In response to Carol Robinson's request for a straightforward carrot cake that could be baked in a standard loaf pan, we have a recipe for carrot-raisin loaf from Linda Snider and another for Better Homes & Gardens' best-ever carrot cake from Heida Bottrell. There seems to be a (perfectly friendly) controversy in the carrot cake world over whether to add crushed pineapple or applesauce. Here we have recipes for both. As well, one recipe uses oil, while the other uses butter, so you can take your choice there. You can also add nuts or raisins as you like.
This week Kathleen Hughes is looking for a recipe for a dish called Gypsy pear soup, which used to be served at the Bistro Bohemia. And another reader was wondering if anyone has a recipe for Paska bread that can be made in the bread machine.
If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 204-697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Carrot and Raisin Loaf
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) baking powder
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon
75 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
125 ml (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
75 ml (1/3 cup) unsweetened applesauce
2 ml (1/2 tsp) vanilla
250 ml (1 cup) grated carrots (about 2 medium)
250 ml (1 cup) raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Grease a 20x10x5 cm (8x4x2-inch) loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In a large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, applesauce and vanilla. Stir in carrots and raisins, if using. Gently but thoroughly stir in flour mixture just until blended. Spoon into prepared pan and bake about 50-60 minutes. Cool on rack for about 10 minutes and then remove loaf from pan and cool completely.
Tester's notes: Moist, dense and not too sweet, this is a good, easy, quick bread.
Best-Ever Carrot Cake
625 ml (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder
15 ml (1 tbsp) grated lemon peel
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
170g (3/4 cup) butter, softened
113 g (4 oz or 1/2 cup) cream cheese, softened
375 ml (1 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
450 g (1 lb) carrots, grated (about 4 medium or 500 ml/2 cups)
250 ml (1 cup) crushed canned packed-in-juice pineapple (drained)
250 ml (1 cup) chopped pecans, toasted
Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Grease two 20x10x5 cm (8x4x2-inch) loaf pans on the bottoms and 2.5 cm (1 in) up the sides. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, lemon peel and salt. Set aside. In an extra-large mixing bowl, beat butter and cream cheese for 30 seconds. Beat in sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Stir in grated carrots and drained crushed pineapple. Stir in flour mixture and then stir in pecans. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans to cool completely.
Tester's notes: The butter and white sugar give quite a cakey result, which I liked -- though hardcore vegetable fans might find this version insufficiently carroty. I made a cream-cheese icing flavoured with lemon juice rather than vanilla to play off the lemon zest in the cake. You can save the drained pineapple juice for another use. (Looking out my window at the snow, I made mine into a very tropical alcoholic drink.) This recipe can be halved to make one loaf.