Baking, for me, is often an exercise in restraint: How much sugar can I really put in these muffins before it’s too much? How much chocolate can I mix into these cookies and still get away with calling them “healthy”? My week-long struggle with this carrot and zucchini cake tested those boundaries. Five baking sessions later, we have a loaf cake that is just right, just sweet enough.
First confession: I desperately wanted to give this thing a meyer lemon glaze. Those orangey-yellow citrus orbs are in peak form right now, and a nice shot of the meyer lemon glaze drizzling down on the cake would have been epic food porn. Then, I took a step back and asked myself, does this bread really need more sugar? I think you know the answer. This cake was great just the way it is with maple syrup and a shredded fuji apple as the primary source of sugar. You see . . . exercise in restraint. Don’t worry, the meyer lemon did come into play with this recipe. Inside one of these slices are tiny flecks of lemon zest, which brightens up the flavor of the cake.
Second confession: I added carrots and zucchini to this cake mainly to trick the hubs into eating more vegetables. I’ve been doing that to smoothies with great success, so I figured I could push my luck with cake, too. And he fell for it. Mission accomplished.
MASTER MY MISTAKES / COOKING NOTES
- Getting the Right Amount of Sweetness: I tried so many different combinations of sweeteners for this recipe. First, I started with honey/muscovado/grated pear, then I tried honey/muscovado/applesauce, and finally settled on maple syrup/grated apple. The versions with applesauce were my least favorite—the cake tasted bland compared to the other loaves I made with grated fruit. I quite enjoyed the honey/muscovado/grated pear, but for the sake of simplicity, I stuck with maple syrup/grated apple.
- Texture of the Cake: Because this cake is made with gluten-free flours, it will be more crumbly than those made with all-purpose or other wheat flours. It cut nicely into 1/2-inch slices, but the cake gets quite messy when you’re trying to cut them into smaller pieces for sharing.
If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes by leaving a comment or sending me a message! Or take a photo of the food and tag me on Instagram so that I can give you a fist bump. I love seeing your creations!
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