Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brazilian carrot cakes

September 8, 2012

Last month I shifted departments at work. I'm still in the same general field and collaborate with many of the same awesome people; I remain on the invite list for the annual lab culinary competition. But I'm considerably more distant from the lovely officemate I've had for the past two years. Our research interests don't overlap much but we've shared a supervisor, cat stories and a love of cooking.

We both subscribe to the same vege box service and have often traded ideas for using up the latest windfall. She showed me this recipe when the quantity of carrots began increasing. Unlike the carrot cakes we commonly encounter in Australia, this one blends up the vegetable for a smoother, lighter batter. I didn't succeed in completely pureeing my carrots but I did enjoy the light-yet-sturdy crumb of my cakes, a similar texture to flourless cakes based on almond meal or polenta. I also used raw granulated sugar and it didn't completely dissolve, lending the cakes a lively uneven sweetness and thick caramel crust.

The biggest surprise was the chocolate glaze. While I was anticipating something thin and sugary, its richness approaches a ganache! And it does a smashing Donna Hay dribble. I don't think afternoon tea could look or taste much better.

Brazilian carrot cakes
(a recipe by Patricia Scarpin on Design*Sponge)

2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
350g carrots, coarsely grated
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

chocolate glaze
2 tablespoons cocoa
4 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat an oven to 180°C. Grease a muffin pan - I actually made 15 cupcakes and so greased a few ramekins as well.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar.

In a food processor or blender, puree together the carrots, eggs, oil and vanilla until as smooth as possible. Mine still had noticeable carrot texture even after many minutes of blending, and the texture of my cake was a little coarse (but pleasant!).

Pour the carrot mixture over the flour mixture and stir them to combine. Spoon the cake matter into the muffin cups (until about two-thirds full) and bake the cakes until they pass the skewer test, about 25 minutes. Use a knife to gently separate the cakes from the tray; I just flipped them on their sides in the tray to cool a little.

In a small saucepan, stir together all the ingredients over a medium-low heat. When the butter is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, bring it to the boil for a couple of minutes. Set the glaze aside to cool and thicken further for 10 minutes, then drizzle tablespoons of it over the cakes.


  1. Oooh, I love the look of this! I'd definitely find myself throwing in a multitude of spices too, but then I'm sure it would be perfect for me :D

    1. I'm wishing I threw in some orange zest but you wouldn't want to know anything about that, would you? :-P

  2. Oh yum! Printing this recipe to try on the weekend. :-)

  3. That looks good, very afternoon-tea material. I should make Brazilian food more often!

    1. Hi leaf - I know so little about Brazilian food! This recipe has me thinking I should learn more.

  4. it is sad when you leave behind a good office buddy - especially someone who shares such a great recipes - glad to hear you haven't moved too far

    1. Johanna - thankfully my new spot is just as (if not more) convenient than my last one. Now if only I could get my new computer connected to the central printer!

  5. Wow - They look fantastic as muffins - glad they turned out so well! This old office buddy will keep in touch so we can keep sharing recipes and cat stories!!! I am reliably told the extra chocolate sauce makes an awesome hot chocolate when added to warm milk. Talk to you soon X C.

    1. Aw, thanks for stopping by to comment, C! Talk to you soon.