Romancing the Cake

Do you have compelling visions that drive you into the kitchen?

Carrot and Cashew Cupcake

Hello again from India!

No, I have not forgotten about my promise to keep up with you while on the road. It is just, I found the internet connectivity to be relatively spotty by the beach, and, in the forest; Surprisingly so! ;-)

It is silly to suggest I have been holding back on the experiencing the cuisine, while I am here. Honestly, I have been eating like I am going on a starvation diet after this trip! I have managed to ingest as much of the local cuisine both in Goa and Coorg as my body could handle, three multi-course meals a day. Fortunately, as South Indian cuisine is naturally low on gluten and grease and rather healthy (when made as at home), I have managed to thoroughly enjoy every bite without worrying about the consequences. For a view into what I have been experiencing, have a peek at my

Instagram feed



Now, let me tell you about these

Carrot and Cashew Cupcakes

that came to be as a vision...

I am usually not a cupcake person, but, on the day I made this, the snow and overcast sky outside filtered a really soft winter light through the window suggesting a ton of mysticism in the very air. A vision came to my mind, sudden and strong.

Of sitting on the cushion by my window, slowly unwrapping the cupcake liner, taking a bite of the half unwrapped delicacy inside, tilting my head back while savoring the flavors and then looking out at the flurrying snow and smiling at the romance of it.

Carrot cake collage 2

This was as I was making my morning cuppa. As I sipped that awakening beverage, the vision gripped me with a fierce passion and I simply could not ignore it. I attempted to carry on about my day as scheduled but well, after about a couple of hours, I knew it was wasted effort. The mythical lady in my head had to become me in reality. So, I gave in.

I have been on a long term mission to find that perfect recipe for a carrot cake. I want one that is just moist, full of flavor, healthy and yet not a lot of effort. One of those cakes that you can whip up at the drop of a hat and one that will leave you feeling happy eaten on a cold Winter day with a cup of strong coffee and can stand up to the beverage and say "Hello there!".

Carrot cake collage 1

It seemed, now was a good time to look into making just that kind of cake. I had made the last ones with pureed carrot. Using a liquid form of the vegetables makes for a really moist cake but it is a fair bit of effort to boil and then puree. So, I chose to go with the grated version this time.

I find that using olive oil instead of butter and baking for fewer minutes than usual, results in a much moister cake with a lighter crumb. I spiced these cakes with cardamom instead of cinnamon because the former feels warmer to me. Besides, cardamom was part of the spice route blending with my vision of mystery and mystique....

Carrot and Cashew Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

(for 6 cupcakes)

Carrot and Cashew Cupcakes

For the cake:

1/2 cup grated carrot

1/2 cup + 2 T whole wheat flour

1/4 cup olive oil

2/3 tsp cardamom

1 egg, whisked

1/4 cup raw sugar, powdered fine

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

handful of roasted cashews

For the frosting:

3 oz cream cheese, room temperature

2 T almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

roasted nuts to top, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift together the flour, salt, cardamom and baking soda. Whisk together the oil, egg and sugar. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in three parts. Fold in the grated carrot and nuts.

Divide into six cupcake liners. Bake for 17-20 mins until the toothpick test is clear. Cool the cakes on tray. Meanwhile, whip up the cream cheese, almond milk and vanilla together. Pipe onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle chopped nuts, if using.

Enjoy the cake and live your own visions.. :)