Last year, I started my own living refrigerator culture of sourdough starter. My little pet has been a great help and very appreciated participant in many of my baking adventures. He has given lift to many a pancake, borne the long rising hours of the bread to which his name is given, shown he likes
to make big (chewy) buns, golden baguettes with thick crusty outsides, and even to be served as crumpets at high tea. Not until yesterday did I introduce him to cake.
Months ago I stumbled upon recipes for carrot cake starring sourdough starter as a prime ingredient. Somehow, as the weeks flew by, I forgot about this ambition I had to try my luck with the cake. This week, luckily, I re-encountered the idea from a King Arthur post and gave it a go. What success! The cake was moist, spicy, and everything one could hope for in a carrot cake. I couldn’t detect any sour notes in the beauteous melody that the sweet crumbs left on my tongue but can tell you that I highly recommend trying this recipe, especially if your starter needs to be used and you’re getting tired of plain old sourdough loaves.
Unfortunately, Husband took the cake this morning in a rush and I forgot to snap a photo. Here is the only evidence of the virgin cake before meeting it’s handsome white cream cheesy groom (and lots of sprinkles!). I used a sheet pan lined with Silpat, and the cake baked veryevenly. I was hesitant, as I prefer to go with the recipe-recommended baking molds, but was hoping for a bigger snack cake version. Per my tastes, I omitted the “goodies” (pineapple, coconut, and nuts) and the cake, as usual, didn’t disappoint at all. My only remark is that next time I’d add more spices, namely nutmeg, cloves, or cardamom. I like my carrot cake turned up a notch, as Ina would say.
Sourdough Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1 c. sourdough starter, direct from the fridge, unfed
1 1/2 c. oil
2 c. sugar
2 c. grated carrots
2 t. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
2 t. cinnamon I recommend adding 1t. nutmeg, or 1/2 t. cardamom or cloves
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Grate carrots. This is the step I always forget and wind up doing haphazardly as the batter impatiently waits
2. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
3. Combine sugar and oil and mix. Add starter and continue to mix. Pour in eggs, one at a time, blending well between each addition.
4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and pour into a greased 9×13″ or sheet pan. Bake at 350F. 25 minutes for sheet pan and 45 for 9×13″. Cake is ready when toothpick inserted removes clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter or margarine, at room temperature
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
optional: 1/2 t. ground ginger or cinnamon, 1 t. lemon zest, 1/2 c. dulce de leche
Beat butter and cheese until smooth. On low speed add sugar and vanilla. Beat only until smooth and combined. Add a teaspoon or two of milk if desired, to thin. Spread atop the cake and enjoy!