The first of the year I started cooking along with the “Cook the Books” Challenge, started by two bloggers Grow & Resist and oh, Briggsy. They choose a cookbook each month and then you select recipes and cook and share your experience with the cookbook on your blog. The April’s “Cook the Books” Challenge is The Mile End Cookbook by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. Read more about their story… This cookbook is full of modern Jewish comfort food recipes like pickled items, smoked meats, and delicious deli foods. As I started through the cookbook marking the recipes I wanted to make (I think I marked up over 1/2 the recipes) it brought back memories. Even though I am not Jewish most of the recipes in this cookbook made me think of the comfort food from my own heritage .
Of course I always want to add a Fresh From Oregon taste to each of the recipes I make. I had just returned from the Portland Farmers Market located on the PSU campus in Portland, Oregon. I gathered up some beautiful and colorful yellow, orange and purple carrots. The first recipe I wanted to try was the Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Traditionally carrot cake is made with walnuts but I added hazelnuts for that Fresh From Oregon taste. But if all you have are walnuts that will work just as well but make sure you toast them which brings out the oils giving any nut a better flavor.
Tri-Color Carrot Cake
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1# carrots, yellow, orange and purple, peeled & grated
1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
2 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill white flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease two 9-inch cake pans. Cut two round pieces of parchment paper and place in the bottom of each cake pan and spray with cooking oil, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer add eggs and both sugars and mix on low until sugar dissolves, about 20 seconds. Add the canola oil slowly with the mixer on low speed. Add the carrots and hazelnuts and mix until combined, about 15 seconds. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. With a rubber spatula fold flour mixture into the egg mixture until no streaks of flour appear. Divide the batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating 180 degrees halfway through baking, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Flip cakes out of the pans and cool on wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/2# cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Combine all the frosting ingredients, except the hazelnuts, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Mix on medium-high speed until light about 4-5 minutes.
Place one cake on plate and spread with about 1 cup of frosting over top of cake. Place second cake on top and frost the sides and top of the cake. Press hazelnuts into the side of the cake and around the top edge.
Recipe from The Mile End Cookbook by Noah & Rae Bernamoff