I'll admit that I was never a huge fan of carrot cake when I was growing up. Even now, if given the choice at a bakery or restaurant, I'd probably choose a dark chocolate dessert over even the best carrot cake every time. With that said, as I've been exploring the use of vegetables in baked goods (my favorites are sweet potatoes, carrots, and zucchini), I think that I've finally discovered the beauty of the carrot cake. It takes a vegetable that has its own distinct flavor and turns it into a sweet, well-spiced baked good that you can eat for dessert.
Most carrot cakes contain as much butter and sugar as any other cake, and so the nutrients that you're getting from the carrots tend to be grossly overshadowed by fat and calories. This recipe is different. It's not really a cake because you cook it in a water bath and it has a much denser texture than a traditional cake. The spices and the carrots convey the carrot-cake flavor though, and you'll surely be reminded of the traditional dessert when you take your first bite of this pudding.
The recipe was inspired by the Carrot Pudding recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. I cut the sugar in half and used maple syrup and agave nectar instead of refined brown sugar. I also used dried unsweetened cherries instead of currants. You could certainly add walnuts to the pudding as well, but I just added a few on top instead. At under 150 calories per serving, it's the perfect way to end a healthy meal.
Carrot Cake Pudding (Makes 4 servings)
1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
1 cup water
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
Pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
2 Tablespoons agave nectar (or honey)
Zest of one lemon
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries, chopped (or dried cranberries)
*You could also use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon and nutmeg.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Put the chopped carrots and water in a small saucepan, cover the pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Allow carrots to simmer for 5-7 minutes, until you can easily stick a fork through a carrot.
purée until smooth. Pour the carrot purée into the bowl of your stand mixer (or another mixing bowl if you want to use a hand mixer) and put the bowl in the freezer to cool the purée while you prepare the dry ingredients.
Serve with nuts, whipped cream, yogurt, ice cream, or whatever you think sounds good.
Here are the nutrition facts for one serving of Carrot Cake Pudding:
Serving Size 71 g