Monday, April 30, 2012

Carrot-Squash Walnut Cake | My first in baking

I never had my hand in mixing bowls and oven, as I was not exposed at home in baking. At home, we don’t have oven. My Papsi used to make puto out of grated cassava and coconut, cooked in between metal sheets with fire under and above it; he said he was baking a puto balanghoy, and that was my only vivid memory in baking. Breads and cakes are part of our daily life, but only in consuming those.

I bought a book in baking and pastry making a few months back; it was still a book up to now, though pages were read and re-read. I even bought some baking pans, measuring cups and spoons before I bought that book. I told myself: once I will move in my new pad in Liloan, I’ll make sure my kitchen will have the basic oven and that will be my grand time to try baking.

Days prior to my graduation in UP Cebu, I was handed by the owner of Happy Rooster a page that contains recipe on vegetarian cakes and cupcakes. Glancing on it, I made mental notes, and asked few questions from the culinary students who is handling the baking session. I found it simple, and even a 5-year old kid can do it. While I’m on my way home, I decided to treat myself with my favorite carrot cake. However this time, it will be me who will bake it. I finally decided to bake!

This recipe calls for the use of whole-wheat flour, a basic ingredient that is not always present in grocery stores. I was able to find one after jumping from 3 other grocery stores. We need here fresh carrots and squash, almonds and raisins, cinnamon for flavoring, eggs, brown sugar and a combination of baking soda and powder.

Here’s the ingredients and how to make the cake:

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
4 eggs
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup Canola oil
2 ½ cups combination of grated fresh carrots and squash
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (or 175 degrees C). Grease a 2 inch deep X 10 inch wide round baking pan. Set Aside

2. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve brown sugar in canola oil, and mix the eggs. Stir in carrots and squash mixture

3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: combine whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gently stir into carrot-squash mixture. Stir in chopped nuts and raisins.

4. Spread batter in greased pan. Baked for 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted to the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside to cool


You can make other variations for this recipe. Just replace the carrot-squash mixture with mashed banana and come up with a Banana-walnut cake, or if you want only a carrot cake, do not add squash. The original recipe calls for a combination of carrots, squash and zucchini (or if you cant find one, use sayote). 

Where to find?

As suggested to me, you can buy all baking ingredients from Carro and Marie, a local specialty store for baking. They are found everywhere in Cebu City (the most convenient for me is in APM  Mall beside SM City Cebu). Ong Kin King, Inc. somewhere in downtown area near Cebu City Hall (I dont know the exact street name, but it is a landmark here in Cebu since it is an old business outlet for bakers) also has complete offerings of all baking ingredients and supplies. I will try to visit them soon.

I made this cake during my graduation day. Right after the baccalaureate mass in the morning I started preparing the batter around 10 in the morning, and left it in the oven while I fetch my family at the airport. It was already cooked when I got back home.

I was amazed as it never spoiled after five days, unchilled. We brought some in our family trip to Bohol after that graduation day. 

Next time I will experiment on the cream cheese frosting, as I love my carrot cake with some sweet-salty spread. Also, this is best paired with a hot cup of Capuccino! 

I know this will be just a start of my kitchen baking experimentations…

(Note: This recipe is an adaptation from Happy Rooster’s Veggie Cake)

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