well it doesn't get much simpler than Dr. Weil's carrot cake which i made for my beautiful mother on mother's day. a few very basic, very simple, healthy ingredients blend together to create a really great cake that you cannot feel bad about eating because there's really nothing bad in it (unless you consider honey to be bad which i don't, especially because it's natural and rich and because i only use organic, unpasteurized honey).
my mom has been a long-time fan of Dr. Weil. for those of you who have not heard of him, he is an allopathic physician who is also trained in many different complementary medical techniques and practices. he takes a very holistic approach to health care and has been on the natural-health bandwagon for decades, long before the rest of the world joined in on the natural, holistic health care fun. anyway, i'll let you read more about him here if you'd like. his website is great but obviously i'm most interested in the Dr. Weil's Healthy Kitchen section wher he offers up some really nutrient-dense recipes. i first tried his carrot cake recipe about 5 years ago and it was a big hit. i remember getting several requests from friends and acquaintances- in fact, it was the first time i actually made a cake to order, for a fee :o) now, i'm fuzzy on the details, but for some reason i didn't try making this recipe again for years, but when trying to come up with a good mother's day gift this year, i remembered how much my mom loved this cake and thought it would go along well with the orchid and the new book that i bought for her.
this cake is unpretentious. it does not try to be something it is not. it does not try to be one of those cream-cheese frosting laden show-stoppers with marzipan carrots and dense, spicey, sweet layers. this is more of a snacking cake, perfect for breakfast or with some tea. as i said, i made this for my mom but i think it was actually my sister who ate most of it.
i can't blame her, it was pretty irresistable.
Carrot Cake (recipe courtesy of Dr. Weil's Healthy Kitchen)
2 cups firmly packed finely grated carrots
juice of 1 large orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup light olive oil
1 cup honey, liquefied in microwave (30 seconds)
1/2 cup crushed or chopped pineapple, drained
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
preheat oven to 350°F. in a mixing bowl, stir together the carrots, orange juice, vanilla, olive oil, honey, and pineapple until well blended. in another bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, and spices. mix in the walnuts.
blend the dry ingredients into the carrot mixture, stirring until just mixed. pour the batter into a nonstick 8-inch-square baking pan and bake for 45-60 minutes until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. remove from oven, let cool slightly, and remove from pan.
i love this recipe. i'm a huge fan of the use of olive oil, especially since it's such a minimal amount. the walnuts give this cake a real omega-3 kick, and the lack of any dairy and eggs means that the cholesterol count for this one is zero.
also, don't be afraid of the large amount of honey here. in my opinion, honey has a richer flavour than sugar, but it is not as sweet. that means that this cake is really not too sweet at all. in fact, i ended up drizzling a combination of icing sugar and lemon juice over the top of the cake for some extra sweetness. and you're going to get a good 12-16 servings out of this recipe meaning 1-2 tablespoons of honey per serving, max. the honey also helps to keep the cake moist.
ps - it's ok to have a bite with a touch of butter