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Photo: the ingredient that makes it what it is © 2011 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

Yesterday, we went for a long walk in the countryside with the kids. We searched out the neighborhood farm, where we saw THREE TRACTORS and smelled COW MANURE! Then we walked out into the fields and saw a DUST DEVIL and got shocked by an ELECTRIFIED LIVESTOCK FENCE! It was a big day! So what could the uncles think up to top a day like that?

The answer?

CARROT CAKE!

This morning, we told the kids that our project for the day would be to make very special American cake: a gâteau aux carottes.

Carrots?! Carrots in a cake?! Ugh.

Well, yes. There are little pieces of carrot in the cake but there’s no carrot taste. Tonton Michael doesn’t even like carrots. There are little pieces of nuts, too. You’ll see! It’s good.

I don’t like nuts.

Tough crowd.

The kids were dubious, and rightly so. The idea of a cake made from carrots is a little strange on first hearing of it. A friend on Facebook suggested that maybe we should do a red velvet cake in keeping with my Southern heritage, instead. Too late for that: 1 kilo of carrots and a sack of pecans had already been purchased especially for this occasion … and after all, as far as I’m concerned, the cake is just the vehicle for delivering the cream cheese icing to my mouth anyway!

À la cuisine !

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So, what was the verdict? MIAM (“yum”) … well, at least from the adults. The kids decided to eat yogurt instead. Oh well, you can’t please everybody. In any case, I’d like to think that our carrot cake is the second best in France, after this one.

I’m grateful that Philadelphia® brand cream cheese has made its way onto the shelves of French dairy cases everywhere, whether it’s to slather on a bagel (once I find a good one here) or whip into a tasty icing for my next carrot cake. I am also convinced that if the French start making carrot cakes and red velvet cakes, “Philadelphia” will eventually become the “Xerox” of cream cheese in France. The brandname “Philadelphia” and the phrase “Oh, my gosh!” have already become synonymous with this American culinary tradition. Check out Philadelphia’s current commercial for the French market:

The recipe we used:
(For a MUCH better carrot cake, though,
try my mama’s recipe in this post from October 2012.)

The cake

  • 175 grams (3/4 cup) of flour
  • 1 packet of leavening (baking powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 340 grams (1-1/2 cups) of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons of hot water
  • 200 grams (7/8 cup) of shredded carrots
  • 150 grams (2/3 cup) of chopped pecans

The icing

  • 400 grams (1-3/4 cups) of cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar

Mix the flour, leavening, salt, and spices in a small mixing bowl. In another larger mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add the sugar. Beat well until fluffy. Mix in the hot water and cooking oil. Slowly combine the flour mixture with a beater. Finally, stir in the carrots and nuts. Pour into a buttered and floured cake pan, and bake for 55 minutes at 180º C (350º F). Remove the cake from the cake pan and let it cool. For the icing, simply whisk the cream cheese and sugar together until combined.

Cut the cake into two layers. Ice the bottom layer, add the top layer, and then ice the entire cake. Slice and enjoy!

© 2011 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

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2 thoughts on “Carrot Cake!

  1. During the year I lived with a family in Dijon, I offered to make a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. My family was enthusiastic, inviting about 20 friends! I’ll never forget, though, the look on the mother’s face when I told her I was making pumpkin pie. Puzzled and a little uncomfortably, she asked “You mean it’s a savory first course?” “No, a sweet dessert.” She made me buy something from the patissier to go alongside because she was certain no one would like it. Fortunately, there were many converts to “tarte a la citrouille” that evening. Oh yes, and I had to order two turkeys, because there simple was not a turkey large enough to feed 20 people available from our local butcher.

    • I had the same reaction last Thanksgiving when I made a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for my French family! Everyone was a little wary of a pumpkin pie as a dessert, and my sister-in-law actually said afterwards that it would have been really good as a first course with a green salad. Sigh. I think my Facebook status that night was “It’s official. The French do not like pumpkin pie.” I’m happy to hear it went better for you!

      My Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras pancake dinner, on the other hand, was a great success: http://wp.me/p1jg1T-7p

      I hope you’re enjoying the blog. Stay tuned!

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