My ancestors are natives of Kerala, a state in India often called, “God’s own country”. Kerala is located on the Malabar Coast of south-west India. Many words come to mind when I think about Kerala – beaches, forests, waterfalls, backwaters, houseboats, paddy fields, fish, coconuts, pineapples, cashew nuts, jackfruit, mangoes, bananas, festivals, grandparents, and Amma and Papa. Tucked away in my heart are numerous delightful memories of family vacations in Kerala. My parents grew up in Kerala and later moved further north to Pune, where I was born.
Today, I am sharing with you a recipe for fresh coconut-carrot cake, as an ode to Kerala. The carrots help to keep the cake moist. Other ingredients include pineapple, walnuts, cinnamon, and cream cheese. I have not tasted a better coconut-carrot cake, if I do say so myself. The combination of flavors and textures is absolutely scrumptious!
For the Fresh Coconut-carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1 ¾ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ½ cups freshly grated coconut
1 cup finely chopped canned pineapple, drained
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
2 cups grated carrot
Grease and flour a 13”x 9” baking pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs. Add oil, buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Add flour mixture, coconut, pineapple, walnuts and carrot. Mix on low speed for one minute. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 55-60 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
¼ lb butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
In a large bowl of an electric mixer add butter, cream cheese, and beat until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, and mix on low speed until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Frost cake and decorate with walnuts. Refrigerate until the frosting sets.