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random musings of a crazy cat lady

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Carrot cake with coconut milk

Although I'm on a diet, I still bake occasionally. This week it was my turn to bring the birthday cake to group meeting. I asked the birthday boy if he had any requests, and he asked for carrot cake.
Carrot cake is not the most interesting thing to make, so I decided to mix it up a bit. I was inspired by my brother, who made mashed potatoes using coconut milk instead of milk + butter. I wondered if I could do the same with carrot cake. Sure enough, there were already some recipes online, including a relatively low fat one in which all of the oil is replaced by coconut milk, and a more traditional, high fat one in which some of the oil is replaced. I opted for the latter recipe.
As I learned when I was baking with heavy cream, the choice of fat has an effect on flavor and texture. Coconut oil is higher melting point than vegetable oil, so food baked with it will have a less greasy mouthfeel/texture. Normal carrot cake is made with only vegetable oil, which is a liquid at room temperature. The cake made with the mixture of oil and coconut milk was tender and less greasy than normal carrot cake. It had a very nice texture. I could smell the coconut when it was cooking but couldn't taste it in the final product. Even though I couldn't tell that it was coconut, the cake tasted somewhat different and better since the vegetable oil flavor was less pronounced.
The cats were a bit too interested in the coconut milk. Lucy got into it when I wasn't paying attention, and drank quite a bit of it. Fortunately, she didn't have any ill effects other than being completely lazy the rest of the evening.

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