Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eat More Carrots.

Oh you guys! Do you know those days that just feel like a never-ending Monday? It sure was one of those yesterday. 
On the schedule: gym, acupuncture/ laser, phone calls, 2 libraries in the center of the city, then 2 more libraries south of the city, then printing 50ish articles I need for a presentation. 

When I finally crutched home, I felt like I was dying of starvation and from the 70lbs worth of paper/ books I had in my backpack. 


Luckily, there was one of the most important food groups waiting for me when I got home: cake!

I can't apologize enough for what you are about to see here, but trust me, despite the weird food pictures the outcome is delicious. 

If you want to make a wonderful carrot cake, please do the following:

Grab a teaspoon from your kitchen drawer and a mug out of your cabinet, because those two items will be the only measuring utensils you need for this. 
I always take the largest mug I can find (larger mug = more dough = bigger cake), but any size should do. Maybe. I wouldn't risk it. 

Then you put the following items into a bowl:

2 and 1/2 mugs of shredded carrots 
a 3/4 mug of oil
2 mugs of flour (wheat)
1 and 1/3 mugs of sugar

I used an electric shredder thingy, but of course you can shred them by hand.
I'm just lazy like that. 

Then you add:

1/2 a mug of whole wheat flour

Here in Germany, it is a bit easier to get all different types of flour (the "type 504" in the picture is regular wheat flour, if you have numbers in the 4 digits, it will be a darker, heavier flour. The higher the number, the "darker" the flour). However, I would say that you can get whole wheat flour in most grocery stores in the U.S. and it is really just like our "Weizenvollkornmehl" in Germany. 

After you have thought about all the different kinds of flour out there, you add: 

3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda (if you don't have baking soda, just add another teaspoon of baking powder)
1/2 a teaspoon of salt

German baking powder (the cheap brand)

Then, you put in the spices that will make your house smell like you are making something really delicious and that will make everyone think highly of your baking skills! Zimt (cinnamon) and Muskatnuss (nutmeg).

1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg

Then, you need 1 mug of plain yoghurt. I bought a big pack, thinking I could just eat the rest with some fruit in it....  but it turned out that it was just enough for my cake. Crap. 

This whole thing fit in my awesome rabbit-mug. 

Yes, that's a rabbit.
Of course, you can use the fat free kind of yoghurt. However, I bought the yoghurt that has 1.5% fat, because it's creamier.

Now, here it comes. You will then need 1/2 mug of ground walnuts (or hazelnuts, or almonds). 

When we lived in the U.S., I tried to find ground walnuts or hazelnuts and failed miserably. 

(I could now tell you about all the sad, sad times I spent at grocery stores when trying to find something that was so common for me to buy in Germany, but that was just nonexistent in the U.S. - but lets not be depressed.) 

If you don't have a German Mama that feels your pain and sends you care packages with ground hazelnuts (and other wonderful goodies), just do this: 

Go to the store, buy a bag of walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or peanuts, put them in a ziplock bag and hit it as hard as you can with a pan. You can also whack it with your measuring-mug, but make sure you clean it before (!!) ... otherwise, you will end up with lumps of yoghurt/oil/flour/carrots all over your kitchen. (It will happen. Trust me.)

Here is why doing this is better than throwing the walnuts in a food processor:
- the grease in those nuts might turn everything into peanut butter 
- its always good not to bottle up frustration - just let it out!

 And that was it!

Now, if you are one of those lucky people who have a mixer. Go ahead, use it.

I used a spoon.

This is me holding the spoon sideways
- impossible to stir/ mix with this. 
But it turns out: a spoon is not the best thing to use to mix this cake batter properly. 

Much better.
Your carrot cake batter will be just between looking like a dough and looking like a batter. You don't want it to be dry, but if it is too moist, your cake will not bake right. 

Don't forget to grease the baking pan. 

I always use oil and then spread it with a brush or some paper towel. 

When you fill in the pan, you want to make sure that drips of carrot-batter-strings don't end up all over the side your pan (those drips burn to the pan within minutes, stink up your kitchen, and are impossible to clean). 
Those orange little bastards will cause the dough come out of your bowl in one big blob. That's why I just pour it and turn the pan until it is filled. 

I have no idea why this picture is so yellow.

Then you bake it for approximately one hour at 175 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). 

Depending on your oven, you might need to bake it for longer. Test with a toothpick. If there is no more batter sticking to it, it's done.

In the meantime, find someone to clean up the mess you made. 

"What are you looking at me for?! I'm a dog. I don't help." 
Wait until your cake is completely cooled down and then take it out of the pan. Otherwise, it will break into at least 4 pieces. Or just half the cake will fall out of the pan. (It really happens.)
Then, don't waste any more time and eat it.

In short:

Put all these things into a bowl, mix them, and bake for an hour at 175 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
(Check with toothpick if it is done.)

2 and 1/2 mugs of shredded carrots 
3/4 of a mug of oil
2 mugs of flour (wheat)
1 and 1/3 mugs of sugar

1/2 a mug of whole wheat flour

3 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda (or an additional teaspoon of baking powder)
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 a teaspoon of nutmeg
1 mug of plain yoghurt
 1/2 mug of ground walnuts (or hazelnuts, or almonds, or peanuts)

Now, I should finally get some work done.

Happy Thursday!

What was the last thing you read?

Do you prefer to cook or to bake?

Is it still hot and sunny where you are? Or are you already getting the first signs of fall? 

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