Orange, so orange.
When I was still in my mum’s tummy, some decades ago, she had a enormous craving for oranges. Boxes and boxes of them. Navels, clementines, mandarins, you name it. I’m sure the doctor told her it was healthy. Vitamins, minerals, etc, etc. The side effects of this seemingly harmless encouragement was not to be seen until years later, when I developed an uncontrollable craving for citrus and unabashedly consumed copious amounts of citrus.
Until I turned into an Oompa-Loompa.
I kid you not. My hands, feet, and lower part of my face started getting blotchy orange. It’s a condition known Carotenosis, a condition that develops when you ingest large amounts of beta carotene, as present in oranges and carrots. The culprit lies in Vitamin A, the stuff your doctor keeps hinting at you about. Unfortunatly, if you eat too much in a short time period, your body cannot get rid of the beta carotene fast enough, and since it is fat-soluble, the crimson hue remains visible directly under your skin until your body can get rid of it. Hence, Oompa-Loompa.
To this day, I remain extremely cautious near orange colored consumables. But hey, it’s still good for you, and well, carrot cake counts as vitamins, right?
Tropical Carrot Cake Squares
2 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 pound carrots (6 to 7 carrots), peeled, and grated in a food processor
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cup vegetable oil
(can be doubled to frost a double layer cake)
8 oz cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 Tbsp unsalted butter softened, but still cool
1 Tbsp sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar (4 1/2 ounces)
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.
When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.
Frost cake as desired and cut into squares. Enjoy! And remember, carrots are good for you- to a certain degree.