when i wrote my first book, i was thinking of a carrot cake that i could serve at our holiday festivities with my cousins. several of them have sensitivities to peanuts and for a while, tree nuts were suspect too. that had me thinking...carrot cakes almost always have walnuts in them. so what if i switched over to walnut oil rather than the usual vegetable oils and left the walnuts out. that way, i could easily make the cake with a vegetable oil if the need arose. ok, nut issue solved!
but what about the other stuff? freshly grated carrots-no changes needed here. shredded coconut; nope, it stays as is. pineapple??? of course, let's switch this to fresh, ripe pineapple. not bad, only about 100 times better than the crushed stuff in cans. but what about the texture? now that there aren't any chewy nuts, it isn't very exciting. in stepped a bag of dried apricots and history was made. chewy, tart and full of apricotty goodness. now that's what i'm talkin about! so, is it possible to improve any further? you betcha, put it in a bundt pan and you're golden. and for the one i made to take to the garden recently, i threw caution to the wind and added some toasted pecan pieces, have mercy on my soul, for i am just a baker with a well stocked larder. i didn't mean anything by it...
carrot-apricot bundt cake
1 (10-12) cup bundt cake serving about 16
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup wild flower honey-the darker ones have more flavor
1 cup oil-can be walnut, hazelnut or any other vegetable oil that is liquid at room temp
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple-drained
1 cup sweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
2 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
preheat the oven to 350. grease and flour the cake pan. in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, honey and oil. whisk it until combined. add the ginger, carrots, apricots, pineapple, coconut and nuts if you are using them. whisk to combine. place the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift it over the batter. using a spatula, fold the batter until it is combined and no streaks remain. scrape the batter into the prepared pan. bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about an hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. invert onto a rack to finish cooling. give it a little sprinkle of powdered sugar for decoration if you like. enjoy and may the force be with you.