I like being invited to those parties where you are asked to bring some food and beverage to share: potluck parties! They take some of the pressure off the host, and guests can bring their own flavor to the party.
The other night my friend Sam threw a dinner party on his rooftop (one of the coolest spot in Bushwick, Brooklyn) and asked me to bring dessert. As per his words “...because you’re such an awesome baker”.
So I made cupcakes, carrot cupcakes to be specific, because carrot cake is Sam’s favorite. He should have explicitly asked “Can you bake some carrot cake please?” instead of a generic request for baking (one that implied that I should bake carrot cake...)
As I was about to start baking I realized I didn’t have any orange carrot. Only heirloom black carrots. So I went with what I had, and made a black carrot cake.
Let me tell you this: if orange carrot cake is good, black carrot cake is off-the-charts delicious. Black carrots are much more hearty and sugared than their orange relatives and work 100 times better in a carrot cake. Believe.
As much as I love carrot cake (as 99.9% of the US population btw) I do feel that the cream cheese frosting is too high on calories. So I made frosting with fat-free Greek yogurt. Delish. Greek yogurt frosting might be just the thang for carrot cake. Because Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt, it doesn’t drip off the side of the cupcake (much) as long as you don’t leave the cupcakes in the sun. It has a yogurt tang, but the tang plus a little bit of sweetness works like a charm. And it's obviously healthier than buttercream or cream cheese frostings and it could be a nice option if you are able to convince yourself that a healthier frosting negates the carrot cake’s calories. Let’s also not forget that carrot cake has a full 1 ½ cup of grated carrots. If that isn’t healthy I honestly don’t know what it is...
I got the Greek Yogurt that I used in my frosting compliments of Chobani. I actually buy the majority of my Greek yogurt from Chobani so when they asked if I was interested in a sample, I was all over it!
The other night I came home to a HUGE box of yogurt. They packed it in such a way that there is no way the yogurt could spoil. Inside the box there was huge insulated bag that was so thick I don't think the temperature in there dropped a degree. Plus there were four large ice packs below the yogurt and four more on top. I think it could have travelled through the Sahara and been ok.
Black Carrot Cake with Greek Yogurt Frosting Print this recipe!
Adapted from Martha's American Food and SmittenKitchen
I like to grate the carrots by hand because I want it very finely grated for an extra soft batter. The food processor works too, but the pieces will be thicker. Also, with heirloom black carrots you’ll get your hands all black/purple messy, something I do enjoy quite a bit.
I like to refrigerate the cakes and eat cold. I know it sounds weird, but seriously, it’s a must. It gets so moist and yummy after sitting for a couple of hours in the fridge.
Makes 12 cupcakes (or one two-layer cake, see instructions at the end)
1 cup / 4.4 oz / 125 gr whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup / 7 oz / 200 gr firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup / 120 ml vegetable oil (I used peanut oil)
2 large free-range eggs (or 2 flax eggs)
1 ½ cups grated peeled (heirloom) carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
1 cup / 4.3 oz / 122 gr coarsely chopped walnuts
Greek yogurt frosting
1 6 oz / 170 gr container fat-free Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and place a rack in the middle. Line 12 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them.
In a medium bowl whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to blend.
Whisk sugar and oil in a large bowl until well blended, Whisk in eggs (or flax eggs) 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until well blended. Stir in carrots and walnuts.
Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling ¾ of each.
Bake cupcakes 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for five minutes, then transfer cake to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing.
To make a carrot layer cake: Double the ingredients to make twice the batter. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans instead of cupcake molds. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Butter and flour paper; tap excess flour. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off waxed paper; cool cakes completely before assembling.
Greek yogurt frosting
Whisk all ingredients until they become a bit thick. Place in the fridge to thicken even more (at least 30 minutes). Spread on cupcakes.
To assemble a carrot layer: double the frosting quantities. Frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to set up frosting.
One carrot cupcake (Greek yogurt frosting included) scores 270 calories, 20 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs and 6 grams of protein.