There’s nothing like a cold day and a warm oven to turn that frown upside down. Or, at least in my situation, a cold day to turn on my Crockpot and turn the cake upside down!
In NOLA, I have a couple of choice locations for carrot cake. I don’t eat just any carrot cake. It requires a certain level of love and affection, and of course, a big saucy meal before it. One of my favorite carrot cakes comes from none other than Company Burger. After a Magic Hat No. 9, a turkey burger (tomato jam, green goddess dressing and arugula — hold the arugula) and an order of tater tots dipped in half chipotle mayo/half basil mayo, there is NO beating a slice of carrot cake for the road.
I have four other faves, in no particular order:
- Maple Street Patisserie (occasionally they have it, but not always)
- Dorignac’s (they also have an amazing powdered Bavarian cream doughnut)
- Fairgrinds (a general variety of pastries, including the carrot cake and yummy vegan options)
You know that saying, “you don’t know what you have until you don’t have it anymore?” Well, apparently I also feel that way about carrot cake.
I’ve looked around for carrot cake here in Brussels, but I have to be honest: they don’t look so tasty. So, armed with Google and common sense, I searched for relatively easy and highly rated carrot cake recipes for, you guessed it, my Crockpot!
For those wondering why I would use the Crock and not the oven, let me explain. One day, I asked my flatmate how to light the pilot light on the oven. Even though it was French day in the flat, she kindly and quite swiftly stopped me and explained in English that she almost died one day when the light wouldn’t come on but the gas kept going. So, since then, no oven. By switching to English, I think she really wanted me to truly understand, not just nod my head and say, “Oui, je comprends: utiliser le four signifie que je vais mourir.” (Translation: “Yes, I understand: using the oven means I will die.”) Bummer. So, as you can imagine, that made the need to find a Crockpot that much more compelling.
And here we are today.
First, you need carrots. Yes, real carrots. Fresh carrots. Peel them, cut them.
Then, you figure out how in the world you are going to Julienne them. Oh, that’s right! I remember. My flatmate also has this LOVELY contraption:
Then, assemble your ingredients like a good little baker, substituting sugar-free 100% apple sauce for vegetable oil:
Mix up your wet ingredients first, then add in the flour ….
And then, mix together your baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon together so that it is evenly distributed throughout your batter:
Add the rest of those gorgeous carrots that you kept snacking on while you were julienne’ing!
Mix it well. Beautiful, no?
Grease up that Crock and put the batter in, carefully. No, seriously. Care … full … eeeeeeee.
Then, cover and set to low. Yes, those are paper towels. In a traditional oven, it stays humid. In a Crock, not so much. The humidity in the Crock relies on the meats or sauces that you’ve added to the mix. Since we are baking UP and not cooking DOWN, we need an extra layer to keep all that good moisture inside!
And, while that cooks for two to three hours (mine took about 2.5 hours), we take out what we need for the cream cheese icing … and let it sit. And wait. To soften. Or so we hope!
Oh, look! The cake is done! YAY!
Wait! What was that? It’s past lunch time? Blasphemy! Here’s some taco soup to hold you over until dinner!
Wait. It’s been three hours now. The cake is done, I ate lunch, but the butter and the cream cheese aren’t soft yet. Why? Probably because it is 45 degrees in the house! Oh. Hm. Well, off to the windowsill you go for some afternoon sunning.
Once soft, mix the butter and the cream cheese together. Yes, together. We call this “heaven on earth.”
Add the powdered sugar …
Quietly, inside of your brain, secretly wish you could bathe in it …
Then take the cake out of the Crock. Did I mention CAREFULLY?
Wait. The icing is done. Where is my six-year-old nephew when I really need him? I guess I have to clean these off myself. Poor NOLAfoodie. 🙂
So, here’s where it got special. Basically, when I took the cake out, there were a lot of … dark spots. Where the cake cooked unevenly and I needed to, well, cut off the “crunchy” parts. Quite sad when you think about it. Such a waste.
Looks kind of mangled now, but I hope it tastes good!
Then, put the icing next to something warm again, since it’s almost frozen again! 🙂 After it warms up, cut the cake into bite-size pieces and top accordingly.
There … perfection.
(This post is in a different format than previous posts. Feel free to send me your thoughts on your preferred setup … like this above, or more consolidated like before?)