When Spring and Easter are on the horizon, there are three things I’m drawn to baking with that are all out of character for me: coconut, lemon and carrot. There is never any other time during the year when I’m interested in any of these ingredients in my desserts, but something about each of them is bright and fresh and I get into it. It helps bridge the gap when we’re just sitting around waiting for RHUBARB SZN to begin.
I never crave carrot cake, especially since the great wedding cake making of 2006, but this Carrot Loaf has been calling my name for a while ever since Smitten posted it. Was I drawn to it because of the optional Cream Cheese Icing Schmear? I mean, yeah, obviously. I also feel like you really only ever see Carrot Cake in cake or muffin formation, so this is a nice change.
This loaf is super hydrated, and has a few interesting additions: apple cider and olive oil. I was unwilling to purchase a 1L or 2L jug of apple cider though, so instead I got a fresh pressed apple juice, which my local Metro has just started to sell (along with many other varieties of pressed juice, so trendy Metro!). The olive oil adds a nice flavour too, although you probably wouldn’t notice it if I didn’t tell you it’s in there, and you could just use neutral oil if you’re not into it (i.e. vegetable, canola, grapeseed). One more thing: there are no nuts or raisins in this, which I prefer.
This was a hit with my co-workers and one even asked for the recipe, so there you go.
Source: Smitten Kitchen
- 2 1/3 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp (or a big pinch) cloves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup apple cider or fresh pressed apple juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
- Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray.
- In a big bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, eggs, apple cider/juice and vanilla, then stir in the carrots.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula or spoon just until just incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick/skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.
- For the optional cream cheese spread: whip together 4 oz cream cheese, 2 tbsp butter (both at room temperature), 6 tbsp icing sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla.