Thursday, January 20, 2011

Saffron-infused Carrot Cake (Grain-free) SHF #73

I have participated in a few Sugar High Fridays so I thought by now that I was kind of a professional and could pull anything off. Not so my friends. In Sugar High Friday #73 the challenge is a challenge indeed. Zoe of Z's Cup of Tea challenges all to make a "grain-free" dessert.

Side note: Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess started Sugar High Friday - a blogging extravaganza - an excuse to bake your favorite dessert around a certain theme. It's also fun to participate each time because you meet other foodies and get to read new blogs you might not have known about.

Z's Cup of Tea is new to me. But I've been following her blog since the SHF #72 - trifles. And I find it very interesting that she makes so many foods grain free, sugar free, and so forth.

So back to the challenge - make a "grain-free" dessert. Naturally, I thought, oh that's easy - just make ice cream or something like that. But I figure, since she provided a list of suggestions - she wants us to make something that is normally with grains and then to be creative and use one of those suggestions instead.


So, I thought to myself... that's too hard and I'm not going to participate this go around.

Broken carrot cake - eek!
But you see, I have this fantasy that one day I will open up my own little cafe/diner some place warm and I want it to be one of those little eateries where if someone comes in and goes, can you make something gluten-free or wheat-free or whatever, that I'll be experienced enough to say - Heck yes!


And so in order to become that cook, I thought I'd better give this challenge a try.


First go around and my cake turned out to be a sugar high flop. It tasted good though. What can I do with this crumbly cake? Ahh, when life gives you lemons make lemonade says Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker. So I turned it into a trifle - because I love those and it's a great way to serve cake. And I just so happen to have some pineapple jam in the fridge and it went great with the cake and pudding.


But I was not satisfied with just a trifle. I still had a few days left to try and fix the recipe, so I did.

And you know what? Punk Papa thinks I'm a genius. Well, he said something along those lines. I baked the cake again - second time around - not so crumbly. Thin - yes. Crumbly and falling apart - no. So I sliced the thin cake up and thought - should I just call 'em Carrot Cake Bars?

Then it hit me! I'll make them into little layers cakes - ah yes - petits fours. I quickly whipped up some honey-buttercream frosting (so good!) and whalaa! I had myself a delicious dessert.



Grain-free desserts - not bad at all - tastes pretty good if I do say so myself :)

Saffron-infused Carrot Cake (Grain-free)
Makes one small cake. Enough for 16 servings or layered, makes 8 petits fours.

3/4 cup finely grated coconut (unsweetened)
1/4 cup amaranth porridge*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup Saffron Master Mix**
1 egg
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade or in the bowl of a mixer - add ingredients in order given, beating well coconut and amaranth first. Then add baking powder, baking soda, spices and sugar. Beat again. Then add wet ingredients. Beat again. Add carrots last and mix until all combined. Prepare a square baking dish with layer of baking paper in bottom. Pour batter over top and bake at 175 degrees-C for 45 minutes in hot air oven. Cool completely before turning out and slicing into bars.

Meanwhile if making petits fours, prepare frosting as follows:

Honey-Buttercream Frosting
Makes about 1 cup

2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoons shortening, melted
2/3 to 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon honey

Beat butter and shortening together until fluffy. Add sugar - beat another 1-3 minutes. Add vanilla and honey and beat another 5- 7 minutes until fluffy.

*Amaranth Porridge
1 cup water
1 cup amaranth
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Soak amaranth in 1 cup water overnight at room temperature. Pour into a small sauce pan. Add additional 1 cup water and salt. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve with cream, honey or berries or use in recipes such as Carrot cake, corn bread, etc.

**Saffron Master Mix
2 teaspoon Greek Saffron threads (about 1 gram)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups cold milk

In a small pan over low-medium flame, heat saffron with 1/2 cup milk until bubbly about 5 minutes or until the milk is a vibrant yellow color. Strain milk. Discard saffron thread. In another pan mix together spices, sugar and cornstarch. Slowly whisk in cold milk. Turn heat to medium flame. Add in saffron milk. Stir constantly till mixture thickens - about 8 - 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn milk. Remove from heat and let cool. Keep refrigerated when not in use up to 5 days. Freeze up to 3 months. Blend this mixture into your favorite recipes such as brownies, ice cream, cake, and so forth.

2 comments:

Kay Heritage said...

oh, my word, Melissa! I adore carrot cakes because it is not overly sweet and this looks fantastic! :)

cutekittypunk said...

thanks Kay