Winters are coming

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When winters arrive, my oven gets a new life. For nothing can beat a freshly baked batch of cookies or a wholesome cake in the cold weather. I love to be around my oven to see my cake rising, while I feel its warmth.

I make sure to use seasonal and fresh produce with my usual cake batter, be it ginger roots, oranges, peanuts, lemons, strawberries or carrots. Let me talk about the time I got a severe baking craze. When I bought baking books and challenged myself with a difficult recipe. I’m not into decorating and frosting cakes, so I’m not talking about those professional skills. But, just recipes that call for an elaborate list of ingredients or a difficult ratio to nail, could be enough for me.

Winter is also the time when I happen to bake carrot cakes. I experimented with it two years back, and tried some carrot cake last year as well. Which is why, I’m totally looking forward to bake it in the coming months as well.

In some way, I find the bone-chilling weather a cruel one. I’m not someone who enjoys sitting at home in closed doors, under warm layers of sheets. Maybe that’s why my hopelessness goes on a different level altogether. If you have a job to keep yourself busy with, it’s still better. But in my case, being a freelance writer means sitting at home, and being in Gurgaon means, only mall hunting. So I have nothing better to do but cook a great meal and relish it. Enjoying a meal or a freshly baked cake lends good vibes in the air, don’t you think? So what if it’s only for a short time.

Coming back to carrots. Nothing can beat the aroma of cinnamon that lingers in the kitchen, while you’re in the process of baking a carrot cake. In fact, it’s there in the air the following day as well. And I can’t stop patting myself for it. I like to use those seasonal carrots that are deep orange in colour and sweet in taste.

I’ve already shared my recipe of gajar ka halwa with you. For the upcoming season, I’m sharing my so-called elaborate recipe of carrot cake. Hold your breath. It might look time-consuming, but it’s worth it.

Because, sometimes we ought to stop the clock and lose track, dear readers. Like they often say, bake a cake and eat it too.

Recipe: Eggless Whole-Wheat Carrot Cake

Ingredients:
Dry:
2 cups – whole-wheat flour (roti ka atta)
2 cups – finely powdered sugar
2 teaspoon – baking powder
1 teaspoon – baking soda
1 teaspoon – salt
1/4 cup – ground almond and walnut
8 to 12 – raisins
2 teaspoons – mixture of finely ground cinnamon (dalchini), nutmeg (jaifal), cardamom (elaichi) and dry ginger (saunth)

Wet:
2 teaspoons – light olive oil
1/2 cup – sunflower oil
3/4 cup – milk
1/4 cup – water
1/2 cup – melted butter
2 teaspoons – vanilla extract
3 – carrots (peeled and grated)

For frosting:
1/2 cup – heavy cream (I use fresh malai that I always have in my fridge)
3/4 cup – cream cheese
1/2 tsp – vanilla extract
1/2 cup – powdered sugar

For decoration:
6 to 8 – walnuts

Method:
1.) Preheat the oven at 180 degree C.
2.) In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Don’t forget to sieve the flour and sugar. You don’t want any lumps in your cake.
3.) Now add in all the wet ingredients (except the grated carrots) in a measuring mug. Avoid measuring the wet ingredients on the flour bowl. You might add in more than required. Once you have all the wet ingredients in your mug, pour it slowly in the flour bowl and gently mix it; avoid lumps, whatsoever.
4.) Add in the carrots in the cake mixture. And gently mix.
5.) Now take a round cake pan, grease it nicely and coat some flour on it. After doing this, fill the pan with the cake mixture. Make sure the pan should be left with enough space to rise. I fill the pan till its 3/4 part is covered.
6.) Bake it for about 40 minutes on 175 degree C. Still, one should check the cake after 30 minutes or so. Poke a toothpick in the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, you can take the cake out and poke a light finger on its surface. If it’s not spongy, leave it to bake for further 10 to 15 minutes.

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