Come winters, India is flooded with red carrots and all the people are out searching for them. not to make a savory vegetable dish, but primarily to make a sweet dish which mostly is cloyingly sweet, and ubiquitously visible everywhere you turn to look. Hotels, restaurants, Mithai wales, ice cream shops and almost all homes will have gajar ka halwa stashed away somewhere. the winter carrots are juicy, fresh and full of beta carotene- that gets destroyed in the prolonged cooking but they make the best dessert ever.
A Bounty of carrots is grated into the biggest woks or kadhais or deghs that your kitchen can have-nobody makes halwa from one cup grated carrots. That would be an abomination. You need at least a kilo of grated carrots.
And then they are cooked over slow fire with either milk or khoya – that is evaporated milk, and then further cooked out with sugar until there is less than a quarter of the original character left and the fragrant gajar ka halwa is enjoyed by everyone and their families.
Sweet dog Romeo knows carrots are being cooked…he’ll hover near the kitchen doors till he gets a few bites.
Everyone has their own recipe and everyone whips up the most Luscious halwa ever, but this time instead of making halwa we make carrot cake.
This Carrot cake is eggless and has a tiny bit of the hummingbird Cake flavor because I added pineapple. what the pineapple does is, it cuts through the sweetness of the carrots and the richness of the butter cream or cream cheese frosting. So the normally sweet cake is slightly tangy and the acidity tastes amazing.
The cake has winter spices- Ginger cinnamon cardamom etcetera and also has a sprinkling of orange zest and a generous amount of nuts.
The cake is indeed indulgent, just like carrot halwa. But while that is gluten free, this one is a cake.
We love Indian Mithai, love Indian spices, but we also love cake. the only thing only reason why I prefer carrot cake is because it’s less sweet and it takes off a lot of flavors that the carrot Halwa does not have and hey it’s faster to make and definitely requires less effort.
I generally use a cream cheese frosting, but this time I flavored buttercream frosting because cream cheese frosting gets runny and this cake went as a gift for the parent’s friend’s marriage anniversary.
This cake portion is enough for 12 people. It’s good on its own and of course it is fantastic with either tea or coffee.
Let’s get started.
Collect all the ingredients.
A few pointers
- You may think that the batter is too clumpy and not at all a cake batter, but you need to remember that carrots will lose moisture while baking and the candied pineapple and the nuts will absorb a little bit of that moisture.
- I used white sugar because I had that at hand, but this cake tastes best with raw sugar or brown sugar or even with jaggery. I have used the urban platter Gingerbread Spice mix, feel free to use your own chai masala or a mix of Ginger powder, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder, cloves powdered as well as Black pepper. the spice mix can be varied according to your taste buds because you might like more Ginger or more cinnamon. I absolutely adore this spice blend hence use it with an unflinching regularity in a lot of my cooking
- Vanilla is essential but because I did not have Vanilla, I used whisky, but definitely the vanilla was missed. so don’t be lazy like me, make an effort and go and buy that bottle of vanilla extract.
- Grate the carrots when they are absolutely fresh and with the large grater in your vegetable grater.
- I cannot stress enough about the need to line your cake 10 with parchment paper it makes cleaning just so much easier.
- Feel free to substitute the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or Atta, remember this cake was a gift for an anniversary dinner so I did not want to make this healthy. You can substitute an equal amount of whole wheat flour but make sure You’ve sifted the whole wheat few times to aerate the flour first. Measure only after sifting. also as with most whole grain flour if you use whole grain you will need to add little extra liquid not too much just about a teaspoon
Eggless Carrot Cake with Spices Baketitude
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon gingerbread Spice mix
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup chopped candied pineapple walnuts and almonds
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
¾ cup sugar
a little more than half cup milk
Preheat your oven 350 degrees centigrade, grease and line a 7-inch baking tin with parchment paper
bring your butter to room temperature and not melted. If you melt the butter to liquid the texture of the cake will change.
in a bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spices and sift them twice.
In another bowl, mix the sugar, soft butter and the oil and whisk them together. there is no requirement for any emulsification, just ensure that the sugar is slightly blended.
add in one fourth cup milk and try and mix as much of the sugar as possible.
fold in half the dry flour mixture, add the carrots, the pineapple and nuts, mix and pop over the remaining flour.
your batter will be more like a dough at first, gradually mix in the remaining milk and add in just enough to get a batter of dropping consistency.
ensure that all the carrots are coated and that there are no lumps of flour left at the bottom of the mixing bowl.
Scrape the batter into the baking tin and even the top and place the cake in the oven to bake. After about 20- 25 minutes, reduce the temperature to 160 degrees centigrade and allow to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness, by inserting a toothpick at a slant and seeing that the cake is cooked well
remove and allow to cool in the tin for 10 to 15 minutes and unmold and place on a wire rack so that there is no moisture on the cake.
For the Butter Cream Frosting
75 grams’ butter at room temperature
200 grams icing sugar
juice of lemon
zest and juice of a small orange
100 grams’ milk powder- I used everyday milk powder
2 to 3 tablespoons candied pineapple and finely chopped nuts
¼ tsp sea salt
Whisk the butter and ensure that it is pale and light.
Beat in the sifted icing sugar and the milk powder.
Add the lemon juice and the orange juice to adjust the consistency of the frosting and Orange zest. whisk well. Add only enough orange juice to adjust consistency.
Whisk in the pineapple and nuts. you just want a smooth consistency buttercream frosting to slather the top of the cake.
Once you got the needed consistency and add the salt.
Once the cake has cooled to room temperature, slather 2 to 3 teaspoons of frosting over the cake
Top with the few pieces of candied pineapple maybe a few mint leaves mint leaves.
Allow the frosting to sit for a while and slice the cake and serve.
The addition of the milk powder or coffee creamer makes the frosting silky and very creamy. The lemon juice makes the buttercream tangy. The acidity cuts through the richness and complements the taste of the carrot cake. Perfect combination.
This is not a replacement for cream cheese frosting, just a compliment. I lobe buttercream frosting anyway.
So this cake is soft and satisfies all boxes for dessert cravings.
This cake may be perfect no fuss dessert for the winters, it’s also a great cake for Easter.
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