Fall and winter is the perfect time for carrots, and they are popping up everywhere at the Santa Monica Farmers Markets. There are many delicious, savory recipes for carrots, but Zoe Nathan, the amazing pastry chef at Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica, has a wonderful carrot cake recipe. Take a break from pumpkin and apple pie and bake a carrot cake for a change. It is very important to get sweet carrots when making a carrot cake. Remember, the quality and taste of the carrots will be reflected in your cake, so make sure to choose ones that are tasty when eaten raw.
Alex Weiser of Weiser Family Farms, at all four of the Santa Monica Farmers Markets, grows carrots in Techachapi and East Bakersfield. Nantes carrots are cylindrical and coreless and very sweet, juicy and brittle. Red Chantenay carrots are deep red orange, the classic Bugs Bunny shaped carrot. Carrots also come in white and yellow varieties, such as White Satin and Yellow Stone. If you want a purple carrot cake use either the Deep Purple or Purple Haze variety.
Recipe Courtesy of Pastry Chef Zoe Nathan of Rustic Canyon
1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) room temperature butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 orange zested
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup plain yogurt
1-1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 cup plumped raisins*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
In another bowl combine eggs, vegetable oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
In mixing bowl combine salt, butter, sugar, brown sugar, and orange zest. Cream all ingredients in the mixing bowl; slowly add the egg mixture and combine, scraping the sides as necessary. Add half of the dry bowl, the yogurt, and then the rest of the dry bowl, the carrots, the plumped raisins, and the walnuts. Combine in mixer but do not over mix.
Pour batter into greased 9×3 round pan. Sprinkle granulated sugar on top. Bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes. Enjoy!
* To plump raisins: pour boiling water over raisins and let sit for 15 minutes. Plumped raisins can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.
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NOTE: The Wednesday Market will have special holiday hours on December 24 and 31 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.