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Monday, February 22, 2010

Random Monday

Today we're going to take a break from Ravelympics Knitting and talk about some other stuff. First topic? Cake! I thought that might get your attention on a Monday morning. Mickael adores Carrot Cake. He loves it and eats it whenever he can. I haven't found a recipe that I'm happy with yet - until now - so I haven't made very many Carrot Cakes, which means he's been stuck trying to track down Carrot Cake in the wild.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had stumbled across Lucy's blog at Attic 24. It's mostly crochet (in glorious, yummy colors), but she also has recipes (also beautifully photographed) on her blog. One of the recipes she has is Carrot Cake! I thought the recipe looked good and was interested in the non-traditional, non-cream cheese frosting as well, so I tried it out. Now Lucy is in England and apparently when we in the USA declared and won our independence, we decided that we would measure our ingredients for cooking differently too (bet you didn't learn that in school). See we use cups to measure flour - they weigh it! Even Tablespoons, which are apparently found on both sides of the pond, are different sizes depending on which side you're on. So I figured I would just convert Lucy's measurements to American measurements using that all purpose tool, the Swiss Army Knife of the Internets - Google. So I searched for measurement conversion sites. One of them told me that 225 grams of flour was 1 cup. OK, so I thought I'd just double check that on another site because, as we all know, not everything on the Internets is fact. Measurement conversion site #2 told me that 225 grams of flour is 2 cups. Hmmm. This could be a problem. If it was just a cooking recipe, I could wing it and figure it out as I go, but a baking recipe is a whole different story - winging it with baking is how hockey pucks were invented (seriously - a batch of cupcakes gone horribly wrong became the first hockey pucks. OK, I just made that up, but it's possible, you know.) The only option for giving this recipe a fair trial was to go upstairs and get The Scale. So I weighed my dry ingredients, my liquid measuring cups have mL on them, and I had already figured out that Tablespoons in the UK are a little bigger than ours here in the US.

But my international baking education wasn't over yet! You see, when I went to grate the carrots for the cake, I read in the recipe that it takes about 2 medium carrots to equal 150 grams. So I pulled out 3 medium carrots (so I wouldn't have to go back to the fridge) and started grating. Let me just say that Tablespoons aren't the only thing bigger in the UK! It took me 4 medium size US carrots to get the proper weight. (I think I may have just solved my bunny problem - if I can just explain to them about the wonders of UK carrots...) Anyway, I mixed and baked and frosted and I got the most yummy, wonderful carrot cake! I will definitely be making this one again, but I'll have to pick up some more carrots first.

Now that we've covered cake, some history, and cultural differences, I wanted to mention something crochet-y. I will periodically check out new groups in Ravelry and over the weekend there was a new group formed - English Country Garden CAL. It's going to involve a new flower crochet design once a month (starting in March and ending in September) with an optional contest thing involving using the flowers in a design. I thought it sounded like fun and since I have no time and really need to get other things done and I'm in the middle of knitting a monument to garter stitch, I signed right up. Check out the link for more info if you're interested!

Tune in tomorrow for a Franket update!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cake looks lovely, well worth the effort. Reminds me of the first time I tried to convert an american muffin recipe into UK measurements. The results were not pretty.
Us Brits are awkward. Enjoy the cake.
Teresa uk

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Kate said...

I've been encountering more and more recipes lately that measure by weight instead of by volume. I love it. It's so much easier to scoop flour into a bowl onto a scale than it is to measure out cups. I'm starting to wish all recipes were written like that.

As a Canadian, my baking life would be so much easier if the US would just switch to the metric system already.

12:11 PM  
Blogger shortoldlady said...

That cake looks yummy! Should you make it again would you mind sharing the US measurements??? Or at the very least - a slice?? :-)

3:23 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

Well done on persevering with the measurements! I have a US measure to hand for when I find a recipe I just have to have - that cake just looks yummy.
Look forward to seeing you peek in on the Country Garden CAL group, too.

4:30 PM  
Blogger Balwearie said...

I am greatly impressed by your efforts at recipe conversion! The first time I visited Canada I bought a set of metric measuring spoons just to be on the safe side... I've moved so many times I have no earthly idea where my scale went. Consequently I've been cooking a lot of good ol' 'mer'can cakes of late. And thanks for the headzup on the Ravelry group. I'm just this week starting on my "Haverhill" scarf -- I might need a distraction. :)

7:29 PM  
Blogger Turtle said...

mmmm, carrot cake is my favorite and though i have one i love, it is not the healthiest! May very well try this one on wednesday, but after my weigh on , just on case i luv it!! thanks for sharing

9:24 PM  
Anonymous Beth (whiteoak on Rav) said...

My family loves carrot cake, ours never has icing on it. This one can be made as a sheet cake (my aunts do this) or a bundt cake.

Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the pan you will be using.

1. Beat together:
1 ½ cups of oil (Wesson, etc)
2 cups of sugar
4 eggs

2. Add in and blend well with above
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon

3. Stir in carefully (fold in)
2 cups shredded carrots
½ cup grated nuts
½ cup chocolate chips

Bake for 1.25 hours (75 minutes--I every once in a while goof up the time) or until tester comes out clean

This is a dark cake, very moist cake with an almost crusty outeredge when done in the bundt pan.

1:07 PM  

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