Remembering food takes me back to winding streets and a city of canals where people hurry on foot and bicycles and if you don’t watch out people smash right into you without saying “excuse me” or “sorry” or anything at all. (Freaked me right out!) Can you guess the city? It’s Amsterdam. It’s a charming and intruiging city. It is common to see seven-foot tall people who appear gliding along in the crowds. This sight is not unusual as the Dutch are the tallest people in the world. With all that good cheese and the dairy products that they produce and eat, it’s no wonder that they are so tall. Amsterdam is a metropolis with many restaurants, bars, and cafes catering to the tourists’ culinary palette and the locals. From haute cuisine to fish stands and every taste in between, you can find something tasty to tempt you. (Great coffee!)
There was a very small café where I would have tea or coffee and carrot cake. To date it was the best carrot cake I had ever had. This weekend I was feeling nostalgia for that cake and sought out a recipe to make it myself.
Howard asked me, “How did carrot cake wind up in Holland? It must have migrated from California. Where did carrot cake originate?” Candis Reade says on Ezine that carrot pudding started in Europe in the Middle Ages. Later carrots were used in Britain as a cake sweetener when sweeteners were too expensive. Carrot cake didn’t arrive in the US until 1900. Even then, it did not become popularized until the 1960’s. There’s the short answer.
The recipe I used works well. (I rough grated the carrots with a peeler in an attempt to recreate the earthquake cake consistency of my favorite café cake.)
Here’s the recipe from ABWA The Business of Cooking by Bernadette Rossnagel, VP of Warren, Ohio Page 25.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup chopped nuts
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup sugar
2 cups finely grated carrots
½ cup of raisins
½ cup of coconut
Sift flour with baking soda, cinnamon and salt into bowl. (Add the sugar) Make a well in the dry ingredients. Put the remaining ingredients into well. Stir together. Pour batter into two well greased 8 inch round pans or one large loaf pan. Let stand 20 minutes. Bake one hour at 350 degrees. Frost with white or butter icing, if desired, or top with whipping cream. (I like carrot cake with whipping cream. But as I cannot have fatty stuff, I ate the cake with out any frosting.)
Cream cheese recipe: from Lorily Coppedge, President ABWA St Johns River Chapter Jacksonville, Florida Page 26.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 tsp. vanilla
½ stick of butter
1 cup chopped nuts
Blend all ingredients together. Spread frosting between layers and on top of cooled cake. (Then sprinkle the nuts on top of the frosted cake.)
Happy Eating! What favorite food do you remember this time of year?