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Cinnamon Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Contributed by: News Canada

In praise of carrots (NC) - I adore carrots. In every incarnation, from muffins to soup or simply steamed with butter 'n salt. They are such an "everyday" vegetable I realized how little I knew about them. After all these years of food writing, it really was time to figure them out. I hitched a ride on Via Rail down to the Nova Scotia Agricultural College at Truro where I met Dr. Raj Lada - carrot expert extraordinaire.

Flavours of Canada
Originally from Afghanistan, carrots were slim roots that supported the plants which had medicinally important seeds. Fossilized carrot remains have been found in Poland and dated as 35 million years old. Once they moved to Europe in the 12th century, the roots bulked up to the veggie we know and love today. They grew in a rainbow of colours.red, purple, yellow, white, black. In Holland they were gifts for royalty. Today we have a plethora of great varieties but Dr. Lada's favourite is the red-cored Royal Chantenay (Daucus carota sativus).

There is only one carrot cake in our family - my Mom's recipe. It's so popular that our former babysitter used it as her wedding cake. It uses self-rising flour, a mixture of cake & pastry flour, baking powder and salt.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (500 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (500 mL) self-rising flour
  • 2 tsps (10 mL) cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups (750 mL) grated carrots

Directions:

Lightly oil and flour a 9 x 13" (3.5L) baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350'F (180'C).

Sift sugar, flour and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Beat in oil until mixture is a light colour, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time; beating for about 30 seconds after each one. Stir in carrots, mixing thoroughly.

Pour into prepared pan; bake for 60 - 65 minutes or until tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz (125 g) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) soft canola margarine
  • 3 cups (750 mL) icing sugar
  • 2 tsps (10 mL) orange rind
  • milk, cream or orange juice

In mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter till well combined. Beat in the sugar, orange rind and enough milk, cream or orange juice to make a fluffy, spreadable consistency. Makes enough for a 9 x 13" (3. 5 L ) cake.

Anita Stewart is the author of the award-winning food book, Flavours of Canada (Raincoast 2000/2006). www.anitastewart.ca.


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