My first American cake – Carrot and walnut cake with cardamom
Mon premier gâteau americain – Gâteau aux carottes, noix et cardamome
This is an odd and very bright picture of the cake but I have so much light under my window with direct sun light to the table, that could not manage to shoot with a more subtle lighting. The picture is incredibly bright, you might want to put on your sun glasses if you look at the picture for too long, you don’t want to get permanent vision damage!! Sorry about the lighting.
I have never had carrot cake before I moved to the US, and at the beginning I found that weird. I thought Americans and their crazy ideas…using carrots in a dessert! I was horrified…So it took me a few years before I actually attempted to taste it.
I have to admit that coming to America, allowed me to be more open to new things. Europeans in general are a little more conservative (especially the French and Italians who have a strong gastronomy history) in terms of cuisine and tend to be more rigid about how things should be done. That’s why I really love Alain Ducasse, he is an amazing chef, he knows how to keep the traditions but in such an inventive and creative way that it all blends beautifully together. He does not combine too many overpowering ingredients in one dish, and focuses on one primary flavor enhanced with less strong ingredients. I think that too many complex flavors in one dish, mess it up, because you don’t know what you eat anymore and it gets confusing for your palate.
I do love traditions and traditional cuisine, that’s how I grew up, (but that’s why I moved in a certain way because the weight of traditions was somehow suffocating me as a young adult and I wanted some freedom to be myself). I also do enjoy new ideas and flavors in the kitchen. I think you can use the knowledge of traditional cuisine to develop new ideas and combinations. I certainly don’t want to get into politics but if you look at French politicians and presidents before the current president and unpopular Sarkozy, they really were like Museum pieces. The same old dinosaurs with the same old speeches who have been around for ages, and I think that’s scary. (Berlusconi is a different story that I will not discuss here). The French do not like changes and this is ingrained in their culture and I think Italians either. If I look at my family in Italy, they would not eat anything “non Italian” and even for Italian food, it needs to be prepared in a particular way. My Aunt would never use basil with a meat based sauce for pasta, she only uses basil on tomato sauce. My mother never ever uses lamb in her pasta sauce, whereas in Abruzzo they do, etc…so to each its own.
I know that the original carrot cake does contain cinnamon, and I substituted it with cardamom to get a different twist, and the cardamom flavor was quite subtle, you might want to add more if you like. If you like cinnamon, you can use it too. The cake turned out very moist, with such a beautiful deep orange. Now for the “purists” who want to keep their carrot cake traditional, they might think that this is too funky. It might be funky but it’s delicious nonetheless.
Ingredients for 6 people
- 2 eggs
- 300 g carrots (about 3 medium)
- 100 g white flour
- 100 g wholewheat flour
- 100 g butter, melted
- 4 tbs plain yogurt
- 70 g granulated sugar
- 40 g light brown sugar
- 10 g palm sugar
- 2 tbs almond meal
- 70 g walnuts, chopped
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking powder
- one pinch baking soda
Beat the eggs with the different kinds of sugars until the mixture double its volume and turns white. Add yogurt, butter and vanilla extract and mix carefully. Add both flours and almond meal. Add baking powder and baking soda, then add cardamom and mix some more. Incorporate carefully carrots and walnuts to the mixture.
Bake in a non-stick pan for about 45 min at 370F.
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