Carrot, Date and Walnut Cake
As kids, we were a fussy lot. My brother still is. Mumma always found ways and means to incorporate veggies into our diet. She still does and I have joined her! My niece often says, ‘at least spare the cake’. This is a beautiful recipe with no butter or milk. It is the moistest carrot and date cake I have tasted till date.
For the caramel:
· ½ cup white sugar
· ¼ cup hot water
For the cake:
· 1 cup all-purpose flour / maida
· ¾ tsp baking soda
· 1/8 tsp salt
· ¾ cup dates, pitted & chopped fine
· ¾ cup cashews (or walnuts or pecans), toasted and chopped
· ¾ cup canola oil (or any light tasting oil)
· ¾ cup brown sugar (see notes)
· 2 eggs
· ½ tsp vanilla extract
· 1 cup carrots, grated (see notes)
· Powdered sugar, for dusting
I have tried this recipe with granulated sugar and powdered sugar. If you use granulated sugar, it tends to sink to the bottom and create a nice crust. I prefer granulated sugar. But you could use powdered sugar as well.
I prefer brown sugar because it gives a nice colour. You could use regular white sugar as well.
I prefer using the orange carrots that we get here in Mumbai. The reddish ones have too much moisture.
In a dry thick bottomed pan, add in sugar and melt sugar over medium heat, swirling the pan if necessary to melt the sugar evenly.
When the sugar is dark amber in color, add in hot water. Be careful as it will bubble up.
Remove from the pan from the heat once the caramel is ready and set aside to cool down.
For the cake:
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease or line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, add in your chopped dates plus toasted and chopped cashews. Add about a tbsp or two of the flour mixture and coat them. This will prevent the dates and nuts from sticking to the bottom. Set aside.
Also, in another bowl, mix very well eggs, sugar, oil, cooled caramel and vanilla essence.
Add in grated carrots and mix well.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, making sure not to overmix.
Then add the flour-coated dates and nuts. Mix until just combined.
Pour this batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely before removing from the pan.
Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.