February 3, 2009

Carrot-Fennel-Walnut Cake with Orange cream cheese frosting

My Carrot cake flavored with Orange juice, Fennel seeds and Walnuts goes to Ivy of "Kopiaste" blog who is guest hosting the event "Think Spice..Think..Twice", which is started by Sunita of "Sunita's World". Ivy has given 2 choices to us this month; Mastic Gum and Fennel, I have chosen the aromatic Fennel seeds in my cake.

Orange flavored Carrot cake also goes to Aparna of "My diverse Kitchen" blog who is guest hosting Harini of "Tongue Ticklers" blog's "Food in Colors-Orange" event.

Carrot cake studded with Walnuts goes to Aqua Daze of "Served with Love" blog's event "Let's go Nuts: Walnuts or Pecans" with my choice of Walnuts.

Made a Heart out of my Carrot cake, so this will go to Bindiya of "In love with food" blog's event "My favorite things-Love is in the air (Heart shaped food)".

Enjoy the cake and I thank all of you for taking time to host and rounding up all the yummy goodies! :))

Well.. Let's see how it all started! I always loved Carrot cake and I made a quick bread Carrot cake before which is delicious but not as moist as "made in the bakery" kind. So I surfed the web and came across a recipe from my kids' and my favorite scientific, educational and very entertaining Food Network chef Alton Brown's Carrot Cake which I adapted here for the most part but made some changes, which is why I posting the recipe the way I made it instead of just linking the original recipe. Instead of Allspice and Cinnamon in his recipe, I added freshly ground Fennel seeds, added some Walnuts and Raisins since I love the nutty crunch and yogurt is replaced by Orange juice. It came out moist and delicious!

A slice of Carrot Cake with Orange juice, Fennel and Walnuts:

Carrot Cake:

Here is how to bake Carrot cake:
For the cake, you need:
One 9" square pan, buttered or no-stick sprayed inside and the bottom of the pan lined with wax or parchment paper.

Sift all these dry ingredients together:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or wheat flour if you prefer,
1 tsp baking soda,
2 or 3 tsp freshly ground Fennel seeds,
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg,
1 tsp baking powder,
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Then add these to the above flour mix and mix gently until these are coated with flour:
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots, about 3 large,
1/4 cup chopped Walnuts,
3 tbsp Raisins.

Blend these liquid ingredients to cream first:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar,
2 large eggs, (or 4 tbsp Apple sauce)
1 cup white sugar,
1/2 cup vegetable oil,
1/4 cup Orange juice.

For Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8 oz package of Cream Cheese, softend at room tempature,
1 to 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar, (or as sweet as you want),
2-4 tbsp Orange juice,
1/2 tsp Vanilla essence or Orange essence,
few drops of Orange color(Optional).

Beat all the above frosting ingredients together well until creamy and chill in the fridge for 10 mins or so, keep aside for later use.

To bake:

Preheat the oven for 350F.

1. In a blender bowl with flat beater attached, add eggs, sugar, oil, Orange juice and blend until creamy.
2. Add dry ingredients sifted together with Carrots etc and run the blender very gently until they are all just mixed without lumps or flour showing. Do not mix too much.
3. Scrape and pour in to the prepared baking pan, tap the pan on the counter gently to release the bubbles.
4. Bake in the oven for 35-45 mins or until the center is cooked ie when tested with a wooden skewer, it comes out clean.
5. Cool on a rack for 10 mins, invert on a plate and frost as you like it. Make sure you wait until the cake is cooled completely. Garnish with grated carrots and walnuts.

Tastes better the next day. You can keep it chilled in the fridge to serve or at room temperature.

One more look of a delicious slice:

You can make Carrot cake Heart for your Valentine too. Happy Valentine's day to all of you!! :)

Have a fun week! :))

70 comments:

Trupti said...

Wow Asha Cake looks very delicious. Love the heart shape & icing. I never used Fennel seeds in cake. It must be tested heavenly delicious.

Ivy said...

The cake looks delicious, so airy and moist. Thanks for submitting it to Think Spice.. Think Twice.

sra said...

There you go, with your unconventional combinations - carrot, fennel and walnut! It sounds delicious. Btw, may make your MW brownies tonite, if I have the time after work to buy some butter

Happy cook said...

Wowo you are fast all these events jut announced and you ae posting them.
Carrot cake looks so delicious and loist and that frosting is so creamy delicious.
I have never mada a carrot cake.

sunita said...

I made something with fennel today too :-)

And that is a scrummy carrot cake :-)

Yasmeen said...

Fennel in a cake ,gotta try the new flavor.The velvety orange cream cheese frosting looks heavenly:)

Aparna said...

Asha, the texture of your carrot cake looks wonderful. Very moist too. Love the spice twist with fennel seeds too.

Thanks for painting this post Orange! :D

Asha said...

Trupti, Fennel is great in desserts rather than in savory dishes. Some don't like the flavor at all, I am okay with it in desserts! :)

You are welcome Ivy, glad to be a part of Think..Spice! :))

sra,hope you make it and enjoy. Bake less than too many mins though!
Carrots, raisins and Walnuts are traditional but Fennel is my addition, works well. Hope you try! :)

Asha said...

F, four birds with one stone! :D
Carrot cake is moist because of the water content in Carrot, I love it and always order it in the restaurant. They add too much frost on the cake, I made it lighter. This time I wanted to make it at home, came out well! :)

Sunita, don't you love the aroma of Fennel? I like it but some here really hate the smell and taste. I always grab some candied Fennel seeds in the Indian restaurants after the meal! ;D

Asha said...

Yasmeen, Fennel is better tasting in desserts than in savory, atleast that's how I feel. Goes well with Carrot cake, do try! :))

Aparna, glad you liked it. I was thinking the cake doesn't look Orange enough after I baked it and then added more Orange juice to frosting so it looks a bit ORANGEY! Hahaha!!

Usha said...

The cake looks lovely...adding fennel seeds to carrot cake gives this a completely different twist,must have tasted yum :-)

Ashwini said...

The cake looks amazing with the frosting..Never tasted fennel with desserts..Should try..yummy and mouthwatering..

Asha said...

Fennel has a nice sweet fragrance as you know, Usha, so it tastes great in cakes. Do try! :)

Thanks Ashwini. I fyou like Fennel seeds in general, you will love it! :)

Purva Desai said...

Cake looks moist and delicious and adding fennel in cake is something new for me...

ranji said...

OH WOW!!what a wonderful cake..i love Alton browns show..he is really entertaining...The 1st pic is so eyecatching looks like a 3D pic....felt like that piece of cake was standing right in front of me waiting to be picked :)...Awesome asha!!!Happy valentines day!!!

Pavithra Kodical said...

Wow cake looks yummy..And addition of fennel makes it more special.I have never tried baking a cake (Oven Phobic):)
After seeing all my blog friends i think i will start using the oven soon :)

Jaishree said...

The cake looks amazing with the frosting.. . I have never made a carrot cake .Using fennel seeds is new to me. Never tasted fennel with desserts.. .It sounds delicious. Btw I tried your MW brownie it turns gud In home all like it. I posted it also.Will try this cake and let you know :)

Pavani said...

Carrot cake looks yum Asha.. Can I use light brown sugar instead of dark?

Cham said...

Way to go Asha this days, one cake for 4 events... Lovely moist cake piece.

Laavanya said...

This is one of my husband's favorite cakes :) I love how you have pretty swirls in your icing and the orange flavour must've given it a nice fresh touch. Looks soo good.

Sunshinemom said...

Asha, looks absolutely delicious with the cream:) Fennel must have given it quite a twist! You could send this to Bindiya's heart shaped event!

Jayashree said...

The last pic looks so nice.....

Navita said...

i love the way u iced the cake...very artisctic waves...how to do that?

Vibaas said...

Looks so pretty :)

Rajitha said...

WOW! that looks delicious Asha...love the swiring technique on the frosting....

Asha said...

Purva, Fennel smells and tastes sweet, so fits right in any dessert!:)

Ranji, kids loved it and it's almost gone now. Waiting for kids to come home, it will disappear soon! :D

Pavithra, try baking a simple quick bread first and then you will be hooked! :D

Jaishree, did you post it already? I will check it right away, glad you liked it. It's so easy to make!:))

Asha said...

Pavani, of course you can use light brown sugar. Dark sugar gives it caramelized dark color and taste but any sugar will do too. Enjoy! :)

Cham it's hard to catch up if I make one dish for each event, mostly four events a month at that rate! This way, it's cool!:D

Laavanya, cream cheese and Carrot cake together is divine, I love it too. This was thick and yummy. Do try! :)

Harini, I did send it to her, made a heart out of that cake specially for Bindiya! :))

Asha said...

Thanks Jaya! Cute heart,but not so good for real heart with all the cream and sugar in it! ;D

Navita, just take a dinner knife and with the edge of knife, go half Moon shape on the icing and lift, that's it. Haha!!

Thanks Vibaas, enjoy the Valentine's day! ! :)

It was tasty Rajitha. I don't make it often because of all the sugar, but it's delicious! :)

Uma said...

ooh, the cake looks so mouth-watering Asha! Love the heart shape. Nice entry for all those events. Thanks for being the first one to welcome me back :)

Maya said...

Ummm, looks gorgeous. So many events covered in one post, very well planned Asha! I loved the pattern you have made with the frosting on the square cake. Looks very nice.

Andhra Flavors said...

Wow it looks delicious and great color. I never used fennel seeds in cake. its double healthy with carrot and fennel seeds.

rekhas kitchen said...

wow superb looks so delicious and perfect icing

Raaga said...

this cake looks lovely :-) I must try the frosting sometime... with hung curd maybe :-)

Madhu said...

Cake with orange juice sounds and i know tastes absolutely delicious.
Never had fennel seeds with cake,wonder how it tastes.

jayasree said...

Cake looks yummy with that creamy frosting. I will also try adding fennel seeds to cakes.

Mahimaa's kitchen said...

that's a cute heart shaped cake... and orange should have given a wonderful aroma!

sowmya said...

wow..thats a fantastic cake..neve r thought of adding fennel seeds in a cake..sounds so good..

aquadaze said...

Thanks for the entry Asha. The cake says "pick me up"...though using fennel in a cake is a new one for me! And I love the swirls on the frosting.

Purnima said...

Asha, thats so yummy..u got two cakes..n the cheese swirls look grand! Recipe yum too! Tks for sharing!

DEESHA said...

wow fennel seeds in a cake, awesome .. i love carrot cake anyways ... delicious

Kitchen Flavours said...

Wish i could taste the tempting, allring, awesome, singully delightful cake.

Asha said...

Uma, glad to have back girl! :)

Maya, me so clever, huh? HeHe!!

AF, they go well together, with sweetish aroma and taste! :)

Thanks Rekha! :)

Raaga, hung curd will do fine, bit more sugar need if it's sour but sweet thick curd will do the same as Cream cheese! :)

Asha said...

Madhu, fennel is sweetish and has sweet aroma anyway, although when baked it looses it's strong aroma, still works well in cakes! :)

Do try Jaya! :)

Mahimaa, Orange juice gives slight color and tangy taste in contrast with sweet dessert! :)

Sowmya, always good to try the new taste, you will be surprised! :)

Asha said...

Glad you liked the cake Aquadaze, wanted to bake something sweet for all of you. I haven't baked cake in a long time! :)

Hi Purni, I cut a heart out of the same Carrot cake for "Heart" event, looks great there, doesn't it! :))
Thanks for the Eno secret for fluffy idlis, I must try that too. It's so cold here, hard to ferment naturally now.

Thanks Deesha. I prefer Fennel in the sweets that in savory dishes, tastes good! :))

It was sinful KF. Kids ate most of it even before I can get my piece! :D

AnuSriram said...

That looks awesome... Carrot cake looks fluffy and nice... Beautifully decorated. Wish i could have a slice.. I too made carrot and cranberry muffins yesterday.. will post that soon...

Adlak's tiny world said...

Wonderful Asha.. superb creamy carrot cake.. sounds unique and difrnt dear.

perfect entry for all those events.

Soma said...

What a Unique flavored cake. I have never thought of using fennel for dessert, but with the sweet kind a smell, I think it would do really good! Lovely color & a heart to hold dear:-)

Uj said...

Carrot and fennel seeds sounds different. But looks yummy... Looks delicious and perfect entry for all the events:)

Asha said...

Anu, Cranberry sounds good, will check that too! :))

Thanks Hema. If I can't do one dish for many, it would be hard to cook for each event.This way, I am happy and they are happy too!:))

Thanks Soma. As a foodie, I am willing to experiment in any way I can. Most of the time it works! :)

Uj, isn't it? It fits perfectly with all of them, thanks God! :)

Archy said...

Carrot cake with icing looks so nice an tempting,Perfect for this season !! Shall try eggless version, with fennel seeds.. Great entry !!

Vandana said...

Hi Asha,
First time visitor to your blog. I loved your version of carrot cake. Will def try it. Nice blog!
Vandana

Asha said...

Thanks Archy. Without eggs, it might rise well but tastes great with apple sauce anyway! :)

Welcome to Aroma, Vandana. Thanks, hope you do try! :)

Vaishali said...

Hi Asha, The idea of fennel seeds in carrot cake is really intriguing. Try as I might, it's difficult to imagine the flavor, although I'm sure it must have been delicious. The cake looks beautiful.

Asha said...

Vaishali, strong aroma of Fennel disappears mostly after baking but you still smell the fennel, hope you try! :)

Madhuram said...

Me too, fennel seeds in a cake? Thats daring! I usually prepare Indira's eggless carrot cake with bananas instead of eggs. The heart shape cake looks very cute.

Asha said...

Next time you make Carrot cake add a bit of Fennel too Madhu, see if you like it. Always good to experiment, right? Yeah, any sauce will do to replace the eggs!:)

Madhu said...

Oh my god..The Cake looks incredibly delicious..Im drooling just by seeing the frosting..

SMN said...

ashakka truely a treat for ur family yummy

Priya said...

Seems u r daring baker Asha, wat a great work, fennel seeds in cake is completely new to me, loved the hearty shaped cute cake..hmm can guess the flavour n aroma of the cake, awesome entry for all those four events too..

Asha said...

Thanks Madhu, SMN and Priya, do try this cake. It is yummy indeed. They do add crushed Fennel seeds to cookies as well! :)

Daily Meals said...

Beautiful cake Asha!

Roopa said...

That looks awesome. I am a great follower of Alton Brown and Ina Garten. The inside of the cake looks very moist , I had made a red velvet cake before and it looked like this when cut, but with alternate layers of frosting since it was a layer cake. Lots of flavors in this cake, cant wait to try it one day :)

RAKS KITCHEN said...

Thats a pretty cake Asha,sounds unique too!I should say,You are the one who never fail to send in entries to all the events as much as possible!!

bindiya said...

AWESOME!!dear loved your entry, cake looks melt in the mouth!!

Anali said...

Hi Asha,

This cake looks really good! I like the combination of very different flavors. I just ran out of carrots though, which I realized when I made chicken soup last night. I also seem to be going through spices extremely quickly. Not sure if I have any fennel seeds.

I hope you're staying warm today and enjoy your weekend. It's supposed to be 50 degrees here on Sunday! ; )

Asha said...

Thanks Vijaya, Roopa, Raks, Bindiya and Anali, hope you try this cake! :)

Anali, it's going to be very cold weekend here but still Sunny which is weird! :D

Mansi said...

wow, that cake looks absolutely yummy Asha! I loved the fennel-orange pairing....must've smelt like heaven!:)

Asha said...

It did, Mansi. Fennel blends very well in desserts!:)

Namrata Kini said...

First time at this blog of yours Asha. Lovely pattern on the first cake. I wish i had atleast half the skills as you. I struggle to make the icing neat :)

Asha said...

Namu, I am not an expert either, just swirled the icing with a knife, that's all. I don't have much patience when it comes to icing the cake! :)