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The Taste of India: Carrot Cake with an Indian Flavor

Vegetarian recipes to warm your palate.

| February/March 1993

Serves 6 to 8

A characteristic sweet of southern India is carrot halvah, a rich, sweet reduction of carrots and spices that is ­almost fudgelike in consistency. This cake falls somewhere between this ­traditional treat and the popular American carrot cake. It has a dense texture and the unexpected flavor of cardamom, yet doesn’t require the ­tedious cooking and stirring of a ­halvah.

Special Indian dishes are often decorated with silver foil—a microscopically thin sheet of edible, flavorless real silver, available in Indian groceries. We have cut edible foil into decorative shapes—a tedious business that must be done in a completely draftless room—but more manageable solid toppings are customary.

Serve this nontraditional ending to your Indian meal with coffee that has been brewed with a few cardamom seeds.

• 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
• 1 cup unbleached white flour plus extra for dusting
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2 large eggs
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 cup softened clarified butter (ghee)
• 1 1/2 cups grated carrots, firmly packed
• 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
• 2 tablespoons chopped blanched almonds
• 2 tablespoons raisins
• Edible silver foil (optional)

Rub a round cake pan that is 9 inches in diameter and 11/2 inches in height with the vegetable oil and then dust it very lightly with flour. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sift 1 cup flour with the baking soda and salt.

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