Since I am in Beijing I tried a lot of different carrot cakes - with or without frosting - and they were all different. Some were too sweet, some too firm, some too dry, but the best and perfect one I ate was at Dareem Cafe in Sanlitun South. Therefore my goal was to make a carrot cake which was at least as delicious as Dareems'. It is the first carrot cake I made - Maika gave me the recipe - and it was simply delicious: succulent and just perfect! I did not any topping as it was already delicious, but I think for the next time I'd probably try some walnut cream cheese frosting...we'll see!
And here comes the recipe, inspired from Natalie Eve Garrett
1 3/4 cups almond meal (or 1 ½ cups ground almonds or other nuts)
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
a pinch of salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 ½ cups carrots (3-4 large carrots), peeled and finely grated (I used a food processor, but you can also use the smallest holes on a box grater. Or, in a pinch, you can buy a bag of pre-shredded carrots at a place like Trader Joes, though they’ll be drier; soak them for an hour or so first!)
2/3 cup raisins (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9” cake pan with olive oil spray plus a drizzle or two more olive oil; set aside.
2. Combine almond meal (or grind your own in a food processor), spices and baking powder in one bowl; set aside.
3. Beat the eggs (with a mixer fitted with a whisk, or briskly with a fork). Slowly add the raw sugar and beat until it’s thick and ribbon-y. Add in the almond extract and olive oil, keep beating. Ahhhh that gorgeous almond smell!
4. Gently fold in the almond-spice mixture, and then slowly add the carrots and raisins.
5. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake for about one hour.
Fresh Lemongrass Tea and Homemade Carrot Cake at Kocoon Spa