Thursday, 7 October 2010

Curry and Beer makes for a very interesting Carrot Cake

A general rule of cooking is:  When drunk, many things seem like a good idea which will later prove to taste like unto that which usually goes down a toilet - which is where the ill-fated dish ends up.  Recently a trip to the local Curry House prompted a conversation which went something like this:
  • If only pubs had curry on tap, to go with your beer.
  • If only that curry was Mr. Whippy style.
  • Hey, you could serve it in cones made of naan bread or very thick poppadoms.
  • With a chilli chocolate flake!
  • Hang on... what about curry IN CAKE FORM... everyone loves curry, everyone loves cake, right??
For once this drunken curry-based line of reasoning didn't sound so bad when sober, mostly because of a little thing someone (also in a pub) called the Taste Triangle: a theory that if A goes with B, and B goes with C, that A and C may well go together as well - chilli and chocolate, chilli and tomatoes, chocolate and tomatoes?  It's Heston Blumenthal territory to most of us, but in this case I didn't see why garam masala, or another 'sweet' spice such as cardamom or caraway, shouldn't be added to a carrot cake.

Kashmiri Carrot Cake

N.B.: The following recipe yielded a rather stodgesome loaf most suitable to eat with a cup of tea in hand, or perhaps some coconut icecream.  For a lighter version perhaps more self-raising, more rigorous beating and less mixture-per-tin might yield a less dense experience, but it will be up to you to experiment.

approx. 350g carrot, grated
half a small red onion, finely chopped
100g apricots, shredded
100g raisins
50g dessicated coconut
3-4 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 fresh eggs
4-5 tablespoonfuls of olive oil
200g dark brown soft sugar
approx. 250g self-raising flour (you may want more than this.)
2 1/2 teaspoonfuls of garam masala
pinch salt
pack cream cheese
2 tablespoonfuls icing sugar
coriander leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180deg. C and line a loaf tin with a strip of greaseproof paper so that little 'handles' poke out of each end.  Mix together all the fruit, veg and spice in a large bowl; add the eggs and oil and stir to incorporate.  Mix in the sugar.  Add the flour about 50g at a time, until you've reached a thick gloopy consistency; get it in the tin and bake for about 1hr20mins, or until a skewer through the very middle comes clean.  You may find yours needs less than this as my oven is quite unbalanced, baking the back more than the front.
Beat the cheese, coriander and icing sugar together in a bowl until smooth and chill in the fridge until you need to ice the cake.

As a side note, this really rather deliciously unusual confection was made using a Global kitchen knife, which is what your teaspoons imagine the face of God looks like.  When I say 'shredded' apricots, I mean you will not believe how wonderfully sharp and easy to use these things are.  Get one.

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