- Romans used white and purple carrots. By the 14th century in Europe, a variety of colored carrots were being grown including purple, red, yellow, and white, but not orange. Orange carrots didn't exist until the 16th century, where patriotic Dutch people bred them in honor of the royal House of Orange. Since the 1990s, because of the hype surrounding antioxidant properties of anthocyanins in purple carrots, they are being grown on a more industrial scale
- Colored Carrots include Red Carrots, Yellow Carrots, White Carrots, Belgium White Carrots, Purple Carrots, Maroon Carrots
- Origin and cultivation: original carrot was probably purple and was cultivated over 5,000 years ago
- Availability: summer at farmers markets and some supermarkets
- Appearance: white carrots lack pigment; purple (also called maroon) carrots get their color from anthocyanin pigments; yellow carrots get their color from xanthophylls, a carotenoid; red carrots get their color from lycopene, a carotenoid, along with the same pigments in orange carrots which are beta-carotene and alpha carotene
- Flavor: like carrots, the colors contribute little flavor
For the carrot cake:
1 1/2 cup of shredded purple carrots
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of ground dry ginger
1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of pine nuts
1 cup of vegetable oil
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of flour to dust the pan
For the icing:
4 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
1 cup of powdered sugar
Toast the pine nuts in a toaster or a small pan for a minute or two until the aroma is enhanced.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Use the tablespoon of butter to coat the inside of a 9X9 cake pan, then dust with flour.
Take the shredded carrots and put in a microwave safe bowl. Add a tablespoon of water, cover and microwave for 1 minute to steam them and extract some of the color. Let cool.
Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and a dash of salt.
In another, and bigger, mixing bowl, use the electric mixer whisk to mix the sugar and eggs for 20 seconds. Next, while still running the electric mixer at a reasonably high speed, drizzle in the vegetable oil, very slowly at first. You are creating an emulsion so take your time to make sure the oil combines with the egg and sugar mixture before you speed up adding more oil.
Once the oil is incorporated, add the flour, carrots, raisins and pine nuts to the bowl. Using a rubber spatula, stir everything by hand until combined.
Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
Put the cake pan on a wire rack and cool for a couple of hours before starting on the icing.
Make the icing by using an electric mixer to whip the butter, mascarpone and powdered sugar together until it lightens up and starts looking like icing, probably after about 1 minute.
Put the icing on the cooled cake.