A carrot cake with cilantro? The notion immediately piqued my interest when I read Rose Carrarini's savory spin on the classic dessert. Rather than sugar and warm sweet spices, this "cake" batter is perfumed with earthy cilantro, turmeric, ground coriander, and cayenne pepper. (I also added pepitas to give it a seedy crunch). While the spices bring an unexpected flavor to the palate, I almost would have liked a little more of the coriander and cayenne to come through (n.b. for next time). The traditional sweet version typically wears a thick head of cream cheese frosting, but I decided to use pungent goat cheese to ice my slices. Irresistibly savory, the loaf channels the idea of carrot cake, while separating itself from the realm of dessert.
[Adapted from The Paris Baker, Rose Carrarini]
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour, sifted
1 tsp tumeric powder
2 tsp ground coriander
A pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Small 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup roasted pepitas
1/4 cup ground flax seed
4 oz goat cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine eggs and sugar; beat with a whisk until well-blended. Slowly add the olive oil, slowly, whisking continuously. Add the carrots and cilantro; stir to combine.
2. In another bowl sift 1 cup flour and add the rest of the dry ingredients (including the ground flax and pepitas). Whisk gently to combine.
3. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet carrot mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Pour batter into a bread pan and bake for about 50-55 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
For the goat cheese spread: Combine goat cheese with a drizzle of honey and about a tablespoon of almond milk to thin slightly. Stir to a smooth consistency and spread on slices of the warm bread.