The cake you won't feel AS bad about...
To start, the picture doesn't match the title. If you put this salted caramel on the cake, you will probably still feel bad about it. Sorry. I don't have a magic way to make amazing caramel that doesn't make you feel bad for eating it. And once you've seen what goes into a good caramel, you will always feel a little bad when you eat it. Okay, now that I've made that clear, on to the point! This is an apple, carrot, and banana cake but other things could be added like zucchini by removing some of the other fruits or veggies. When you start looking into replacing certain ingredients or looking for substitutes, you'll find that a lot of ingredients are really adjustable! So with this, its the same as an applesauce cake I made around christmas, but I replaced some of the apple sauce with bananas and carrots.
One of the things I do when I'm just making something for my family or someone else who will appreciate a healthier note, is changing out some of the flour or sugar. You can add in 1 cup of walnuts (which are really good for you) and 1/2 cup flax seeds (also really good for you) or several other choices like blueberries or chocolate chips, without needing to make any other changes to the recipe.
You could replace the all purpose flour with whole wheat or replace 1/2 cup of the flour with ground flax seed. You can also replace 1/2 of the sugar in the recipe with coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, applesauce, or agave! You can actually replace all the sugar with those things, but you will probably need to decrease them a bit. Here is a link to an article that better explains how to replace sugar in your recipes: baking-with-sugar-and-sugar-substitutes
I used an unsweetened apple sauce, flax seeds, some buckwheat, and I diced my bananas instead of mashing them, but those are all things that were just my preference. Just so you know, flax seeds and buckwheat both have a very nutty or earthy flavor. If you aren't worried about it being healthy, I love this with a lightly salted caramel. If you want it as a more traditional cake with icing, it goes great with a cinnamon vanilla buttercream! Im pretty sure I've said this before but I am NO blogger. So I hope that everyone can follow my very basic and simple instructions.
carrot apple cake
1 cup - Butter soft
2 cups - Brown sugar (or sugar substitute)
3 1/2 cups - All purpose flour (I used 2 1/2 cups flour and 1 cup buckwheat flour)
1 tsp - salt
2 tsp - baking soda
2 tsp - cinnamon
1 packed cup - shredded carrots
1 cup - mashed or diced banana
1 cup - applesauce
1 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup flax seeds optional
- Preheat oven to 350 F and grease your bundt pan or 2 loaf pans. Cream butter and sugar, in large bowl, until fluffy. Add eggs in one at a time and mix well in between.
- Combine 4 dry ingredients and mix.
- Stir carrots and bananas into creamed mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix just a little, followed by the applesauce. If you want any optional add ins, put them in now. Mix until just incorporated.
- Bake for 45 min to an hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
Salted caramel sauce
1 cup - White granulated sugar
6 tbsp - Butter chilled (cut into cubes)
1/2 cup - Heavy cream
1/4 tsp - Salt
1 tsp - Vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
- Heat sugar in small - medium sauce pan over medium - low heat. You have to watch your sugar! You will see the edges bubbling and caramelizing, give it a quick stir to make sure that one spot of the sugar is not scorching and then leave it alone for another few minutes. You will continue to do this until all the sugar is melted and has become a good amber color. If you stir too often you will get sugar rocks in your caramel and if you stir too little some spots will scorch. I have gotten sugar rocks before and I just try to break them up with the spoon, over medium low heat, while stirring continually to keep it from scorching. If you have not made caramel before... ITS HOT! Do not try to taste it or do anything with it! It takes a very long time to cool.
- After your sugar is melted and a good amber color, add your butter a tbsp at a time, stirring continually.
- Once all butter is melted, SLOWLY drizzle the cream into the caramel, stirring continually once again. Let the caramel bubble up and boil, stirring occasionally, for 1-4 min depending on how thick you want your caramel (the longer it boils after cream is added, the thicker is should be). I let this one boil for around 4 min. Remove from heat, stir in salt and vanilla extract. Alternatively you can scrape a vanilla bean and put the pulp into the boiling caramel or simmer the bean in the caramel. Let this cool for maybe an hour before using it. It will keep in the refrigerator for around 2 weeks.