carrot pound cake with olive oil + cider.

I’ve said it before, but I’m not one for desserts. I like a good sweet bread, maybe a slice of pie here and there, but that’s pretty much it. You’ll rarely if ever see me joining in on the office birthday cake or ice cream. Just not my thing. However, I love pound cake. It’s like this delicious cross between bread and a cake, and can be made with just about anything. They are also pretty hard to screw up, if you use the classic ratio of 1:1:1 (eggs, flour, butter). As tempting as that classic recipe is, I still want to fit into my clothes, so lucky for me there are tons of recipes out there that lighten up the pound cake. This particular recipe turns carrot cake on its head and make it a pound/loaf cake. Carrot cake reminds me of my mom; there is bakery here in town, Cheesy Eddie’s that makes the most fantastically decadent carrot cake EVER. She used to buy me a small, personal sized one for holidays – a little heart shaped cake for my birthday or for Valentine’s Day. That cake is so moist, perfectly spiced, not too sweet, and that tangy cream cheese frosting… I am salivating just thinking about it! Of course I can go there whenever I’d like, but my waistline and purse would hate me for it.

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Enter this alternative. This recipe enticed me because it’s devoid of the ‘extras’ that many people put in their carrot cakes: raisins, walnuts, pineapple (in carrot cake?? shudder.) and the like. I like carrots and spices, thank you very much. I was also intrigued because this cake replaces the butter or neutral cooking oil with olive oil and uses only brown sugar. Of course, I have so much apple cider in my house (I really went wild with the fall/apple activities this year!) that any recipe with ‘cider’ is going to capture my attention.

This recipe is courtesy of Deb over at Smitten Kitchen. Her recipe archives are ridiculous, both in their thoroughness and their organization. She had a link to it one of her recent recipes, and it sounded so good, I just knew I had to make it. Thankfully, I was NOT disappointed. It is chock full of carrots and the combination of cider, cinnamon and olive oil provide a slightly sweet and moist cake. I upped the amount of cinnamon the second time I made it and the change is reflected in the recipe below. This is definitely a dessert that is best enjoyed the day after baking; it allows the flavors time to meld and intensify. I like it plain, but toasted with butter and honey? FORGET ABOUT IT.

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carrot pound cake with olive oil + cider.
barely adapted from smitten kitchen. 

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ingredients

2 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup cloudy apple cider
1 teaspoon pure vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a loaf pan with non stick cooking spray or olive oil. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together until well blended.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with olive oil, cider, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in grated carrots. Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing together until just combined and no flour bits remain.

Pour into loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Let rest in the pan for 20 minutes after baking. Remove from pan, and cool on a cooling rack until room temperature. Wrap in foil and keep in a plastic bag. Will keep for a few days, freezes well.

Serve plain or with honey and butter.

Notes: This bakes for about 60-70 minutes, so I like to make it on the lower rack in my oven to prevent too much browning on the top.

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