The famous Kerala Carrot and Dates cake is irresistible. It is ideally a Christmas cake, is super moist, slightly chewy because of the carrots, and has a darker color because of the dates. It’s one of my favorite festive cake, and I make it any time of the year.
I made this Kerala carrot and dates cake at 4 AM :). Check out the tips to get a flat cake below:
Another quick and easy dessert you can make is the no-bake brownie balls | rum balls | brownie truffles. (doesn’t rum make all the dessert taste fantastic. I am not a fan of alcohol in any other way 🙂 ) Since we are talking about rum, Kerala plum cake, is another great thing to try. (Here the plums soaked in rum are used).
Rum and date cake from scratch is very popular too.
‘Don’t be surprised if you hear the sound of the stand mixer at 4 in the morning’, I told Agnel the night before, to which he calmly asked ‘why, what are you planning to do?’. ‘I am going to bake a cake,’ I said. He very casually said, ‘Ok.’ He has known me for almost ten years now and so not in his wildest dreams could ever imagine that I could wake up that early.
Waking up early was one thing I could never do before coming to Dubai. Even 7.00 a.m seemed a little too soon to me :), although staying awake till late in the night was much more manageable.
It’s going to be a year in Dubai, and one thing I found dreading in the initial months was sending Nivaan to school. Here schools start early. My Son has to leave the house by 6.30, and you know what that means. Sleeping early and waking up early, which was both very difficult.
Having said that, I always wanted to wake up early, especially since I started blogging because I was falling short of time. Now with a baby and a 6-year old, I finally get time to work and have figured out that early in the morning is the best time for distraction-free writing and baking.
Seriously! With a baby around, I never thought that was possible for a few more years.
Hopefully, like the dates and carrot cake, all my baking will take place in the early morning hours.
Halloween is over, Thanksgiving will be over soon, and then we will be into the Christmas season.
Oh! I am already missing Orlando.
The aroma of cinnamon, trick or treat, pumpkins, Halloween decorations, fall colors, winter boots, turkey, Christmas decorations, the non-stop Christmas carols, the stores packed with Christmas stuff are few of the things that are making me nostalgic.
A Christmas Cake Recipe
Lifting my Christmas spirits, I am sending your way this excellent Christmas cake recipe. The cake is slightly chewy because of the carrots, almost blackish because of the caramel and dates and a perfect celebration cake.
Your friends, family, and coworkers will love it.
I first had this cake from a bakery in Kerala, India. It was so irresistible that I almost ate the whole thing. Ever since I have wanted to recreate this cake, and it has finally happened.
So let the countdown to Christmas begin…
Make the Christmas cake in three steps:
- Make the caramel (Make the caramel before you start measuring the ingredients for the cake because the caramel has to cool completely.)
- Grate the carrots and chop the dates
- Measure the ingredients and make the batter
How to make caramel?
The dark color of the cake comes from caramel. Making caramel may sound scary but if you follow the simple instructions below, you will have perfect caramel every time.
Step 1: Place 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Keep swirling the pan and once the sugar melts, turn the heat to low. Do not get tempted to increase the heat.
Step 2: Let the color turn into a light amber color. Keep 1/4 cup hot water next to you.
Step 3: After that, you will start seeing bubbles. Immediately add the hot water and mix with a spoon. When you add water it might splatter so be very careful.
Step 4: Transfer into a shallow bottom heatproof bowl and cool completely before using it.
Kerala Dates and Carrot Cake | Step-by-step recipe
Step 1: Add the dry ingredients into a bowl, mix, and keep aside.
Step 2: Add the eggs and sugar to a mixing bowl and mix together until it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise.
Step 3: The consistency will look like this.
Step 4: Add oil and beat well for a couple more minutes.
Step 5: Add the cooled caramel and vanilla extract and mix well.
Step 6: Add the dry ingredients little at a time and mix only until incorporated.
Step 7: Squeeze out the water from the carrots. Mix the carrot and finely chopped dates with a tablespoon of flour and add it to the batter. Fold it in.
Step 8: Finally add the cashews and fold once again.
How to bake a flat cake layer and How to stop a cake from doming?
You can use readymade baking strips. It is available online or at craft stores like Joann’s and Michaels. You can also make cake strips at home. In Dubai, you should be able to find in Tavola or specialty baking stores.
DIY Cake Strips
To make cake strips at home, cut a kitchen cloth(cotton cloth) into a strip, matching the width of your pan. Dip it in water and slightly squeeze the extra water out. Just make sure that the water doesn’t drip.
Wrap this around your cake pan and secure it with a safety pin. This method ensures that the cake bakes evenly, and you are left with a softer exterior and well-done interior. If you are doing this for the first time keep an eye.
The idea of using baking strips also comes handy when you are planning to frost and layer cakes since you have one less task of leveling the cakes.
The famous Kerala Carrot and Dates cake is irresistible. It is ideally a Christmas cake, is super moist, slightly chewy because of the carrots, and has a darker color because of the dates. It's one of my favorite festive cake, and I make it any time of the year.
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) hot water
- 2/3 cup carrots grated
- 2/3 cup dates finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cashews chopped
- 1 and 1/2 cups (180g) All-purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup (160ml) vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup (140g) sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Add sugar to a heavy-bottom pan and place it on medium heat. The sugar will start melting slowly. Do not be tempted to increase the heat.
Let the color turn into a light amber color. Keep 1/4 cup hot water next to you. (It takes only a few seconds for the caramel to change from perfect to burnt, so be careful)
After that, you will start seeing bubbles. Immediately add the hot water and mix with a spoon. When you add water it might splatter so be very careful.
Transfer into a shallow bottom heatproof bowl and cool completely before using it. (Check notes if caramel thickens)
Grate the carrot and keep aside. Finely chop the dates. Chop the cashews if you like.
Preheat the oven to 160 Degrees Celsius/ 325 Degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8*3 inch cake pan with parchment paper, coat with oil and dust with flour.
Whisk together flour + baking soda + salt and keep aside.
In another bowl mix eggs + sugar until you reach the consistency of mayonnaise.
To this, add oil and beat well for additional 2-3 minutes.
Now add the cooled caramel and vanilla and mix well again
Add flour little at a time and mix only until incorporated.
Squeeze the carrots well with both your hands to remove as much water as possible. Add the carrot to dates and mix well. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour over this and coat well. (This is important or the dates and carrots can sink to the bottom.
Add the carrots dates mix and fold it well into the batter.
Pour into the prepared cake pan, place in the center of the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Please refer to the notes before you start baking. Also, if you want to bake a flat cake without a dome, read the blog post.
If the caramel thickens, add about 1/2 cup of warm water to the pan and let it simmer on low heat till the caramel melts.
This cake is baked at lower temperature (Very important) which ensures that the middle of the cake cooks evenly while the outside doesn't burn.
To get a flat cake and for even baking, cut double strips from a kitchen towel (make sure its cotton), dip it in water and squeeze the water just enough that the water doesn't drip. Secure this with a safety pin.
(If you are doing this for the 1st time, keep an eye)
(You also get wilton strips if you don't want to use homemade option)