/nutmeg, applesauce, pecans or walnuts|