Purple Carrot Cake

purple carrot cake purple

Purple isn’t a colour that holds a strong part in my life. It seems to come up in flicks and flecks and then disappears again.

When I think of purple I think of the purple cabbage dish my mum used to make as a child…oh how I used to shudder knowing that was going on to my plate. Any offers of her to make it again as an adult have been politely refused as really…you can’t fight history.

Purple, and I think of the beautifully scented lavander that sits outside my front door. A heady large bush that seems to have a constant stream of buzzing bees dancing on it’s purple flowered heads. Brush past it with your hand just after rain shower and you are rewarded with a heady scented smell that clings to finger tips.

I once had an oversized costume jewellery ring with a purple stone centred in the middle. An old flatmate had given it to me on my birthday. It wasn’t a considered birthday present, it was more the fact that I appeared in the room at the same time as he unveiled the ring. We used to joke that he had got it off someones dying finger….given that he used to keep a large axe in his room, and periods of ridiculously erratic behaviour… probably not a joke I would find quite so funny now.

Purple was on my leg recently. A peach sized bruise that I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how it got there. For two weeks I was reminded of the fact that I didn’t remember how something so big and sore had got there in the first place. (What is it about bruises that make you prod it routinely to make sure it still hurts?)

Purple is also the colour of an old brooch that has sat in a small wooden of mine box for a very long time. I’ve never actually worn it, so it still sits in little drawer surrounded by a purple ribbon, ready and waiting for that one day.

So what does purple have to do with my carrot cake? Well clearly I’ve used purple carrots. Those carrots with the deepest darkest of colour. Carrots that stain your fingers when you peel them, and carrots that scream out to be made into a cake. Not just any cake though. I had played with my carrot cake recipe before, using the purple carrots and all I got was dark coloured flecks through out. Where was the purple? (Like in this sourdough.) I needed to somehow let the carrot cough up its colour without becoming a stodgy lump by cooking it too much. I also didn’t want to put any vegetable oil, or sugar in there. Raising your eyebrows a little? Nope, stick with me.

Local honey and sultanas for sweetness. Pecans and wholemeal spelt for flavour. Carrots for well, purple. And voila, purple carrot cakeMaybe purple is going to hold a bigger part in my life now after all.

Purple Carrot Cake

400g grated local purple carrots

100g melted butter

150g local honey

3 beaten free range eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

50g roughly chopped pesticide free pecans

50g natural sultanas

150g wholemeal spelt flour

150g s/r flour

Grate carrots and melt just the butter just a little with them either in a pot or microwave. Just enough to melt the butter- which also releases the purple colour. Mix through remainder of the ingredients, leaving the flours until last, then folding them through too.

Bake at 180C for approximately 45 minutes, in a greased and lined tin.

Purple Carrot Bread

Now if I had a back yard garden I would have rows and rows of heirloom carrots growing. Not because I have an over whelming taste for carrots all the time, (although I do quite like them.) But because there are so many different colours you can grow. Orange, yellow, white, pink and for todays bread, the lovely purple.

I don’t often see them for sale, however my local farmers market has been stocking them the last few weeks so I’ve been stocking up. The Monkeys needed a little convincing they were indeed still carrots. A raised eyebrow and a sceptical look that only a 3 and 5 year old can give on being told, ‘of course they were carrots, taste them’.

So why should you eat an heirloom variety carrot?

* They taste fantastic. If you are comparing it to an insipid supermarket pale old orange carrot- well, there is no comparison.

* Encouraging genetic diversity. 

 * The purple carrots are full of antioxidants, and… they make things a pretty purple colour, (like this bread.)

Purple Carrot Bread

150g sourdough starter

150g purple carrots- steamed/ mashed

25g wheat bran

125mls water + purple carrot water from cooking

225g strong bakers flour

1 tsp salt

I did an over night prove in the fridge for this one. Baked at 240C with steam.

The result is a soft, chewy crumb similar to adding oats in a dough. The purple cooking water from the carrots adds to the intensity of the colour. The next lot of bread I made was just with the carrots, and no cooking water- resulting in a slightly less intense colour.

Next stop, Purple Carrot Cake…

This post submitted to yeastspotting.