I found the queen of all carrot cakes! She’s highly evolved, zesty yet sensual, spicy yet sweet, full of character yet delicate, and packs quite a punch. From the time you make the batter, you’re swayed by her fruity zesty countenance. And while she’s baking, her heavenly aroma binds you in a trance till all you can dream of is biting into this royal carrot cake.
Ritu Dalmia captures this recipe, Carrot Cake with a Difference in her book Italian Khana: Desserts. Filled with only a handful of dessert recipes, this delightfully small book captures Italy’s decadent desserts from Italian homes. You can see it’s a work of love, including only special Italian desserts. I have to admit, I haven’t followed Ritu’s recipe faithfully. It’s only because I couldn’t get my hands on hazelnut and chocolate chips in time. I had everything else, you see. And I really wanted to make this. So I used walnuts and cooking chocolate bits as substitutes.
Wanting a break from the regular carrot cakes, I thought I’d try this recipe. And my mind was blown! This was an exceptional cake, and I had to share it with you.
What sets it apart? Why do I think it’s the queen of all carrot cakes? Well, where can I begin, I ask in turn. Each ingredient adds a different level of flavour: the raisins and walnut, the orange zest, cinnamon and nutmeg, and the chocolate. Oh, the chocolate! It takes the cake to a whole other level. That’s why I think this is a highly evolved cake.
Try this, and you’ll look at every other carrot cake in disdain!
The Ultimate Carrot Cake
Makes one 9″x9″ cake
- 150 gm caster sugar
- 150 gm brown sugar
- 300 gm grated raw carrot
- 225 gm all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 100 ml olive oil or any vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 50 gm raisins (optional)
- 50 gm walnuts and hazelnuts (I used only walnuts)
- 2 tablespoons cooking chocolate (cut into small bits, that resemble chocolate chips) or chocolate chips
- A pinch of salt
- Heat the oven to 180ºC (356ºF).
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl for about 3 minutes.
- Add both sugars slowly until well blended, and then add oil and beat it for another couple of minutes.
- Sieve together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg powder and cinnamon powder and add them to the wet mixture a little at a time, while you mix it all in.
- When they’re well blended, add the salt, grated carrot, chocolate bits, raisins, orange zest and walnuts and mix it all in until just combined.
- Pour the mixture into a well-greased baking pan (9″x9″ or 9″x11″) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
Serving: Serve it after the cake cools. It tastes better the next day.