Carrot Walnut Cake with Orange Zest (Photographed by my friend M)

I’ve been in a reflective mood the past couple of weeks, trying to be quiet and still so that I could think.  Every once in awhile, I feel the need to do this to help me regain equilibrium. It helps me ensure that I’m not just going through the motions or going with the flow. Life has too many distractions; so it’s hard to remain constantly focused on that which really matters.

I’ve been cooking, though; I just haven’t been blogging. And that one time I wanted to share my new Seafood Hor Fun recipe here, I found that the photographs had vanished from my memory card.

I’ve also been baking Carrot Cake. I’ve been a fan of the Carrot Walnut Cake at Cedele for a long time.  Sweet, moist, nutty and covered with a wonderful cream cheese frosting, it was the only carrot cake I cared for.  Of course I never imagined that I’d be able to produce a cake like that in my own kitchen.  But about a year ago, fuelled by one of my episodic bursts of baking energy, I hunted down a Carrot Walnut Cake recipe which, much to my delight and excitement, enabled me to do just that.

This brought a smile to her face

The daughter shares my passion for this cake.  She requested I bake one for her birthday earlier this month. But although my previous attempts at it based on the Epicurious recipe for Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing did produce cakes which were literally swooned over, I’d experienced some difficulty and had to make slight adjustments to the oven temperature and baking time.  I also had to tweak the frosting to get it the way I liked. So since I wasn’t confident that I would get a consistent result, I thought I should practice and experiment a little more.

Apart from working with the Epicurious recipe, I also tried an alternative but similar recipe: the Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake I came across on Food Stories.  This one had pecans and orange zest as added ingredients.  In fact, the daughter’s birthday cake was based on this, except that I omitted the pecans and cut down the icing sugar for the frosting (I used only 3.5 cups).

So we’ve been having plenty of very delicious carrot cake around here.  Over a span of 2 or 3 weeks, I made whole cakes as well as cupcakes and shared them with some family, friends and colleagues, all of whom I believe were happy they could help in the sampling.  A pleasure to the tastebuds, albeit a bane to the waistline. 

Cupcakes for the colleagues

The two recipes vary only slightly. In fact, the difference in the resulting taste could escape some if we didn’t have both cakes together for comparison. Overall, the daughter and I prefer the Epicurious one because the cake comes out a little more moist, and a hint richer and sweeter, which I attribute to more sugar and egg. I was also not very keen on the orange zest in the Hummingbird/Food Stories recipe, although the H liked the addition.

Both recipes result in very delicious carrot cake – the sort of cake you can’t just take a bite of.  You’ll want to eat the whole slice even if at first you didn’t intend to.  Trust me.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31