Anybody can tell you that when you follow a recipe to bake a cake, you better follow the recipe exactly. Otherwise the result may not come out as you like. I have a friend who gets very annoyed with me when I tell her I’ve changed a recipe. Well that’s just the way I am. Cannot leave well enough alone.
I like carrot cake, provided that it is a good carrot cake. That is just the thing. Not all carrot cakes are the same.
People that live by themselves basically have two choices. Either you go out and buy a carrot cake, or you bake it yourself. If you bake it yourself, then you have some control over how it would come out, but how would you know whether it is a good carrot cake recipe?
So this is what I did. In my recipe book there are three carrot cake recipes. Instead of trying them out one-by-one, I decided to make up a new recipe based on these recipes. Predictably, the result was not that good. It tasted nice, but it came out dense and dry.
The mistake I made was to think the oil will make the cake too oily and therefore I replaced some of that with butter. Another issue was the color. It came out pale orange instead of being the rich reddish brown color. It also did not seem to rise enough.
So I modified the recipe again by adding more baking soda and a bit more oil. That did improve the texture of the cake a little, but it was still not a good carrot cake and the color was still not right.
For a long while I did not bake another carrot cake. I took the other option, by just buying it from the supermarket. Their carrot cake used to be very good. But then the quality started to deteriorate. So I decided it is time to try baking my own carrot cake again.
This time a started from scratch by compiling a new recipe. I added enough oil and no butter, and I also reduced the amounts, because my pan is a bit smaller than those other recipes require. It was a unambiguous success! The texture came out moist and spongy. It also had the right color. The taste is excellent!
Sometimes, the experimental route with recipes does work. Now I don’t think I’ll buy the supermarket version again. I can bake a better carrot cake!