I was hosting a Blythe doll meeting at my house today (separate blog coming soon) and failed to get anything from the shops to feed my guests. Luckily I’d been baking-mad (as opposed to barking mad?) the last few weeks so my pantry was well stocked. There were some carrots that desperately needed to be used up so naturally a carrot cake came to mind.
However, I had always been amazed by how much fat was used in most conventional carrot cake recipes so I was keen to find a healthier alternative. I’m not knocking the use of generous amounts of butter and oil where warranted, but some recipes suggest using more than a cup of oil for a regular sized carrot cake. I’m guessing it helps the cake stay moist but I thought it was a bit excessive if that’s all the oil’s purpose was. I mean, it’s not like a butter cake where you actually want to taste the butter.
I had bought a few pots of Brownes’ new range of ‘grainy’ yoghurts the other day and thought I’d incorporate one of those into the recipe. Yoghurt’s often used to keep cakes and muffins moist and light after all. The particular flavour I used was Apple & Cinnamon with Quinoa but if you’re not in WA (or even Australia), I am sure you can get hold of a similar yoghurt which includes fruit and grain (but isn’t bircher muesli!). Naturally you can just use plain yoghurt but the grains just make the cake all that more wholesome I suppose :) I didn’t do away with oil and butter entirely but kept them fairly minimal.
The result was a good, loaf-style cake which had enough moisture in it to be easy to eat, and light enough in terms of fat content to feel no guilt about eating another slice or two. I piled on some cream cheese icing (I used reduced fat cream cheese in keeping with the theme) and served it up to my guests. It had some tough competition (notably one girl’s signature Mars Bar slice) but I think it more than passed as an afternoon tea offering. Hubby was pretty stoked too but had to wait until us doll fanatics (and our dolls) left the room.
Carrot Cake with ‘Grainy’ Yoghurt
2 cups of plain flour (I used one cup self-raising just because but reduced the amount of raising agents – baking power & soda)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp butter (softened)
1 cup sugar (use 1/2cup more if you are using plain yoghurt or if your grainy yoghurt bran is not that sweet)
1 cup finely grated carrot
1/2 cup pecan (or walnuts)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 pot (200 ml) yoghurt with grains and fruit (In WA, use Brownes)
To prepare: Pre-heat oven to 180C (160C if fan forced). Mix oil, butter and sugar together by hand or use stand mixer until well blended. Add both eggs and mix again well. Add yoghurt and combine into mixture. Add carrots, nuts, spices, then add sifted flower and raising agents. Mix until well combined. Pour into a large (30 x 10 x 10 cm) loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes or until skewer comes out clean on testing. Allow to cool then ice with cream cheese icing (250g cream cheese with 3/4 cup icing sugar).