Ahem. Sorry for the creeping tangential nature of this post. Anyway – I can sometimes hear snippets of the stories David reads to Isaac, and yesterday one of them mentioned carrot cake. Carrot cake!?! Said Isaac. What on earth is that? You know, said David, it’s like pumpkin bread – it’s sweet and sweet-spicy. You could see the little wheels turning in Isaac’s head as he processed this information. And, of course, you could hear the little wheels creaking rustily in my much older head as I planned to make a carrot cake. Why not, thought I, why not purée the carrots, instead of grating them? Just for a change. And then my mind wandered back to an Indian dessert I had recently read about (I like to read the dessert sections of my Indian cookbooks while I eat my breakfast, don’t you?) It was a sort of carrot pudding, with pistachios and cardamom. Sounded good! But I didn’t want to just stir the pistachios in. I thought I’d make them into a crumbly topping with lots of butter and sugar, to make this even less of a healthy cake. It turned out very good! The cake is velvety, and the pistachios are a perfect crunchy little accent. Isaac came running into the kitchen, with a beaming smile, saying “you made carrot cake!” and boys both give it their seal of approval (crumbs all over the living room).
Here’s the B 52s with Cake
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 2/3 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t cardamom
1 t ginger
1 cup carrot purée (about 4 or 5 medium carrots, peeled, chopped, and boiled till soft but still bright, and puréed)
dash of milk, if necessary
For the crumble topping…
2 T butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
1/2 cup pistachio kernals, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 375
Cream the butter with the sugar until well mixed and fluffy. Add the vanilla and egg and beat well. Add all of the dry ingredients.
Stir in the carrot purée. The batter should be thick but quite light – like whipped cream. If it’s too stodgy, add a few tablespoons of milk, mix well.
Spread evenly in a buttered, floured, foil-lined cake pan.
FOR THE TOPPING
Combine the ingredients in a bowl, and work with your hand till everything is well-mixed together and feels like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake.
Bake for about half an hour, till it’s all puffed up and the top springs right back up when you lightly press your finger into it.