Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Best Way to Take a Break From Crocheting? Bake a Cake!

I have been working with fine thread and small hooks lately.  I am patiently waiting for Caron to get their stock of Tulip's Etimo hooks in. I have 2 sets of Etimo hooks, but ironically, the sizes I have been working with most lately, aren't in the sets.  Luckily, I will be able to buy them individually.  These are really my "go to" hooks!  I never thought I would say it, but it is hard to have to use one of my older hooks.  Caron has them listed on their website, but they haven't given any information as to when they will have them in stock.

What does all of this have to do with cake?  Well, when I am deep in the middle of a project, it is difficult to stop and take a break.  Sometimes I need a little incentive.  Baking is usually a good one.  At least I am still creating something, if not in crochet, at least something nice to eat!

Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes to make and to eat.  I have tried many recipes and ended up altering an apple cake recipe to create this one, which is now a family favorite.

It also makes a wonderful apple cake if you substitute peeled, chopped Granny Smith apples or fresh peaches for the carrots, and omit the orange peel and filling.

For a healthier version, I grind oats into flour and use 1 1/2 cups of this and only 1/2 cup all purpose flour instead of 2 cups.  I also use 1 cup of honey and only 1 cup of sugar instead of 2 cups.


4 Cups carrots, grated
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
2 Cups sugar
½ Cup oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. Salt
1 Cup walnuts, chopped
8 Whole walnuts,for top of cake


6oz Cream cheese, cold, straight from the refrigerator
2 ½ TBS. butter, softened
1 TBS. real maple syrup
2 tsp. orange juice
¾ Cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 10” bundt pan by spraying it with non-stick spray.  Place whole walnuts on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 10 minutes to toast them.  Toss carrots, orange zest, and sugar together in a medium bowl.  Stir in oil, eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Merge wet and dry mixtures.  Stir in nuts.  Pour into cake pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven to a cooling rack and let the cake cool for 10 minutes before turning it out of the pan.  

While the cake is cooling, you can prepare the filling.  In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and orange juice together.  When it is smooth, gradually beat in the powdered sugar.  Set filling aside.  If your kitchen is very warm, you may want to keep the filling in the refrigerator while the cake cools.  

When cake is completely cool, cut it in half horizontally.  Remove the top half and spread the filling on the bottom half, reserving a bit of filling to use as “glue” to secure each of the whole walnuts on the top of the cake.  Place the top of the cake back on the bottom and decorate the top with the whole walnuts.  Serve immediately, or keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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