When I started baking, my dad’s first request was carrot cake. I couldn’t fondly recall any carrot cakes that I really liked, so I assumed I didn’t like carrot cake at all. Long story short–I was wrong. Even if you aren’t crazy about carrots, does not mean you won’t like carrot cake. To say that carrot cake tastes like the name makes it sound, is like saying that chocolate cake tastes like cocoa powder. Obviously that’s not all there is to chocolate cake, and carrots is not all there is to carrot cake, or carrot bread for that matter. The difference between this carrot bread and a favorite carrot cake recipe I have made (and will eventually share with you) actually isn’t much if anything. So technically this could be a cake, but I made it in a loaf pan. What can I say? I was in the mood for a quick “bread”. To spice it up, I used a little bit of browned butter in combination with vegetable oil (ok I’m on a browned butter binge right now), dark brown sugar, a tiny bit of Irish Whiskey, plain yogurt, and shredded sweet coconut. I love the texture that shredded coconut gives to cakes and quick breads.
This ended up tasting better than I thought, and it is full of flavor. It goes perfectly with a cream cheese icing (I actually used leftover Neufchatel icing from some delicious Guava and Cream Cheese Puff Pastries I made *and am going to share the recipes with you very soon, of course*..but you can use cream cheese and it will taste even better).
Spiced Carrot Bread with Coconut and Browned Butter
Makes one 9×5 inch loaf
- 1/4 cup (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Jameson whiskey (optional)
- 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 cup grated carrots (about 2 large)
- 1/2 cup lightly toasted shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces of cream cheese (1/4th of an 8 oz package), softened
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar (so that there are no lumps)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. On a baking sheet, spread 1/2 cup of shredded sweetened coconut and toast for 5-7 minutes until lightly toasted.
3. In a skillet (not non-stick) lightly brown 1/4 cup (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter on medium heat. Whisk constantly, for a few minutes, until the bubbling has slowed down and it begins to foam and darken in color. Remove from heat.
4. In a heat safe bowl, combine the browned butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, vanilla extract, and Jameson whiskey. Allow to cool a bit, and then add the yogurt and 2 eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly.
5. Allow toasted coconut to cool, while you mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the grated carrots and the coconut. Stir flour mixture with the wet mixture until just combined. Don’t overmix.
6. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake on middle rack for about 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow pan to cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes, and then invert the carrot bread onto wire rack to cool completely before serving.
*Note*: You could omit the browned butter and replace with equal amounts vegetable oil. The flavor and texture will come out differently than my recipe, however.
For Cream Cheese (or Neufchatel) Icing (optional)
Mix ingredients together with an electric or handheld mixer until fully blended and creamy. You may want to double on this if you like a lot of cream cheese icing, but this was enough for me.