Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Caramelized pomegranate & carrot cake

Garnish with carrot, Greek yogurt and cayenne pepper

Jo is my husband's best friend in the States, he came to visit us for a few days. In the beginning I thought he'd be thrilled by sausages and salamis, which are ones of the specialities in Barcelona, as he used to smoke so many sausages that we would wrap them around our necks and ate until we dropped. But now he makes a significant change in his diet; he is no longer interested in, even just looking at the meat fat. Come to think of myself, I am actually tuning towards the same wave-length as his. For dessert I know I will get enough rich cakes just from someones' birthday parties; my body can't take them any more beyond the occasions. I still enjoy baking some cakes once in a while though; they make home smell good and everyone feel festive. I go easy on frosting (actually none) but crazy on seasonal fruit, as always, a small wedge goes a long way.

Green cardamon pods

The title and the photos tell the main ingredients in this cake - pomegranate and carrot. Pomegranate is native to the region from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran to the Himalayas in northern India. It is widely cultivated and naturalized over the whole Mediterranean region, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, India, the drier parts of southeast Asia, Malaya, the East Indies, tropical Africa, the drier parts of California and Arizona. The taste differs depending on the variety of pomegranate and its state of ripeness. It can be very sweet or it can be very sour. The ones I used to get in New Jersey were usually sour, laced with notes of tannin. On the contrary, these ones (above photo) with the origin of Alicante, a Mediterranean city in south-east of Spain, are sweet all the way. Even the seeds inside of pomegranate arils are so soft that I don't notice their existence in my cake.

I cooked the pomegranate arils with ginger, cinnamon and cardamon, originally for making spicy grenadine syrup which I needed for another dish. Then I added the cooked (caramelized) pomegranate arils in the carrot cake, replacing the traditional role of pineapple. I'm going to send this post to Weekend Herb Blogging, a world-wide blogging event created by our lovely Kayln. This week WHB is guest host by Simona at Briciole. Early next week please hop over to her site and check the spectacular recap of what we blog about herb or vegetable in different parts of the world.

To make caramelized pomegranate arils for this cake: you will need all the arils from 1 fruit (+ 2 if you make syrup). Slowly heat up 1 tablespoon of butter, over very low heat roast 1 teaspoon of diced fresh ginger, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ground seed from 1 green cardamon pod. When you smell the fragrance, add pomegranate arils and 2 table spoons of raw sugar, cook for a few minutes over medium heat. If making syrup, in addition of pomegranate juice from 2 fruits, and more sugar, cook until the liquid thickens.

Recipe of caramelized pomegranate & carrot cake

yield: 7" x 7" (18cm x 18cm) square cake

  • 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • About 3 table spoons plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded (juicy) carrot
  • 1/2 cup caramelized pomegranate arils, please notice they already having adequate spices
  • For garnish: carrot (cut to mini size), plain yogurt and cayenne pepper

How-to:
Pre-heat oven to 350 - 370F, pre-grease the baking tray.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar, set aside.
In another bowl, whisk oil, egg and yogurt, combine them with the flour mixture, carrot and pomegranate, don't over mix. Pour the batter into the tray and bake until it turns golden brown, test with a toothpick to see if it comes out (almost) clean, about 40-45 minutes.
Garnish with mini carrot, more yogurt and cayenne pepper.

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34 comments:

Mishmash ! said...

Gattina, looking at the first pic I have to say this :" if you havent applied for a food stylist/photograpger position in a magazine,its high time you do something in that regard!" You re highly talented , my friend!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, Gattina!! What a heavenly cake!!

I prefer simpler cakes, too - with fruit, even better.

Pooja said...

Hi Gattina,
What a lovely looking cake, and i agree with mishmash totally ! you can really do something in photograpy professionally. Do really think on that. you blog is full of festive cookies and all. Being aways from blog world since last coule of months i realised that i have missed many good dishes around here and other blogs too, will take a peek in to them soon , keep on sharing.
Its really nice to see you rocking in blog as ever. :)
-Pooja

Lydia Hamre said...

these pictures are beautiful! The little carrots on top are so delicately sophisticated! The carrot and pomegranate combination is a killer idea!

Anh said...

Yum! I much prefer fruits in my desserts, too.

Lydia said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I do love pomegranate but I don't use it often enough in my own cooking. Now I'm inspired...

tigerfish said...

oh my, you are so creative!
These look so so good.

Julie said...

That is so cool! And definitely a twist on the old favorite, carrot cake!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Awe, Gattina, I only have awe for you, your photos, your blog and your creativity! This is again so amazing. You seem to never run out of the incredible ideas and inventive assembly!
Love the pomegranate and cardamon!

katiez said...

You are so right, Gattina, the photos say it all!
It looks fabulous! I rarely make dessert but I love it when someone else does.... Then I can enjoy one piece and leave the rest for them!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That's an original carrot cake! Delightful!

Cheers,

Rosa

Cynthia said...

As with everything else we have to watch what we eat and do so in moderation.

I completely agree with Shn's recommedation on the food styling gig.

Gattina said...

Shn, really really thanks for your compliment, I'm flattered! The arrangement in photo looks kind of fancy, but cutting the mini carrots is truely a breeze, only took me a minutes or 2 :)

Patricia, I know you are chocolate expert though, so you bake, I eat :D

Pooja, please don't worry, we have so many things going on in life. Me too, nowaday hardly have sparetime even just for myself... so any moment I can come to your site, it is a real treat! Thanks for your lovely comments, you gals make my day :D

Lydia Hambre, thank you so much! The type of pomegranate I bought here is real gem, it is sweet, and gives out nutty texture and flavor (from the seeds) in the cake. I am surprise with the result.

Anh, I've heard that somethings going on in your side. Hope everything ok. Drop me a line if you have time.

Lydia, I didn't care this fruit when I lived in NJ, I guess was just because of that variety. Now with this one, totally adorable, I will eat and cook it very often. Thanks for your sweet words darling!

Tigerfish, thinking of you! Have a great move!

Julie, I think it is interesting too. Thank you!

Tanna, every word you said is sugar to me :D Thank you my friend! You guys are my real inspiration *big hug*

Katiez, call me evil... me too, I eat 1 piece (ok, confess, usually more than that...) then give the rest out, feeling my love-handle also gone with it, keke.

Rosa, thanks! Yes something different, and will work it testing it a few more times, hopefully make it better :D

Cynthia, oh you sweetie, thank you! It is quite fun to dress up the food... then eat, what a reward!

sher said...

I agree with the comments about you being a food stylist! The cake looks delcious--and that little carrot garnish is genius! I would love to see a book of your photos. Marvelous!

maybahay said...

absolutely beautiful.
the ingredients are very interesting. i love cardamom but had never had it in cake. you have a gorgeous site.

Jyothsna said...

Looks awesome Gattina! One of these days I'm going to try this recipe, I love carrot cakes!

DEEPA said...

first of all i must say ..pics are just awesome ...cannot ask for more ....you are rocking lady .....awesome one ...i wish i could take a small bite of it

Kitty said...

How adorable are those little carrots!?!

Beautiful post, as usual.

Brilynn said...

I've never baked with pomegranate, and this sounds absolutely wonderful!

Laurie Constantino said...

Excellent photos (esp. the small carrots on top), and most interesting use of pomegranates I've seen lately. It looks tasty!

Kalyn said...

Just gorgeous, and what an interesting combination of ingredients. It sounds wonderful.

Helene said...

What an amazing variation of carrot cakes. And a cool incentive to get my teens eating vitamins. Thanks a lot. I´ll do it right away. :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

What a splendid cake you have here, Gattina. Moist, fruity, and elegant. It's positively inspiring.

Sandeepa said...

Your place looks pretty festive with the cookies and now this cake. I am totally in awe of your talent

Kajal said...

WOW...what I say to all your post my dear? You are a great creative mind and also good photographer. You nice touch I was see in all your post. I have no words for your delicious dish. After some time I see your blog and miss so many things in my vacation. But you made lovely dish for charismas also before a month. I love cake but cake is not healthy dish but you made healthy cake hear and what great garnishing with little carrot. Love your each post. Keep sharing your new ideas my dear. Have a nice day.:)))

Chris said...

I love the coupling of the pomegranate and carrot. Sounds wonderful.

Cakelaw said...

bpdWow, this cake looks terrific! I want to try it out.

eliza said...

i'm speechless...a carrot cake that's out of this world! very lovely Gattina...

http://fooddiary.blogsome.com

Linda said...

i am endlessly craving carrot cake.

Amy said...

These look delicious and adorable! I love the little carrot on top.

Nidhi said...

Lovely cake and photographs! My first time here:). Loved your fig cookie recipe too. You have great baking skills. Would certainly try the cookies one day soon:)

zlamushka said...

Gattina, this cake looks so fresh and healthy. I am always amazed by your creativity!

ARUNA said...

tht's just awesome!!!

Carrot Cake said...

Yummy looking, very impressive, love the look wish I could taste it!