Carrot was a regular feature on my family dinner table. Carrots in soup, carrots in stir fries, carrots in salads, carrots in juices, carrots in Teochew vegan kueh (chai pao kueh), carrots in spring rolls, carrots in fried rice, carrots in soup noodles, carrots in stir fried noodles and carrots in carrots. You get the drift.
When I first moved out of home, I could not cook. I knew was that egg is a good meat substitute and supposedly easy to cook with. I also knew that carrots which were found in most foods I had eaten are nutritious and rumoured to help the British win the war. So, the two should be good together, shouldn’t they? That was how my never-to-be-repeated-again scrambled eggs with grated carrots came about. It was very ‘carroty’ in taste and pretty much a puddle of orange mess. Carrots were and still are relatively cheap by the bag, and I used too much. Thankfully I have since discovered other ways of cooking with carrots, seasoning, herbs and the wonders of moderation.
While looking for a recipe that uses almond meal, I found a recipe for mini almond, orange and poppy seed cakes in a Sanitarium cookbook. A quick glance at the recipe and the two cups of grated carrots won me over.
There are so many good things about these little cakes. Apart from having the fragrance of orange zest and being a source of fibre, each little cake contains carotenoids from the carrots1 and some protein and vitamin E from the almond meal2. However, as these mini cakes are just treats afterall, we cannot expect to meet our fibre, carotenoids, protein and vitamin E needs from these treats. Rather, each cake is a cute, yummy and less-guilt-evoking treat that would contribute to our daily intakes in a small way and is just another way of cooking with carrots.
Mini Orange, Almond & Poppy Seed Cakes
Adapted from a recipe in ‘Food for Health and Happiness’ by Sanitarium (http://www.sanitarium.com.au/recipes/mini-orange-almond-and-poppy-seed-cakes)
Makes 24 mini muffins
1 tsp orange rind
¾ cup sugar
2 cups grated carrot
100g/ 3 1/2 oz packet almond meal
1 tbsp (1 1/3 tbsp US) poppy seeds
1/4 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
60g/2 oz cream cheese
1 tbsp (1 1/3 tbsp US) margarine
1 tsp orange rind
½ cup icing sugar
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
Place eggs, rind and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and creamy. They can be beaten by hand, just a bit longer. It took me around 10-12 minutes to beat by hand. Stir through carrot, almond meal, poppy seeds and sifted flours.
Spoon mixture into holes of lightly greased mini muffin pans and bake in a moderate oven at 180°C/350°F for 20 minutes. Cool.
To make icing, beat cream cheese, margarine, rind and icing sugar until smooth. Top cold cakes with icing.