Wednesday, 3 February 2010
The 21st Century Housewife's© Carrot, Walnut and Ginger Snack Cake
When I was a kid growing up in Canada, Betty Crocker marketed a cake mix called “Snackin Cake”. It was a moist cake that you served without frosting. One of the “modern time savers” of the late 1970‘s and early 80‘s, if I recall correctly the box even contained a handy disposable baking pan you could cook the mix in. The cake had a bread-like texture similar to a loaf cake and it became a real cult favourite.
I wanted to develop a recipe that was almost as easy to make as the original snackin’ cake, but something that was a bit more wholesome and tasted homemade. (Snackin’ Cake tasted amazing, but homemade isn’t a word I would use to describe it - it had a distinctive cake mix flavour to it.)
My recipe still has the firm texture of the original, so you can pick it up and eat it in squares if you want to - although as you can see from the photo, eating it with a fork and a side of ice cream works too! I have tried to use store-cupboard ingredients in this so that it is easy to whip up at a moment’s notice. I did use buttermilk because I like the flavour it gives the cake, but ordinary milk will work just fine if it is all you have on hand. Similarly, don’t worry if you don’t have crystallised ginger, just add a bit more of the ground ginger.
We really like nuts in our family so I used a whole cup in this recipe, but if you are not as enamoured of them as we are, just use 3/4 of a cup instead. I normally dust this cake with icing sugar, but there is no reason you could not frost it if you wanted to. In fact, I think a cream cheese icing might be a very nice idea. (Although it is not true to the original ethos of a snackin‘ cake, I won’t tell if you don’t!)
The whole idea of snackin’ cake was that you could make and bake it quickly, and possibly even eat it warm, but do let it cool a little before you try to cut it up or it will fall to pieces. And if you are eating it warm, don’t bother with the icing sugar as it will just dissolve into the warm cake. (And yes, warm with ice cream is very, very good!)
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 generous teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon crystallised ginger, very finely chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts (or other chopped nuts)
1 cup grated carrot
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sunflower oil (mild olive oil, corn or canola oil works too)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
Measure the flours, sugar, baking powder, ginger, crystallised ginger, carrots and walnuts into a large bowl and stir to mix.
Beat the egg, oil, buttermilk and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir thoroughly until well blended. Don’t beat the mixture though or the cake will be tough. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured (or lined) nine inch square pan.
Bake at about 350℉ or 170℃ for 25 to 30 minutes or until a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle comes out clean (ie. with no batter clinging to it).
Allow to cool a bit before slicing. This cake keeps quite well, and tastes really lovely the day after it is made too - if you can wait that long :)