Classes start tomorrow, so I figured I had better get my banana carrot loaf baked right away. Since it was clean out the refrigerator night, I could dedicate my cooking time to baking. There were a lot of dirty dishes (carrot grating plus banana smashing plus raisin steaming plus flour sifting plus dough mixing), but the recipe wasn't hard, and we just scarfed down a good third of the cake without trying. No pictures--I couldn't make it pretty for the camera.
Cakes like this can make me nervous, because all that fruit and stuff can make it too wet and heavy and "healthy tasting." Healthy tasting is good for a salad, but usually not so good for a cake. And I courted this problem by doing Heidi Swanson-like stuff like subbing in half white wheat flour and using part walnut oil for the canola oil. But no worries: this is no lightweight cake, but it's got just the right texture--moist without being soggy. (By the way, did you know the word "moist" is one of the most-hated words in English? I guess these people don't bake...)
As I mentioned, I made a few changes: I used half white wheat flour. I ran out of canola oil, so I used a couple of tablespoons of butter, a couple of tablespoons of walnut oil, and the rest canola. The walnut oil gave it a nice nutty edge without being too much. I bet coconut oil would be really good in this too. I also added a glug of vanilla just because I love it. But I left in the raisins. Which makes me wonder--are you still a raisin hater, Alicia? Are you going to leave the raisins in your banana bread and in your Indian pudding? Do your kids eat raisins?
Julia, after she had just inhaled about a piece and a half of this, complained that the raisins took a perfectly good cake and made it "all health foody." Raisins, she proclaimed, suck the life out of grapes. A girl after your own heart. I found that steamed golden raisins were delightful in this. I guess it's just a matter of personal taste.
Finally, another plug for weighing. I find that it's so much more convenient and accurate than measuring for things like carrots and bananas. Fortunately, the Cake Bible has weight equivalents for almost everything. Take the carrots. My cup of grated carrot (3.5 oz.) came from one large-ish carrot, when Maida calls for about 3 medium carrots. It would have made a huge difference if I had used 3 of my carrots! And since I only had frozen bananas, it was a lot easier to weigh out 8 oz than it would have been to thaw and mash until I had a cup.
This is the recipe I made:
Banana Carrot Loaf
1 c. (5 oz.) golden raisins
1 c. (4 oz.) sifted flour
1 c. (4 oz.) sifted white wheat flour
1 T. cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
2 large or 3 small eggs
1 scant cup (6.5 oz.) dark brown sugar
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. salad oil (or 1/2 cup salad oil plus 2 T. melted butter plus 2 T. walnut oil)
1 cup (8 oz.) mashed ripe banana
1 c. (3.5 oz.) grated carrots
Heat the oven to 350; spray a loaf pan. Put the raisins in a microwave-safe bowl, add a tablespoon of water, cover, and zap for a minute on high. Let that cool. Sift together the dry ingredients (I would do the sifting because cocoa and baking soda both like to clump) and set them aside. Now crack the eggs into the big bowl of the mixer and beat until they're combined. Add the sugar, vanilla, and oil and beat until that's all well incorporated. Now add the banana, carrot, and raisins, and again beat until incorporated. Finally add the dry ingredients and stir that carefully until it all comes together. Pour that into the prepared pan and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted all the way down comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for about 15 minutes, then unmold and let cool on a rack. Give it at least an hour to cool before you slice into it, inhale it, and complain about raisins.