Friday, March 07, 2008

Lenten Cake With Carrots And Dried Fruit

I suppose if I were told I could never eat another cake with sugar, eggs, milk or butter-and this were the only cake permitted, I might learn to like it. I really do feel terrible for people with severe allergies to common foods. I have a difficult enough time avoiding nuts; I don't know how people learn to manage as well as they do. This cake would be suitable for vegans if you omit the sugar, which the original recipe I tweaked did. I added ½ a cup of granulated sugar but I also substituted apricots for dates, which are considerably less sweet.

It isn't a bad cake. It is however a bit on the heavy side and the sort of thing that's screaming for a good dousing in liquor. OK, I think most cakes benefit from a good dousing in liquor, so perhaps I'm not the best person to ask. It was pretty moist, considering but like most Lenten cakes, probably will not be a good keeper (so when it goes stale in a day or so, I recommend dousing it in brandy, ground we've already covered).

The glaze in the original recipe involved frozen orange juice concentrate, arrowroot and shredded coconut. I decided to make a light glaze of water and confectioner's sugar and dust with coconut-sweetened coconut, thank you very much. I really hope diabetics wouldn't get the idea that a cake filled with this much dried fruit would be better than a traditional cake with granulated sugar-because it isn't. In terms of actual carbohydrates, this cake is a serious "carbo-bomb" and as my mother (who was diabetic) often observed, a slice of cheesecake never raised her blood sugar as much as a piece of raisin toast. Consider yourselves warned.

You Will Need:
(Makes 1 large Bundt cake)

1 cup shredded carrots
2 ½ cups chopped, dried apricots
2 2/3 cups water
2 cups raisins
½ cup vegetable shortening or margarine
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1-teaspoon cloves
1-teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Grease and flour a large Bundt Cake pan.
In a large pot, combine carrots, apricots, water, raisins, margarine and spices. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for five minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the first mixture to the second and mix very well. This is pretty heavy and dry and you will need to do a very thorough job of mixing. Because of all the fruit, you'll need to do it by hand as I suspect it will fry the motor in most mixers.

Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes (I used a cold start oven, if you pre-heat, shorten the time and keep checking).

Cool on rack and glaze if desired.

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