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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Make a Date with Carrot Cake

I realised that I have eaten more carrot cake in these past three weeks than I have eaten all year.
FSM, the on-campus cafe, has become my haven for studying Accounting, Econ, Psychology, and whatever else I have been lazy about until the night before the midterm. Every time I go there (which is nearly everyday), I order the same thing: A small-nonfat-sugarfree vanilla latte and a slice of carrot cake. Multiply these slices by four to five days of FSM fun, and that is a lot of cake.

Unfortunately, that also means a lot of calories, and since I clearly am not going to the gym (that is two hours I could be studying!), I needed to figure out a better version of my go-to textbook food than layers of carrots, sugar, and cream cheese frosting.

My solution was a carrot cake sweetened with dates. Although dates do pack a hefty dose of calories they are fat-free and an excellent source of fiber, so you feel fuller for a longer period of time and avoid uncessary snacking. I consider them 'good' calories, in the same group as nuts and avocado.

Further health kicks included whole wheat flour, yoghurt, and almonds (remember, good calories). Instead of cream cheese, I used the leftover dates to create a date frosting to spread on top. It complimented the dates in the cake nicely and added sweetness, but not overpoweringly so.

Ultimately, one slice of cake equated to 211 calories, versus 400 for a typical store-slice. Success? I think so.

Now back to Marketing.

Make-a-Date Carrot Cake

2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup almonds, chopped
1 stick butter, melted
3/4 cup dates, pitted and finely chopped
1.5 cups carrots, finely shredded
1/2 cup yoghurt (I used nonfat Greek plain)
2 eggs
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup light soy milk
1.5 tsp Cinnamon
.75 tsp salt
2.5 tsp BP

Date Frosting:
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9x5x3 / 8-cup loaf pan (or 8x8 cake pan) and line it with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the almonds and set aside.

Stir the dates into the melted butter, breaking up the dates a bit.

Stir the carrots into the date-butter mixture, breaking up any date clumps as you go. Whisk in the yoghurt, eggs, and soy milk. Add the flour mixture and stir until everything just comes together. Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cake - it'll be less if you are using a standard cake pan. Remove from oven and let cool.

While the cake is baking make the date frosting.

In a medium saucepan, bring water and dates to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add vanilla and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

Allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Place mixture in a blender with the cinnamon. Pulse until smooth and completely blended. When the cake is cool, spread the frosting over it.

Serves 16.

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