After my tryst with baking bread, I felt like perfecting a nice carrot cake recipe. I know what you are thinking – as if I didn’t have enough dismal attempts at baking in my kitty. But what do I do? Much like the sometime hot sometime cool weather we have been seeing, I have been having days when I feel like whipping something up and some when I want to eat something somebody else has whipped up. Not a good proposition if you are watching your weight, I know. And when I bake, I generally like to whip up a few tea cakes, the only ones which I seem to love these days. I am surprising myself by staying clear off heavily iced cakes, and definitely the marzipan ones.
So this urge to make a carrot cake flared up when I got Achu Kurian’s book Cakes, Desserts and More from my club library. Though the title is very unimaginative, I was taken up by the cover of a delectable Black forest cake, and quickly brought it home to pore over. I settled for the carrot cake recipe featured in the book, resisting the desire to check a picture by picture recipe instead that is available on my favourite blogs online.
I generally like trying out recipes from cook blogs and some of my favourites are – sallysbakingaddiction (she is absolutely a Goddess for us novices), amadteaparty – I love the way she weaves a story with her baking and cooking episodes. In addition to these two I of course follow the two colossus The Pioneer Woman and Nigella Lawson. I also check a million other blogs for other cooking ideas and inspirations and am part of Home Baker’s Guild in Facebook which again is a wealth of information. Why am I writing all this? With so much inspiration and such detailed recipes available online I needn’t have had to check recipes for cakes in books. But I did and I had hoped it would work well.
So, imagine my surprise when after following the recipe somewhat to the ‘T’ the cake was dry and egg-y smelling. I was very surprised actually as I had followed the tedious steps (including whipping egg whites to stiff peaks – a job I really hate), and yet the cake was dry and lumpy. Perhaps Achu Kurian would have a reason why my cake had turned out wrong. I couldn’t get past the egg-y smell of the cake and I felt the colour of the carrot cake was too mild, not the rich orange-y one one would expect. Anyway, I was disappointed but not disheartened.
The other day when I got some carrots in hands again, I tried Divascancook’s video on Carrot cake. Monique had termed it her Gram’s Carrot cake and I just didn’t look further, somehow feeling that if a recipe came tagged with a grandparent’s experience then it shouldn’t even be questioned. The recipe was super duper easy, and involved just simple mixing of dry ingredients together first, then the liquids together and then incorporating one into another and mixing lightly. The resultant cake was so so soft and crumbly that I had a tough time keeping my hands off it. I had to keep some for Ana kutti who I use as an excuse to bake these babies.
I know the pictures are crappy, but I was seriously too taken up with the aroma and the texture of the cake. I felt like a greedy cat that day. Next time, better pics. Promise.
After almost eating and enjoying a third of the cake, I felt it would be nice to improve on its flavour if I could add a topping. This carrot cake was slightly less sweet and cakes being an indulgence should taste like one. So I browsed for a nice topping for my yummilicious carrot cake.
The most common topping I know is a cream cheese one for carrot cakes, but just then I did not have cream cheese (yep, you already know that about me…me and my impulsiveness). I did have some lovely chocolate bars and I decided to go for a chocolate ganache.
I had chanced upon a video for chocolate ganache while I was surfing for a recipe for carrot cake, and since I have been meaning to make a good ganache for sometime now I quickly made it.
It is thanks to such generous, sweet people that the internet works. The ganache was beautiful, chocolate-y, smooth and was an absolute complement to the carrot cake. I thought cream cheese was the correct topping for this cake, but the ganache seemed like a match made in heaven itself. I don’t think I took a picture of the gooey, ganache sitting prettily on the humble carrot cake… or may be I did. I just don’t remember. The only thing I do is the feeling of utter contentment and happiness when I had had that first mouthful. Oh god, just today I finished the last crumbly, sweet crumbs of the cake and promised myself of making one more so that I don’t cheat Anakutty off her last piece, like I did today.
It is recipes such as these that shakes the rational person out of me, leaving instead a this weak in the knees person who knows with every mouthful that she takes she is going to have a wicked, driven workout waiting for her.
There’s nothing rational about this post.