For a long time I have called myself a foodie, taking an interest in all manner of things food. When I think about how I became so interested in food, especially in regards to gastronomy, food history, and trivia, I think it was out of personal interest, yes, but also that I was always looking for ideas for the food I was making for my brother and thinking of ways to incorporate these different things and making them adaptable to SCD. Some of these things, like dorayaki, I have never eaten the traditional version of.
As my “foodie-ism” (as my sister likes to call my culinary interests) evolved, especially once I started food blogging, I started to read more books about food. A number of the authors I read came from reading Dianne Jacob’s Will Write for Food, the first edition. My favourite is Ruth Reichl and it was from reading her books that I became more interested in food writing and also realizing the fine craft, like any genre, that writing about food is. There were several recipes that I bookmarked or was inspired by, though sometimes a recipe was simply inspired by her description of a particular food or meal. Her succulent and descriptive writing style doesn’t suffer from the 140-character limit of Twitter either; crafting succinct, almost minimalist in style, tweets that are like reading bite-sized pieces of poetry that encapsulate and convey their meaning beautifully.
It was a recipe that Ruth Reichl posted on her blog that inspired me to make these blueberry muffins. A bit more research and I found out that the blueberry muffins recipe she shared was from the first Gourmet Cookbook, which she edited (she edited the second one as well). I’ve never read it, save an Amazon preview, though I know it’s a tome of a cookbook with more than one thousand recipes; quite a hefty thing to carry around.
Sunday night, I’d been reading Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts (I’ve borrowed a copy twice now from my library) before bed and saw this carrot cake: Karrot Keiki. Given Elizabeth Falkner’s ways, it is carrot cake reinvented into something elegant and simple: according to the description in the book, “carrot caketons, cream cheese-currant-walnut balls, pear sesame salad, and sesame vinaigrette. Almost like a little salad, but in dessert form.
Now here comes the whim: while looking at it, I noticed that the cake/caketons didn’t require that many ingredients. And I had all the ingredients on hand, except for the wheat flour that I would easily substitute with something else to make it gluten-free. Yes, I woke up that Monday morning with an extra spring in my step, knowing I was on a mission:
I actually made two batches of these, on the same day. For the first batch I used ground walnuts (or walnut flour) in place of the wheat flour. The result tasted good (I had a few tasters, one guest ;), on site), although the consistency and texture was more like a pudding than a cake. It will be a while yet before that makes an appearance on here.
The second batch, I thought, was more successful. Using brown rice flour and only a scant amount of the walnut flour just for flavour, they came out a lot better. This is the recipe that I’m featuring in this entry today.
It’s the perfect carrot muffin: soft, moist, and not too sweet. Depending on what you’re in the mood for, with a little frosting, they’re turned into easy cupcakes. (Unfortunately, I ate all that was left of the frosting, so I didn’t have any to frost at least one of these for the photo shoot!) So far, I’ve just been eating them as muffins (from the second batch) and they’re great for breakfast or a snack when you’re feeling peckish.
The original recipe called for baking powder (1/2 teaspoon) in addition to the baking soda, but I just used the baking soda. Although we don’t strictly follow SCD anymore, we still don’t use baking powder – for no reason except that we haven’t got back to using it.
If you prefer to make a cake instead of muffins or cupcakes, Elizabeth Falkner’s recipe specifies a 4 1/2 by 8 1/2 by 2 3/4-inch loaf pan or a similarly sized 1-pound loaf pan. In her recipe, the cake is cut into cubes (“caketons”) for the presentation.
I threw in a small of walnut flour to the batter in the second batch after I’d mixed all the other ingredients, which I’ve listed in the ingredients list as an estimated guess. (Maybe I’ll shoot a video soon just to show how much I throw in.) I made more – this time a double recipe -last night for breakfast this morning but forgot to add the walnut flour to the batter, so I just sprinkled small amounts of it on the tops before putting them in the oven. This way, the walnut flour can easily be mixed into the batter of each liner or can be left sprinkled on top, as I left last night’s.
(Please let me know if this slideshow works, it’s a new feature on WordPress. It seems a bit faulty still, off and on.)
SCD version coming soon!
This recipe is linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays.
Makes 6 muffins/cupcakes
Adapted from Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts
1/8 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups peeled, shredded carrot (about 2 large carrots)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown rice flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Sprinkle of walnut flour, about 1/8 cup
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a standard muffin tin or a mini muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
- Mix together the grapeseed oil, honey, and egg with a whisk until fully mixed. Add shredded carrot. Fold in the brown rice flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, and salt. Mix in the walnut flour.
- Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tin, about halfway full, and bake for 30 minutes or until set and a toothpick or knife comes out clean from the centre. Cool in the tin briefly before removing muffins.
- For cupcakes, frost with your favourite frosting or Tofutti cream cheese frosting (add honey to taste and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and mix). Enjoy!