A wholegrain and delicious carrot bread studded with raisins and cashews and scented with cardamom. It's good enough for dessert, but you should totally eat it for breakfast.
Spring arrived early this year, like an unfashionable guest. The cherry trees in Washington's Tidal Basin-- gorgeous with their full, pink flowers -- have already bloomed, days before they were supposed to. The daffodils have been out for a while, and the tulips are beginning to bud. March is all dressed up in weather that would be best suited to May.
Early this morning I woke up when a thunderclap crashed overhead, a common May phenomenon. Opie scurried upstairs to get into bed with me and Lucy ran into the closet to burrow into a hiding place.
To be honest, I feel a little cheated. The anticipation of spring is almost as delicious as the season itself, but this year we have been robbed of it. Just like we were robbed of the snow and of the comforting chill of an icy winter. Meanwhile, my dad in Goa and my relatives in Chennai have been telling us of an uncharacteristically cold winter in these cities where typically the weather-- in my dad's words--tends to be hot for 10 months and hotter for the remaining two.
Spring may be here, but my refrigerator is still overrun with carrots-- one of my favorite veggies to have on hand year-round, but especially in winter. This past weekend, looking to make a healthy snack for my sweet-toothed Desi, I baked up this luscious Carrot Bread that comes with all the deliciousness of carrot cake and just a fraction of the guilt.
My Carrot Bread is whole-wheat, extremely low-fat, and it contains the wholesome goodness of applesauce and flax. I sweeten it-- as I do all my sweets-- with turbinado sugar, a raw sugar with the flavor of molasses.
I tried to reproduce in my carrot bread the flavor of a carrot halwa, a popular Indian sweet, by adding to it cardamom and cashews. My recipe is an adaptation of my zucchini bread recipe-- a good one to keep in mind for the summer bounty of squash.
My friend Margo's little boy Danny loved this bread, so it's kid-approved as well.
Here's the recipe now. Enjoy, all!
Vegan Carrot Bread
- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cardamom (run the whole pods-- about 10-- in a coffee grinder with a tablespoon of the sugar to get a fine grind)
- 1 cup raw cashews (chopped into large pieces)
- 3 tbsp flaxmeal (whisk with 9 tbsp water to make two flax eggs)
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ¾ cup applesauce
- 2 ¼ cups carrots (grated. Measure after grating)
- ¼ cup golden raisins (optional)
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bown.
- In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, with a spatula or a whisk, using ⅓rd of the flour at a time. You want a lumpy but well-integrated batter. Do not overmix because you don't want to develop the gluten in the flour.
- Grease and flour two standard-size loaf pans.
- Divide the batter equally between the two and smooth down the top.
- Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack about 15 minutes, then slide a knife around the edges to unmold. Place right-side-up on a rack to cool