For a morning meeting at the office, rather than picking-up some scones at Starbucks along with the coffee, I volunteered to bring some breakfast baked goods. When I didn't get home until 7 p.m. the night before, I knew I needed something quick, using ingredients already on-hand. In our house, that means bananas and carrots. So many of those browned bananas end up as bread, I decided to go with carrot for a bit of a change.
I came across the ecurry blog last week via another of my favorite sites - A Life of Spice. It was linked through a posting for chocolate chicken curry, but I immediately saw dozens of posts I wanted to explore more deeply. Once I got the idea to make carrot bread, I checked ecurry first, just in case, and much to my delight, she had a carrot bread recipe that sounded like exactly what I had in mind.
I knew right away that I wanted to make some changes; namely to skip the coconut. I wasn't sure if the freshly grated coconut that her recipe calls for would contribute moisture to the recipe that needed to be included, and I waffled on whether or not to try and compensate, but ultimately I decided to just leave it out entirely. She also calls for pureed orange, which I went to the trouble of making, but then decided at the last minute to leave out as well. She says to stir it in as the final ingredient, but my batter looked like just the right consistency. I frequently seem to have trouble with quick breads not baking throughevenly in the center, so while I was excited by the flavor profile of a carrot-orange bread, I trusted my instincts. It was the right choice, because the flavor of the bread was moist and spiced, and I don't know if the orange would have competed with some of that. Even if it hadn't, I'm quite certain that it would have extended my baking time considerably, and perhaps resulted in a burnt bottom and dry top before finishing through the middle.
I was so happy with the final texture and flavor of the bread, but I think orange-carrot is a really neat idea and would like to try it again, maybe with fewer carrots to balance out the moisture issue. An orange glaze is also a good idea, but I didn't do that this time because it gets too sticky transporting to work and eating off napkins during a meeting.
Here is the recipe as I actually made it, and will repeat:
Carrot Quick Bread
makes two 8.5x4.5" loaves
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
20 turns (in the pepper mill) of freshly ground black pepper
scant 1/2 cup vegetable oil
scant 1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 1/2 cups grated carrots (6 medium) - I used the medium shred wheel of my food processor
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 8.5 x 4.5" loaf pans.
Combine the first 8 ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and the spices and pepper) in a large bowl.
Whisk/beat oil and sugar until combined and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add one egg at a time and whisk them in until creamy and light colored. Add the vanilla extract. Add the grated ginger and carrots and stir them in.
Add about 1/3 or the flour mix in to the egg-oil-sugar mix and beat until combine. Add the rest of the flour in 2 more shifts and whisk/beat until combined and smooth.
Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool cake in the pan in a cooling back.