I was really happy to see that this month's Sugar High Friday, hosted by definitely not martha is all about beta carotene. That is, sweets based upon autumn gourds and roots like pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, and of course, carrots.
I've been wanting an excuse to reinvent Bittersweet Orange Cake, which is really one of my absolute favorites, EVER. What could be nicer than a carrot cake with an orange marmalade twist? And why not make lady-like mini bundts and dress them up with some cream cheese frosting frou frous?
They may look lady-like, but these little beauties are packed with iron and vitamins A and C. Not to mention the, um, fiber from the raisins, carrots and orange peel.
Bittersweet Carrot Orange Cake
12 mini bundts (two 6-bundt pans)
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2 1/2 inch lengths
1 medium orange, cut into chunks, seeds removed
1 c. golden raisins
3/4 c. walnut pieces
12 tbsp. unsalted butter (at room temp)
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon zest
3 eggs (at room temp)
1 1/2 c. buttermilk (at room temp)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter your baby bundt pans (2 6-bundt pans) thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Using your food processor with the grater blade, shred the carrot pieces. Remove and set aside in a smal bowl.
Re-fit the regular blade into your processor and pulse orange chunks, walnuts and raisins together until chopped.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Add the eggs, one at a time and scrape the bowl down after each addition.
Fold in the grated carrots and the orange mixture and don’t be too surprised when it looks curdled. This is normal.
Fold in the dry ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
Spoon the batter into the bundts, about 2/3 full.
Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes completely in the pans on a wire rack.
Pipe cream cheese frosting (below) decoratively onto the bundts and then sprinkle with orange zest.
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cold cream cheese
2 tablespoon softened unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 - 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted after you measure it
Beat the cream cheese with the butter and vanilla until well-combined. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating as you go. Now you can use it as-is, or contiinue to add sugar to taste.