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Oranges Are The Key To Packing A Bright Punch In Your Next Carrot Cake

carrot cake on pink plate
carrot cake on pink plate - OlgaBombologna/Shutterstock

Carrot cakes can be a hit or a miss as they're often "beefier" and denser when compared to other cakes. The star of the cake is also a vegetable, something we don't often associate with desserts as we do with fruits. However, there's a way to add an often-needed bright punch to your carrot cakes. Just add one of our 15 ingredients to elevate carrot cake, namely oranges, which share the same color as carrots and won't alter the cake's appearance.

Adding orange zest can significantly brighten the flavors of carrot cake and lend a tarty and refreshing punch. Tasting Table recipe developer Catherine Brookes demonstrates this in her orangey carrot cake recipe. "The addition of orange zest also makes the cake stick out, taking it up a notch from a traditional carrot cake," Brookes enthuses. She includes the zest from a whole orange in her carrot cake batter to give her cake a "burst of citrus flavor." For additional orangey flavor, Brookes also adds nearly 1 teaspoon of orange extract into the batter. The result is a delicious carrot cake with a bright punch. The orange zest and extract meld perfectly and complement each other.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

Carrots And Oranges Are Perfect For Each Other

carrot cake slide with nut topping
carrot cake slide with nut topping - Anna Shepulova/Shutterstock

To start adding orange to your next carrot cake, wash an orange and use a microplane or a grater to gather zest from the orange peel. Reserve a small amount of the orange zest for garnishing your fully assembled carrot cake later. Catherine Brookes folds in the orange zest and grated carrots after combining the cake batter's wet and dry ingredients. She also adds orange extract to the batter, but if you don't have orange extract handy, don't fret. You can substitute it with about 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed juice from the orange you used earlier to generate the orange zest.

Once the cake is frosted, garnish it with the orange zest you reserved earlier. You can also garnish the cake with shredded carrots or chopped nuts. As for the carrot cake's frosting, a little orange extract or orange zest can also be added to it to brighten the flavors and add an additional citrusy punch.

Your resulting cake will have flavors that pair beautifully together. Orange and carrots not only share a similar shade of color but also have flavors that complement each other well (whether for cake or juicing). So, the next time you're ready to make a homemade carrot cake, be sure to grab a fresh orange from the fridge.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.