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Extra Starter/Discard Day: Make Sourdough Carrot-Pineapple Rye Cake--Without Baking Powder or Bakin

Today's sourdough offering is a carrot cake with umpf. No mamby-pamby carrot cake with cream cheese icing. This one has heft and a lot of rich taste without the need for loads of cream cheese, butter, and sugar. I use a rye-based starter for the cake and add additional rye flour to the batter, which gives the cake a deeper, darker flavor. Plenty of crushed pineapple, grated carrots, coconut, walnuts, and raisins make the cake almost like a fruit cake only much, much better. The cake has the tang of sourdough, plus the amplifying sweet/tart taste of pineapple. The carrots also add sweetness and moisture. A light hand with cinnamon and nutmeg ensures that the sweet spice flavors are present but don't overwhelm the other ingredients. The recipe makes two loaf cakes--one to eat and one to share or save--and is quite easy.

The only thing to keep in mind is that making the cake takes time. The recipe for the sourdough cake uses sourdough starter/discard and no baking powder or baking soda. That means you'll need to rely on the wild yeast in the sourdough starter/discard to leaven your cake. That leavening can be a slow process. I suggest mixing up the first part of the cake the day or night before you plan to bake the cake (the day/night you need to feed your starter is the ideal time, because you'll have discard). The next morning, add the remainder of the cake ingredients and then set your cake aside to let it rise. The cake should be ready to bake by the evening (depending on your room temperature). I confess that I didn't let the carrot cakes I made for the photos you'll see below rise enough. I had other things I'd just taken from the oven during the afternoon and didn't want to turn it off and reheat it a few hours later. So I baked the partially risen carrot cakes (they were still bubbling away, which actually was kind of cool to watch). The cakes didn't rise as high as I'd like, looked a little craigy, and were a bit denser than the norm but were quite good anyway. My husband, who isn't a big cake eater, had two pieces. And yes, if you must, you can frost the cakes with cream cheese icing. I like the cakes better, though, with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Or just plain with coffee or tea.

Sourdough Carrot-Pineapple Rye Cake

Sourdough Carrot-Pineapple Rye Cake -- Makes 2 Loaves

1 cup of sourdough starter/discard (preferably rye, but any will do)

1/2 cup of water

1/2 cup of rye flour

1/2 cup of all purpose flour

In a large bowl, mix together the starter/discard and the water until blended. Stir in the rye flour and the all purpose flour until combined. Cover the bowl loosely and let it sit overnight (or for 8-12 hours). The next morning (or hours later) add:

1/2 cup of canola oil

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of crushed pineapple (undrained)

1 cup of grated/ground carrots (use the s-blade of your food processor)

1/2 cup of chopped or broken walnuts

1/2 cup of shredded coconut

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of all-purpose flour

Add all the ingredients listed above to the sponge you made the night (or hours) before and mix the batter well. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray or line the pans with foil and coat the foil with spray. Divide the batter between the pans and cover the pans loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with a little non-stick cooking spray on the side you will place downward over the batter. Set the batter aside for 10-12 hours or until the batter rises by 1/3 - 1/2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the cakes for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached (not batter). Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 15 minutes before removing them to cool completely. Serve the cakes dusted with powdered sugar, frosted with cream cheese icing, or plain. A scoop of low fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt alongside a slice would not go amiss, particularly if you virtuously declined to frost the cakes with cream cheese icing. Virtue should be rewarded? No?

Sourdough Carrot-Pineapple Rye Cake--Without Baking Powder or Baking Soda

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