As many of you know, I have a love affair with sourdough. It took me a long time to try it, but once I did and realized just How Many Uses it had, I set out to find every use for it I possibly could.
Cake is one of my favorite uses for sourdough, without a doubt. I find using sourdough tenderizes the crumb, heightens the lovely cakey flavors without adding any sourness at all, and it makes the flour easier to digest.
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Our Black Forest Cake, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes, Cranberry-Orange Sourdough Muffins, our sourdough variation of Pumpkin Bundt Cake, and this sourdough carrot cake all testify to the worthy tryst of a good sourdough starter and cake.
This cake makes liberal use of warm spices and moist carrots. For our youngest son's recent birthday, we topped it with the cream cheese frosting listed here, but for an afternoon tea time, you could certainly dust it with homemade powdered sugar instead. How very dainty and civilized!
Sourdough Carrot Cake
very loosely based on King Arthur Flour‘s recipe
Also, I don't tend to like nuts, raisins, or pineapple in my carrot cake. If you do, however, feel free to add in 1/2 cup of each to this batter.
1 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 1/2 cups spelt or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups evaporated cane sugar or sucanat
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups finely grated carrots
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sourdough starter, butter, coconut oil, and the flour. (The butter and coconut oil should be barely warm but still liquid.) Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours.
When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°, grease a 9×13 pan (or 2 8-inch round pans), and grate carrots and set aside.
Scrape sourdough mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer, then add the cane sugar and vanilla and mix on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, followed by the carrots.
Reduce speed again to low and add the spices, salt, and baking soda, making sure everything is well-incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your pans) or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
Real Food Cream Cheese Frosting
This is my take on classic cream cheese frosting, which typically uses vast quantities of refined powdered sugar. This version uses maple syrup and arrowroot powder, and oh, my lands, it is seriously addictive. (Be ye warned.) This frosting also appears sans nuts on our Red Velvet Lentil Cupcakes.
Enough to dollop on top of 12-16 pieces of cake. Double quantities if you want to frost or fill the cake.
1 cup cream cheese, slightly softened
1 cup butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup maple syrup (more to taste)
1/4 cup very finely chopped pecans or walnuts
1-4 tablespoons arrowroot powder (optional) – if frosting is too sticky from the maple syrup
Cream cream cheese and butter together until smooth and slightly fluffy. Add in maple syrup and walnuts and stir until everything is well-mixed. Add arrowroot powder if needed.
Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Bring to cool room temperature before using for ease of serving.