My obsession with simple, everyday style cakes has been very well documented on this blog already, so I'll spare everyone the lengthy discussion. I'll shorten it at least. I LOVE simple cakes. Loaf cakes, easy Bundt cakes, yogurt cakes, even plain layer cake scraps. Those are without a doubt my most favorite baked good to snack on. They're just simple and comforting, and there's nothing much better than getting to nibble on an everyday cake all day long. Wait, you mean you have the self control to serve yourself a slice and be done?
Anywho. If you have more self control than me, that's pretty great, because I tend not to have any when it comes to everyday cakes. Carrot cakes too. I've been obsessed with finding good carrot cake recipes for as long as I can remember. I find that most carrot cakes tend to be on the oily side, and it's just a very off-putting taste and texture. Whenever I find a carrot cake that doesn't happen to have an oily texture, I make sure to write the recipe down and keep it in a safe place, because it's really one of my favorite flavors.
The second I saw this cider carrot loaf cake on Smitten Kitchen, I instantly knew that I had to make it. It combined two of the things I loved most, so this cake was immediately written on my to-do list without a second thought. Aside from it being a simple, everyday carrot cake, I especially loved that this was a really bare bones kind of cake. It has no nuts, no raisins, no coconut, or pineapple. It's just a good old carrot cake and nothing more. It does have apple cider and olive oil though, but those two additions are essential. They give the cake both moisture and lovely flavor.
This cake mixes itself together practically. It's really so simple to put together. First, dry ingredients are whisked together in a large bowl, and the wet ingredients are whisked together in a separate bowl or very large measuring cup. Once that's taken care of, shredded carrots are stirred into the wet ingredients. I chose to grate my carrots by hand (it's about 4-5 carrots total, so it's not too bad), using a box grater, but if you'd rather use a food processor, by all means go ahead! I've never actually grated anything in my food processor, but that's only because I have absolutely no idea where the blade attachment is. I know we have it somewhere, but I've just never really taken the time to look for it. I always figure that in the time it would take for me to find the blade attachment, I'll have finished grating all the carrots by hand anyway. Once the carrots have been mixed into the wet ingredients, the mixture is stirred into the dry ingredients. The batter is stirred just until incorporated, then it's poured into a loaf pan and baked. Done!
Once this cake came out of the oven, my lack of self control kicked in, and I was practically counting down the minutes until I could take the cake out of the pan, in the hopes that it would cool faster so that I could just eat it. The cake smelled beautifully of warm spices, and it had that wonderful freshly baked cake smell. When I finally got to taste the cake, I thought it was just perfect. I had been contemplating making some kind of cream cheese glaze to drizzle on top, but I'm glad that for whatever reason, I decided to skip the glaze. Maybe it was laziness or impatience, but I just needed to eat this cake immediately, and I really think the glaze would have been unnecessary. The cake was just so moist and delicious as it was, and I was perfectly happy with how it came out. However, if you are a glaze kind of person, I think that a drizzle of cream cheese glaze on top could be ok. It doesn't need it though. Trust me. This carrot-cider loaf cake lasted only two days in my kitchen, and I'm sure I ate at least two thirds of it. No self control here.
Carrot-Cider Loaf Cake
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups coarsely grated carrots
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray and flour, tapping out the excess.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar, eggs, cider, and vanilla to combine. Stir in the grated carrots, making sure to stir them in evenly so they're all coated. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about an hour and 10-15 minutes. Set the cake on a wire rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes before removing the cake from the pan and allowing it to cool completely. Enjoy!
Makes 1 9x5 loaf