I started out trying to develop a smooth, dessert-like carrot cake, but this recipe ended up being such a well-balanced quick bread — I decided to keep it that way. Utilizing a freeze-dried carrot powder and honey, this versatile bread can be coaxed into being savory or sweet. Top it with a little powdered sugar, or some honey butter — and it's a great tea bread. Add some sweet cream cheese and crushed walnuts, and it's a dessert bread. Schmear on some savory cream cheese with onions and chives, and it turns into a unique dinner bread! If you want to read a little more about the pale ale used in this recipe, check out the "additional notes" text at the very bottom of this page!
Hello, I'm Curtis — The photographer and recipe developer behind
Digital Food Works. I'm based in Central Florida and enjoy working with
businesses that make things to eat &
Preheat oven to 325°F and grease a loaf pan with shortening (or a little vegetable oil and flour).
Mix the Dry Ingredients
Mix the flour, carrot powder, cinnamon, and baking powder in a medium bowl, and set aside.
Blend the Wet Ingredients
Add the eggs, vegetable oil, and honey into another bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until slighty white and foamy (about 90 seconds). (Note, we're not really going for a meringue here. You'll probably never get whole eggs and honey to turn into anything with a firm body, unless heat is used. This recipe uses baking powder as a levening agent.)
Add the pale ale, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the wet mix — and beat on low until just combined (about 15 seconds). It's worth noting... a flat beer or ale will probably work best here. You may want to "stir" out the head before adding it to this mix.
Combine the Drys and Wets
With the mixer set to low, gradually add the dry mixture. Beat until just combined (no more than 60 seconds). We're doing this slowly and in gradual steps so that dry ingredients don't fly all over the place.
Pour and Bake
Pour the mix in to the greased loaf pan and bake on 325 for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the bread cool in the pan (10 minutes) and then flip onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Finish and Serve
If you're going to use this as a tea cake/bread, dust the top with powered sugar, cut, and serve! If you're going for something that's more dessert-like, refrigerate the bread/cake and then top with a sweet cream cheese frosting! As a savory option, the bread can also be served at room temperature and served with a little savory cream cheese, onion, and chive spread.
Yes, there is beer in the recipe! There's not any active yeast in a hop-forward IPA like an India Pale Ale (which is what I'd recommend using for this quick bread), so I'm using it purely for flavor and not to do any leavening. Brewer's yeast (the kind used in making wine and beer), is an inactive yeast.
Flavor-wise, beer and carrots do have some brewing history together though. You'll find that some Belgium ales use malted sunflower and carrot herbs in the brewing process.
Even though there are other bold flavors in this recipe, like cinnamon and lemon juice — they are used in somewhat small quantities, and don't really pull this bread into the "dessert" category.