I used to have a fantastic recipe for carrot cake, and unlike many recipes, mine included not only the shredded carrots, but also crushed pineapple and raisins. I thought I had found one that closely resembled my original recipe.
I was wrong.
Not that it was awful, but while it was very moist, it was also very oily and a bit too “heavy” and nearly custard-like. It was good…but not a proper cake, really.
I was disappointed.
The carrot cake I used to make was intensely moist, but while it was heavier than many other cakes, it wasn’t anything close to custard-like, and certainly shouldn’t leave an oily coating on your fingers if you indulged in the child-like pleasure of eating a square of it out-of-hand.
Baking, unlike some forms of cooking, is really a practical application of chemistry. It all has to balance, the sugar, the fats, the moisture, and the starches…to create a cake that rises without cracking or being too dry or crumbling…yet avoids the custard-like fate of my latest excursion into Carrot Cake Corner. That means I need to look at the raw ingredients and their proportions for the reasons it is heavy and oily.
The recipe called for 1 full cup of oil, as well as 2 c. of shredded carrots, plus crushed pineapple, raisins, sour cream, AND sour milk. While the proportions of chemical leavening, (which was baking soda in this case, due to the highly acidic sour milk and sour cream,) was appropriate, it was quite obvious that only 2 cups of flour, the same quantity as the amount of carrots, was inadequate for that much moisture and that much oil.
Do I want to revamp the recipe and play Mad Scientist of the Oven?
It’s already getting hot here on the Gulf Coast…too hot to turn on the oven if I don’t want to run the air conditioner. Slaving away in a hot kitchen isn’t appealing, especially when the weather is so inviting outdoors.
I think I’ll peruse more recipes, searching both online and in my cookbooks, hoping to find the recipe that I used to use. (I suspect that it came from a cookbook in my mother’s custody though!) Maybe someone has a recipe to share with me for a non-oily, slightly lighter version of carrot cake.
Seriously, I do enjoy a moist carrot cake, which is the reason for the carrots and fruit in the cake…but I definitely didn’t like the incredible oily texture that this recipe delivered.
So the search is on…for the perfect carrot cake recipe!