This recipe from The Fearless Baker, by Emily Luchetti and Lisa Weiss (Little, Brown 2011) makes a sweet, moist loaf — one that can almost pass for dessert. Carrots can vary in the amount of moisture they hold. Mine were particularly juicy, so I had to bake on the longer side. You can test the interior with a skewer or toothpick. When the end comes out dry or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, then the loaf's done.
Makes 1 loaf, about 12 slices
8 medium carrots
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, completely softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup whole milk mixed with 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or butter.
Peel and slice 3 of the carrots into 1/4-inch rounds. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the carrots and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Drain. Let cool, and then puree in the food processor or blender. Coarsely grate the remaining 5 carrots (you should have 2 cups). Set both the pureed carrots and grated carrots aside.
Put the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment paper or into a bowl. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon (or any other stiff spoon) to mix the butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs one at a time until combined. Stir in the buttermilk, carrot puree and grated carrots. Add the flour mixture and mix until well-blended.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake until a bamboo skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes. Let the bread cool for 15 minutes.
To remove, run a small knife around the bread to loosen it from the pan, and then turn it out onto a cutting board or plate. Cool completely. Cut into slices. The bread will keep at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, for 4 days or frozen for 2 months.