Ginger Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Now before we oppose to combining ginger in a cake, let me just say that I never liked carrot in my baked goodies to begin with. It was the only muffin I rejected. Besides, who eats carrot muffins? Vegetables in my baked goods – isn’t that a senior thing to do? I’m just getting through my quarter-life crisis, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Though I am for healthy eating, I believed that vegetables in cake were a bad way to promote “health food”.
Until I tried chocolate zucchini cake. It’s rich, moist, and I like how Chocolate & Zucchini describes it – voluptuous. Plus, zucchini is teeming in the late summer with a hefty harvest. Zucchini is like the guest that’s always late, but brings the best wine. But I must say that coming around to having zucchini in my cake was largely due to the fact that it was paired with chocolate. The combination is amazing.
So if you like carrot cake, think of it as the vehicle to sneak a little ginger into your car. The duo might surprise you.
Growing up cooking Asian dishes, ginger has been a staple in our fridge. The knuckled pale root was cut at uneven lengths so that it fit in our glass jar sloshing in white wine. My mom was, is, and will always be a non-drinker. Lack of enzymes leads to red faces, you know. So the only thing she really brings back from the liquor store is cheap white wine .. for cooking. And being the resourceful person she is, the last bit of the bottle will be sealed away to preserve a new batch of ginger. Ginger should be kept in an acidic liquid to keep it fresh and firm. After all, you can’t use the whole root in one recipe, and it’s not like you can break off a piece to chew on every day.
When you fold the ingredients together in this recipe, the batter is deep brown like molasses, and very very thick. The orange contrast of the carrot reminds me of autumn clothing – you know, the roughness of corduroy or leather accented with the last shards of orange, and yellow. All those colours are in this cake too – orange zest, shredded carrot, and the secret ginger slices. Sometimes I think that batter itself is photogenic, just for the liveliness of the natural colours. Because when it’s cooked, the individual personality of the ingredients meld to the greater good of the baked product coming out of your oven.
But I think I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Ginger makes way for carrot cake to be presented differently – they’re like the personality shoes that add pizazz to a mundane and functional outfit. And topped with this simple cream cheese topping, you’re good to go in any season.
Carrot Ginger Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Adapted from 500 Cakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 2 tbspn chopped fresh ginger
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 7 oz. cream cheese
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbspn chopped fresh ginger
- Preheat the oven 350ºF. Grease an 8 inch round cake pan.
- Beat together the sugars, oil, eggs. Stir in the orange zest, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Fold in the flour.
- Fold in the carrots, walnuts, and 2 tbspn of chopped fresh ginger. See what I mean about attractive colours?
- Pour batter into the cake pan, spreading out evenly.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, and let the cake cool.
- To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese, lemon juice, reserved sugar, and reserved chopped fresh ginger. Spread it over the cooled cake.