Carrots are a versatile vegetable and should not only be gazed upon for their beauty. They have much more personality then just their outward appearance and can be used to add texture and flavour, as well as sweetness and colour to a recipe. While carrots are the centre of attention in this cake their flavour is enhanced by the introduction of yogurt’s tang and moisture. These two ingredients together create a tango of tastes and seeing that both are also beneficial to one’s health this cake is not only decadent but does offer more then just a sweet treat. I have added a cream cheese frosting recipe below that I use for clients, although for my own at home indulgence I never frost my carrot cakes.
The wide distribution of Wild Carrot, the absence of carrot root remains in archaeological excavations and lack of documentary evidence do not enable us to determine precisely where and when carrot domestication was initiated. Over thousands of years it moved from being a small, tough, bitter and spindly root to a fleshy, sweet, pigmented unbranched edible root. Even before the introduction of domesticated carrots., wild plants were grown in gardens as medicinal plants.
Unravelling its progress through the ages is complex and inconclusive, but nevertheless a fascinating journey through time and the history of mankind. The Wild Carrot is the progenitor (wild ancestor) of the domestic carrot. It is clear that the Wild Carrot and Domestic Carrot are not the same species and both co-exist in the modern world. It is a popular myth that domestic carrot was developed from Wild Carrot, probably because of its similar smell and taste. Botanists have failed to develop an edible vegetable from the wild root and when cultivation of garden carrots lapses a few generations, it reverts to another ancestral type, a species that is quite distinct.
Wild Carrot is indigenous to Europe and parts of Asia and, from archaeological evidence, seeds have been found dating since Mesolithic times, approximately 10000 years ago. One cannot imagine that the root would have been used at that time, but the seeds are known to be medicinal and it is likely the seeds were merely gathered rather than actually cultivated. Wild carrot has a small, tough pale fleshed bitter white root; modern domestic carrot has a swollen, juice sweet root, usually orange. Carrots originated in present day Afghanistan about 5000 years ago, probably originally as a purple or yellow root like those pictured here. Nature then took a hand and produced mutants and natural hybrids, crossing both with cultivated and wild varieties. It is considered that purple carrots were then taken westwards where it is thought yellow mutants and wild forms crossed to produce orange. Finally some motivated Dutch growers took these mutant orange carrots under their horticultural wings and developed them to be the sweet and tasty carrot we know today.The Carrot Museum
A sweet treat that is also good for you!
- Unsalted butter for the pan
- 12 ounces grated carrots 6 medium
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts may be omitted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 ounces unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar sifted
Preheat oven to 350 Butter and flour a 9inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. Grate carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, walnuts and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until well-coated.
In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt. With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 F and bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.
Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.
The total cooking time does not include frosting the cake.
If you wish, you may add flavouring to the cream cheese. I find a few tablespoons of marmalade, or a teaspoon of orange extract, adds a nice taste to the frosting and compliments the cake very well.