Well, I've finally done it. I gave in to the power of the veg box. No longer will I trawl the aisles searching desperately for fresh swede, tomatoes, or spinach. No, no. Every Tuesday, like clockwork, a very nice man deposits a very large box of farm-fresh vegetables outside my doorstep. Alongside any other little niceties I've decided to order from them that week. Which has recently included squash, bread, and even a pumpkin for Halloween. Just to make my veg box people (Abel & Cole) extra-loveable, they have a habit of including free things each week with their delivery. This week was milk. Bless them.
But with the powers of the veg box come great responsibilities. The household now has more fresh nutritious vegetables than it often knows what to do with. We have heaps of onions. Bags of potatoes. Gallons of spinach. And acres upon acres of carrots. This has produced more than a few glorious stir fries, but you can only use so many carrots in one stir fry before things start to go...a bit orange.
So what better way to use up all the bounty of the earth than to make quick breads? Carrots are particularly fabulous for this purpose, and considering that we're moving into the winter season, they are wonderfully warming. Despite the fabulous successes of previous carrot bread recipes, I went out on a lark and took the first one I could find from the Internet. I was particularly struck by the use of cardamom in the recipe. So, why not? Come on Food & Wine, show me what you got.
And, oh yes, that worked quite nicely. The crispy brown layer of sugar on the top makes this bread particularly more-ish, and the inclusion of cardamom is a nice subtle layer that doesn't override the other traditional flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. I do however highly recommend making sure you have greased your pan adequately. Despite loving attention to detail, my bread refused to unstick from its loaf tin moorings, resulting in far more crumbs and bite-size pieces than standard "slices". Ah well, still tastes great.
Makes: 1 loaf
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1 1/4 cups shredded carrots (about 7 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Coat 1 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray or grease and lightly flour the pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the light brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. Add the oil in a thin stream, beating at high speed until the batter has doubled in volume, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Fold in the shredded carrots. Beat in the dry ingredients at low speed in 3 batches, mixing well between additions.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, filling it two-thirds full. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the loaf cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.
MAKE AHEAD Wrap the bread tightly in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.