I had consecutively experimented with different diets at one point. Not for weight loss purposes but rather to challenge myself as a cook. Adopting a vegan diet taught me to use miso, nutritional yeast and tahini to really boost the flavors of otherwise bland ingredients. My gluten-free diet led me to explore alternative grains. The paleo diet was too expensive for me to sustain as a student for more than a few days. And the raw diet turned me into a horrible human being.
I ate so much raw vegetables. So many damn carrot sticks and fennel bulbs and cucumbers. My jaw hurt. My stomach hurt. My head hurt. Just thinking about that rough raw diet period makes me b*tchy. I did plan on getting creative with my raw cooking but I can’t remember why I got lazy and just ate raw vegetables and it sucked. I realize now that my body was rejecting it and it should’ve been a slow weaning process, not venison wellington one day (I remember that vividly) and raw salads the next.
Anyway, the reason that story ties into this recipe is that afterwards I had avoided carrot sticks for a long time. I tried to think of some carrot cake anecdotes but I had nothing.
So I made a savory and spicy carrot cake and it was wonderful. It is sadly not the result of my own creativity, however, it was a recipe from New York Times. It’s moreish and spicy with chunks of savory feta inside. I’ve baked it in a loaf tin, but you can make little cupcakes out of it, or bake it a a large tray bake, frost it and cut it into squares.
Recipe adapted from New York Times Cooking
1 tbsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
250g plain yogurt
2 eggs, beaten
60g feta cheese, crumbled
125g grated carrots
100g spring onion, sliced (plus one more sprig of spring onion sliced for garnish
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
250g creme fraiche
Preheat oven to 200C. Grease and line a 23x13cm loaf tin or a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, sesame seeds, turmeric, chili, baking powder and baking soda.
In a seperate bowl, mix together the yogurt, eggs, feta, carrots and spring onion.
Melt butter in a pan and when hot, add cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Cook until the mustard seeds pop. Keep the heat at medium so the butter does not burn.
Whisk together the yogurt mixture with the dry mixture, then incorporate the hot butter mixture.
Pour into prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes or until a skewer/toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the pan then invert onto a plate.
Whisk the creme fraiche with a fork to loosen and spread over the cake. Top with sliced spring onion and even perhaps some more chili and toasted sesame seeds.