Tuesday, February 1, 2011

WHAT? NO CARROTS?

by Lucy Arlington
I don’t know about you, but carrots have always been a staple in our house. The one vegetable everyone would eat. Sweet and crunchy, carrots make a great snack. I put them in salads, soups, stews, muffins and cakes. Who could imagine life without carrots?
The first time I went grocery shopping in Bermuda (yes, I live part of the year on this lovely island) I could not find carrots. Not in the four different supermarkets I visited. You can imagine my puzzlement. I discovered that carrots are grown on the island, and because they are a local crop, grocers are not allowed to import them even when they aren't available from the farmers.

So now I generally make due with frozen carrots for stews and soups, and bags of grated carrots (which are allowed to be imported) for baking needs. Of course, the bunches of freshly harvested Bermuda carrots are a highly desired commodity. Friends tell friends, “Lindo’s have carrots today,” and we all rush to Lindo's to buy them. They are crunchy, sweet, and delicious. But fertile soil is shallow in Bermuda, so they are also very short and stubby. No longer do I peel long, slender, orange tapers, but struggle with thick roots that are about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. Still, they are carrots! And I’m happy.
In honor of the carrot, and my hubby’s February birthday, today I share with you his all-time favorite cake. Although not at all diet friendly despite the carrots, this is such a great recipe it made me love carrot cake for the cake and not just the cream cheese icing! When I bake it in Bermuda this month, though, I won’t be grating any precious Bermuda carrots. I’ll buy a bag of the imported grated ones.
REALLY GREAT CARROT CAKE
CAKE:
2 ¼ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely grated carrots (about 6 medium North American carrots!)
1 can (14 oz) crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
CREAM CHEESE ICING:
1 pkg (250 gm) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan and line the base with greased parchment.
2. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl and using an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on high speed until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in vanilla, then beat in oil in a thin stream until well combined.
4. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture, along with carrots, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts until well combined.
5. Spoon batter into a prepared pan, smoothing surface with a spatula.
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.
7. Icing: Using and electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. On low speed, beat in icing sugar until smooth and fluffy. Spread frosting over top of cake.
Makes 16 servings.