So I’m back in NYC after two gloriously relaxing weeks visiting the fam in St. Louis – hooray for holiday break and vacation days to use up! I could have stayed even longer – ahh, the life of no responsibility – but I do have to say, it feels good to get back to my usual routine. Not gonna lie though, I’d be happy to go without the return of work tomorrow! Oh well, c’est la vie, right?
Before I left STL and between holiday festivities, I made sure to squeeze in some more baking time. You didn’t really think that Yogurt Glazed Carrot Cake was the only thing I whipped up while I was there, did you?! That treat was for the sister. This one’s for the dad. And it comes with a back-story…
My dad e-mailed me a few weeks ago with a baking proposition. One day last month, he was finishing up a working lunch with some colleagues when the dessert tray appeared at their table. A richly dark, moist-looking cake immediately caught his eye. Upon his asking, the waitress proclaimed it to be a “chocolate carrot cake.” Now this was something Dad had never heard of before! Intrigued and delighted, he ordered it on the spot and greatly looked forward to that first taste.
Much to his disappointment, said waitress later returned to inform him that his forthcoming dessert was actually a spice cake, not the carrot cake of his dreams. Well, poor Dad couldn’t get the thought of a chocolate carrot cake out of his mind, so he asked me (repeatedly) to bake one up when I came home. And bake one up I did. This version has cream cheese frosting, because that’s the way Dad likes it.
My recipe for Chocolate Carrot Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting:
3 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup agave nectar
2 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips
12 ounces Neufchatel cheese
3 cups unrefined powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350*F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together carrots, agave nectar, eggs, egg whites, applesauce and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together whole wheat pastry flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool in pans.
While cakes are cooling, prepare frosting by blending together Neufchatel cheese, unrefined powdered sugar and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth. Once cakes cool, spread about a third of the frosting over cake #1. Place cake #2 on top of cake #1. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Melty chocolate and carrot specks!
This cake was a huge hit around my house! The chocolate chips gave it some extra special chocolate sweetness and the cream cheese frosting was addicting! I snuck a lot of licks from the bowl before it got to the cake. You know, for testing purposes. And though I made it for Dad, I think Mom may have liked it even more. After a couple bites and some long, contemplative looks, she declared it the “best thing you’ve made yet.” Don’t worry, I enjoyed some slices myself before she could polish it all off (j/k Mom, j/k).
What have you seen combined with chocolate that was somewhat surprising?