D ating back to Medieval times, carrots have been used as sweeteners due to the high prices of sugar and for the sweet cane’s exclusiveness. Aside carrots, beets have also played the role as a sweetener, which is seen more frequently nowadays in nutritional bars that are actual nutritional bars. I’m not talking about the protein packed monster bars that are as big as your arm. Who on earth really eats those things? Gross. Just looking at them makes my stomach hurt. Well, besides beet sugar there’s also date sugar, but, now we’re veering off the vegetable aspect of sweetening. Zucchini also happens to be another popular bread or cake like carrot cake, but, the popularity of carrot surmounts tremendously. Why? I don’t know. I’m not a fan. Carrot cake never pushed my buttons, but, my brother in law is obsessed with it and since I never made carrot cake before, gluten free of course, I went for it (I also wanted a lip smacking treat for my new workplace and it was accepted with loving surprise).
I think I need to buy a cake book with the classics and bake through the book..Actually, never mind. I have my professional baker’s book so I think I’ll start doing that.
Traditionally, carrot cake is served with cream cheese icing. I didn’t for two reasons: I was transporting the cupcakes that would end up sitting in a room without refrigeration, and, I was short on time. The ingredients for the cake vary, according to the preference of the cook. Obviously, the standard ingredient would be carrots but some like to add any/or all of the following: chocolate chips, raisins, dried dates, currants, apricots, shredded coconut, orange juice, orange zest, pineapple, applesauce, walnuts, or almonds.Regardless of what went in, once finished I found myself decorating these critters at, like, 9 PM. Don’t I always end up doing that? Geez. I don’t think I sleep. I did dream of going back to Philadelphia and I am going to plan a day trip el solo - and I’m bringing one HUGE cooler. I want to buy out my old Asian Market, the big Whole Foods there, and Essence. Am I lame? Yeah, pretty much BUT I have to take my ServSafe class first. Geez, I never traveled so much in my life. All in the same of my lameness, I have fallen in love with two items that I need to have at some point: a Jamie Oliver Cookbook and a Shun knife. The Shun knife is just ungodly gorgeous. Well, you see, I work in a culinary store now because God loves me. I could live there. I gawk at the knives every day. I drool over the kitchen and organic products. It’s just..marvelous. Oh and uhm, I don’t want to brag but look at the goodie I got FREE.
The CIA (Culinary Institute of America..not Central Intelligence Agency) recently produced a line of cookware, bake ware, kitchen tools, and knives. Yesterday, a demonstrator came to the store to speak about the benefits of the cookware. It has a 7 ply coating, which means it has seven metals lining the skillet beneath the stainless steal coating. That also means it is a very heavy pan. The benefits of the CIA line of cookware seem to mildly outside that of All-Clad, which is supposed to be an all “American” line of cookware, but, the base is primarily made in the US while other parts are made elsewhere.
But enough about pans and the benefits I have of working in the store of my dreams, not to mention the ability to advertise my abilities as a gluten free baking chef..muaha - oh, right, the recipe. Sorry, just after being sick for so long (I had a double ear infection plus sinus infection for a month), having good stuff happen just feels nice.
Carrot Cupcakes ½ sorghum flour ½ brown rice flour ½ soy flour ¼ cup cornstarch ¼ cup potato starch ¾ cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 tsp allspice 1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp mild molasses 4 large eggs, beaten ½ cup oil ½ cup of crushed pineapple with juice 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup chopped almonds, toasted 2 cups grated carrots ½ shredded coconut 1/3 cup raisins
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In large mixing bowl, combine all your dry ingredients meaning your flours, powders, starches, granulated sugar and spices.
Stir to assure that all flours are combined. Add the raisins, coconut, nuts, and carrot. Stir again and make sure those ingredients get entirely covered. Why? So they won’t sink to the bottom during baking.
Make a well and add the eggs, molasses, oil, pineapple, and vanilla. Stir until you get a semi loose batter; something along the lines of a thick pancake batter.
Line 18 muffin tins with liners and spray those suckers because they will stick. Even with the oil, they stuck for me those stupid little.. Anyway, fill 18 cups, and then bake them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Be careful not to overcook them because the color may appear deceiving. Use the old tried and true method of toothpick test. It hasn’t failed me yet.
Decorate with cream cheese frosting and the butter cream traditional carrot, of course. Then, while you eat your cutesy little carrot cupcake, sing this song: