Welcome to One-Quarter Acres

Here's a chronicle of life on a plot of land right smack in the suburbs in Minnesota, whose owners would much prefer to be in the middle of nowhere.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Carrot cake from someone who knows carrot cake

I make the best carrot cake ever, no lie. It's even almost healthy, if you pretend that frosting has no calories. I looked long and hard for a carrot cake recipe that met my basic requirements: it must not have pineapple or raisins; it must use oil; it must not contain egg substitutes or anything else to make it "light," since I have my own ideas about that stuff. The result is this recipe, adapted from something I found on Recipe Source and can't find again because there are approximately 500 carrot cake recipes.

My modifications are to use some whole wheat flour, substitute applesauce for half the oil, and substitute flax seed meal and water for two of the eggs. This makes three layers, one 13x9 pan, or 24 cupcakes. I'll bet you could make a good zucchini cake if you use that instead of the carrots. I leave out the nuts these days, since I have a little dude who isn't quite at the nut-eating stage yet.

The 501st recipe for carrot cake on the Internet
2 c. flour (I use half whole wheat and half white)
2 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/2 t. allspice
2 eggs
2 T. flax seed meal
6 T. water
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. applesauce
3/4 c. oil
3 c. grated carrots
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 t. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside. 
  2. Mix sugar, eggs, flax seed meal, water, vanilla, applesauce, and oil. 
  3. Gently mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients. 
  4. Fold in carrots. 
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven in a greased 13x9 pan for about 40 minutes (timing will obviously vary if you use a different sort of format), or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center. Cool completely.
  6. For frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy. Frost cake and enjoy!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The last canning

427This goes down as the last thing I canned this season, though I may pull out my jars at some point during the winter to make some orange marmalade. We have here some Italian prune plums, purchased at the grocery store and hailing from who-knows-where, canned in honey syrup. The recipe comes from Food in Jars.

I bought about 8 pounds of those plums just 'cause they looked awesome and I have somehow obtained a huge quantity of honey from various places. It's one of those things I like to pick up as a souvenir, and then my mom stealthily provided me with a giant jar of it from her friend's neighbor's hives. I didn't notice it until I had bought another big container of honey at the farmer's market. Oh, well. It keeps. I remind myself that they find edible honey in Egyptian tombs. The stuff in my cupboard is fine. Might as well buy more.

I have no idea what I'll do with these lovely plums, though Smitten Kitchen has a contender.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


037 My Pickl-It jars have allowed me to make non-moldy sauerkraut. Hooray! I used the basic recipe for kraut from the Pickl-It website for one jar, and the other is a beet/cabbage/onion concoction that I found here. I didn't add whey, since the Pickl-It people says it's not needed for this kind of fermentation.

The verdict? The sauerkraut tastes like sauerkraut! The beet stuff is so darn sour it brings tears to my eyes and makes me cough, but the flavor is nice otherwise. Since my favorite way to eat sauerkraut is cooked in the crockpot with pork, onions, bacon, apples, and caraway, it's not practical to use this sauerkraut for that. It took several weeks to get it to this point, and cooking would pretty much make all that nice probiotic stuff obsolete.


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