A year long chapter is soon coming to a close. In a few hours a new year will dawn bringing in new promises and hopes.
Allow me to sign off the memories of 2011 and begin the new year with a sweet note. I have been very busy myself, keeping in close warm company of my little family and good friends. A lot of cooking and baking and laughter rings in our home right now, and with it comes a lot of time off the virtual world. It feels good to stay in close proximity of the loves of my life and bask in the sunshine and cheer.
Carrot cake is something I have had in mind for the longest time now and there could not have been a better time bake one with fragrant spices, fresh carrots and coconuts. Some of this have been wrapped for gifts, and the rest shared with other friends and family.
Plenty of spices, grated carrots, fresh coconut and the zest, peels and pulps of fresh oranges went into the batter. With all these ingredients, the cake could be nothing but pleasing!
A slice for breakfast,
or some with coffee and company, was all that was needed.
And the best part about this cake is that it bears the high note of winter and the holidays without the string of over indulgence. I have used olive oil for the cake. The cake is very very moist, tender and dense and every bite will surprise you with lovely texture and loads of flavors – just the kind a cool crisp winter day demands…
The traditional cream cheese frosting have not been used; instead I have glazed it very lightly with a mix of orange juice and light sugar, dusted with confectioners sugar and nuts.
I wish all of you a very Happy New Year filled with promises of lots of happiness, magic and dreams come true.
Spiced Carrot Coconut Orange Cake
Ingredients: (makes 2 loaf cakes, 8.5 inch long each)
- 2 cups + 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 20 turns (in the pepper mill) of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup + 1/4 cup oil (I have used Olive Oil)
- 1.5 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or orange extract
- 2 cups + 1/4 cup grated carrots, (about 3 large carrots)
- 1 cup freshly grated (or frozen) coconut
- 2 small oranges or clementines, pureed with peels and the flesh – about 1 cup pureed
- 3/4 cup nuts, divided (I have used a mix of toasted pecans, almonds and macadamia nuts)
For a light glaze:
- confectioners sugar + more for dusting if you wish
- orange juice
Grate (use the food processor or the hand grater) the carrots and set aside.
Puree the oranges/clementines with the peels and set aside.
Combine the first 8 ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and the spices and pepper) in a large bowl.
Whisk/beat oil and sugar until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add one egg at a time and whisk them in until creamy and light colored. Add the vanilla/or the orange extract. Add the grated carrots and stir them in.
Add about 1/3 or the flour mix in to the egg-oil-sugar mix and beat until combine. Add the rest of the flour in 2 more shifts and whisk/beat until combined and smooth.
Add the coconut and the pureed oranges and whisk/beat until blended.
Dust the nuts with some flour. Add half the nuts in the batter and stir it in.
Pre heat oven to 350 F. Line cake tins with baking/parchment paper. Lightly grease the paper. Pour in the batter in the cake tin, sprinkle the rest of the nuts and gently stir them in, but only as deep as about 1/4 inch from the top. If you are doing the frosting/icing, you might want to save some nuts to sprinkle on the top of the cake after frosting it.
Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool cake in the pan in a cooling back.
To make the glaze:
Whisk some confectioners sugar and orange juice to a syrupy consistency and drip it over the cake, only after the cake is completely cooled. Dust with confectioners sugar if you wish.
Preparation Time: approx. 20 minutes
Baking/Cooking Time: 1 hour 10 minutes + cooling time
Makes: 2 loaves, in 8.5 inch loaf pans
Shelf Life: 1 week refrigerated and well covered