Whether having a slice to celebrate a holiday or as a breakfast treat that goes great with your coffee, carrot cake is a super versatile and tasty baked good. However, texture can make or break it. A dry, crumbly version can be enough to turn you off of this delicious spiced dessert for good. While it's logical to assume that something called "cake flour" should be used in cakes, this is one time you'll want to skip using it.
For an incredibly moist and dense carrot cake, use all-purpose flour instead. Cake flour is a finely milled, low-protein flour that's been milled from soft wheat. This light and airy flour makes baked goods of the same texture which is why it's the flour of choice for many bakers when making fluffy cakes. However, the tastiest carrot cakes have a dense and moist texture that needs the higher protein content of all-purpose flour. Flour with more protein yields a higher gluten content, resulting in a more stable and dense dessert.
Different Types Of Flour And Their Uses
Cake flour makes airy pastries with a tender, smaller crumb. The finely milled flour, which often comes in a box instead of a bag, has about 9% protein content compared to all-purpose flour's 13%. It's also typically bleached which further reduces its protein and gluten development. Such delicate, soft flour is perfect for desserts like chocolate and vanilla birthday cakes, angel food, and even fluffy waffles.
However, while cake flour is great for super light and airy baked goods, it's not strong enough for more dense, moist desserts with fruits or veggies like carrot cake. All-purpose flour, on the other hand, is perfect for making sturdier and less crumbly pastries. This type of flour lives up to its name — it can be used for basically any baked goods recipe.
All-purpose flour works for making bread due to its higher gluten formation. However, for thick and chewy breads like artisan breads and bagels, go with bread flour. This type has an even higher protein content (around 14%) and gluten formation than all-purpose flour, making it perfect for making yeasted bread like sourdough, pizza dough, and pretzels.
Another Way To Achieve Perfect Carrot Cake Texture
While choosing the best flour is important for creating perfectly soft, moist, and dense carrot cake, there is another way to ensure you achieve the ideal moist texture. You may have noticed that your recipe doesn't call for any butter. This may seem strange since butter is usually a staple for cakes and baked goods recipes, but using oil instead of butter will make your dessert super moist and increase its shelf life in your fridge.
Cakes are often made with butter because it tastes better than oil. However, the flavor from the spices, shredded carrot, and nuts in carrot cake overpowers any trace of butter flavor. Vegetable oil is also ideal for cakes that need to be refrigerated like those that contain cream cheese frosting. While baked goods made with butter tend to stiffen in the refrigerator and should be brought to room temperature before being eaten, oil-based desserts maintain their texture and are ready to be eaten right out of the fridge.
Thankfully, carrot cake tastes delicious cold or at room temperature, another feature that makes it such a versatile, reliable, and super tasty treat for all occasions.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.