BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Rainy Day Baking

56 Comments

Propelled out of bed by the light of a new day, it’s the sunshine that pushes me to my feet and sends them racing down the stairs, seemingly of their own power.  No matter how little sleep occurred that previous night, hardly a minute past sunrise will elapse before I bolt awake, feeling the intense urge to start whittling down my lengthy to-do list.  Morning without sunshine are like rhubarb without sugar; bitter and disappointing.

It’s not unheard of for me to sleep right up until noon if the sun fails to show, as if I forgot to set my internal alarm clock. Cloudiness goes hand in hand with mental fogginess, so it’s always safest to avoid heavy intellectual lifting on such occasions. However, there is one reason why I still have a soft spot for the otherwise unlovable rainy days of summer- That warm, humid air that is otherwise my eternal foe (at least as far as keeping anything less than a frizzy afro goes) creates the perfect environment for raising yeast. Thus, rainy days have become synonymous with yeast bread for me.

With a rainy stretch predicted recently, there seemed like no better time than to pour through my files of bread ideas and pick out something new. Feeling a little bit short on desserts lately, I leaned towards the sweeter side of the kitchen, and turned a classic spring cake into a sturdy but tender yeasted loaf. Speckled with walnuts, raisins, and of course orange flecks of carrot, this new take on carrot cake is certainly a mouthful, but it’s not at all hard to swallow. One might even feel slightly virtuous selecting a slice or two for breakfast, since you’re getting a nice serving of carrot, right?

Since no good carrot cake is ever plated without that signature cream cheese frosting, I could hardly leave my bread without the same. Instead of smearing it on the outside, however, a lightly sweetened “cream cheese” swirl spirals around the center, making for a more portable, clean-cut version of the original as well.

Toasted lightly to crisp up the edges and make the swirl slightly gooey, it may just provide sunshine enough to get me out of bed early on the next rainy set of days.

Yeasted Carrot Cake Bread

Carrot Cake Dough:

1 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
2/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
2 1/4 Teaspoons (1/4-Ounce Package) Active Dry Yeast
4 – 6 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
3 Cups Shredded Carrot
1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 Cup Raisins
1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds, Ground
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

“Cream Cheese” Filling:

1 8-Ounce Package Vegan “Cream Cheese”
1/3 Cup Cornstarch
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Starting with the dough, begin by warming your “milk” of choices for just a minute or two in the microwave, until it reaches between 105 – 115°F. No more, or else you’ll kill the yeast. Stir in the brown sugar, and sprinkle in the yeast and let sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes bubbly and alive.

Meanwhile, combine the first 4 cups of flour, spices, raisins, walnuts, carrots, ground flax, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix lightly just to distribute all of the ingredients evenly and coat the carrot shreds with flour. Pour in the proofed yeast mixture, along with the oil and vanilla, and start mixing on a low speed, so as not to kick any flour out of the bowl. Once incorporated, switch over to the dough hook, add in 1 more cup of flour, and allow the mixer to begin kneading the dough.

After about 5 minutes of mixing, assess the texture; You’re looking for it to be tacky and elastic, not wet or sticky. You may need to add up to another cup of flour, depending on the consistency. Continue working the dough with the dough hook for 5 – 10 more minutes. Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and kneed by hand briefly, for just 5 minutes or so, before placing it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover loosely with a cloth or piece of plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in volume.

Once risen, lightly grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans, and set aside.

Gently punch down the dough with your knuckles, cut it into two pieces, and on a well-floured surface, take one piece and roll it out into a rectangle. Be sure to keep the two short sides no longer than 8 inches so that it will fit in the pan, but roll it out lengthwise as far as possible- The longer the dough, the more impressive your spiral will be in the finished loaf.

To make the “cream cheese” swirl, simply beat together the “cream cheese,” cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Take half of the mixture and smear it evenly over your rolled out dough, leaving about an inch of one short end clear. You may want to spread a slightly thinner layer near the other edges, to prevent it from dripping out when you move the dough. Starting with the short end that’s fully covered, roll the dough up as tightly as possible without squeezing out the filling. Pinch the end to the main body of the loaf to seal, and quickly but carefully transfer the whole thing to one of your waiting loaf pans, ends slightly folded under and seam-side down. Repeat with the other piece of dough.

Let the breads rise for another hour or so, until about doubled or just peeking out above the edge of the pans, and then pop it them a 375 degree preheated oven, for about 26 – 36 minutes. It should be golden brown on top, and when removed from the pan, it will sound hollow when tapped. (Yes, you can cool it, tap it, and then toss it back in the oven if it doesn’t sound right.)

Let cool completely before slicing.

Makes 2 Loaves

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

56 thoughts on “Rainy Day Baking

  1. I am the same! If it’s dark outside, I’ll feel groggy and it’s hard to get up and strat functioning.
    That bread looks stunning! Amazing how the chhese filling holds its shape. To bad I don’t have access to vegan cream cheese.

  2. That looks lovely. Your kitchen must be delightful on cloudy days!

  3. This loaf looks delicious! I love the swirl!

  4. This looks absolutely beautiful, bookmarked! x

  5. OMG OMG OMG whats amazing bread ♥ Soooooo apetising ♥♥♥
    Yummy yummy

  6. What a pretty bread. I love the rolled look. Are rainy humid days really good for yeast bread making? I didn’t know that.

  7. That bread is beautiful! It would definitely get me out of bed on a rainy day. :)

  8. Fabulous. I cannot wait to make this! I also love your positive take on an otherwise grim rainy day. I may need to adopt your baking-on-a-rainy day tradition :)

  9. This looks amazing!!! I love carrot cakes and this is a show stopper!!!

  10. I won’t be so presumptuous as to ask if you got the idea of a cream cheese swirled carrot cake loaf from my April leftovers entry, hehe… :D but this looks even better than mine!

  11. That is very interesting about the yeast and rainy days, and something that I did not know. It also explains why my bowl of sourdough has overflowed whilst I have been out this afternoon.

  12. Waw!! A carrot cake with swirls of cream cheese in it,..how creative you are!!

    This is fabulous food!

    MMMMMMMMMMM,…lovely presented too!

  13. Great idea! Carrot cake is one of my favorites – and the icing is key. I wish I had central air so I could bake a loaf right now…

  14. I never thought about the fact that humidity makes for better yeast rising conditions. Definitely the perfect thing to do on a rainy day, either way.

    This bread looks delicious. And I would definitely be having a piece for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And feeling highly virtuous about it.

  15. Wow, that looks gorgeous!! I love making yeast breads. I’ll have to give this a try.

  16. What a fun bread! I love it. I baked bread this week as well. We are still having bread baking weather around here.

  17. How clever! What an attractive bread, and very tasty sounding too!

  18. The slices of that bread are absolutely gorgeous! It looks sooo delicious! What a wonderful motivation to wake up on those overcast days haha!

  19. Oh dear heavens! I’ve never baked with yeast before nor really felt any inclination to, but this is so glorious and pretty! Also, your evocative helps-through-the-miserable-weather writing renders such a recipe even more appealing, as we’ve just moved into Winter here Down Under. Sigh…

  20. This looks awesome! I imagine it’s fairly easy to swap in some pumpkin and make it a pumpkin roll for the holidays! :)

  21. This looks and sounds ah-mazing, Hannah! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more perfect swirl bread.

  22. this is just fab..I am sending this to my mom she loves carrot cake, but a roll with cream chesse, she’ll flip

    sweetlife

  23. this is lovely. it’s been raining most every day here in S. Louisiana and I think this is the perfect thing to make tomorrow.

  24. Carrot cake in a bread? You just made my day!

  25. what a great idea, i love that it has a filling too! looks delicious.

    Rose

  26. Oh goodness, that cream cheeze swirl inside looks to die for–what a beautiful and utterly delicious recipe!

  27. Looks great! Plan on maiin git for my Friday Food Load before my Lake Placid marathon this weekend! DO you think it would freeze well? Or would the Tofutti filling get all watery?

  28. Rainy day baking conjures up memories of making oatmeal raisin cookies with my Mom. It’s pretty much the only nice thing about crappy weather.

  29. *making it

    Sorry!

  30. Yep, can’t have the carrot cake without cream cheese frosting. Can’t think of anything more comforting than baking this on a rainy day.

  31. Very interesting! I am going to have to try this. Love the swirl!

  32. What a fantastic idea! The swirl of cream cheese looks so great in the bread. I have to try this!

  33. So, I am really weird & actually prefer cloudy days to sunny… I’ve always been that way, ever since I can remember! I just love how cozy cloudy/rainy days feel. Don’t get me wrong – I love sunny days, too, especially in the summer – but nothing beats a good rainy/cloudy/foggy day in my eyes. :)

    Aaaanyway, this bread looks absolutely amazingly delicious! I am definitely making it!

  34. Hannah…this loaf is absolutely beautiful…love the cream cheese swirl…so creative….again, beautiful pictures!

  35. this sounds heavenly good! now if only i had carrots at home!

  36. Looks so good. This is truly a thing of beauty. You did an amazing job here.

  37. How creative to put the cream cheese on the inside, instead of the outside! It is a lovely bread,and the photos are great.

    Kathleen

  38. This is stunning. That glorious sweep of cream cheeze filling is so dramatic and elegant, just beautiful.

    I hate cloudy days, too, although here in Saudi they are almost a welcome treat, a short respite from the constant harsh sunshine. I can’t wait till a rainy day to make this bread, but I’m sure it will taste just as delicious in the heat of the summer. Thank you!

  39. Gorgeous bread. Looks soooo good!

  40. Look at that amazing swirl!

  41. Genius!! I can’t wait to make this!

  42. Gorgeous bread–and I love that the “frosting” is in the middle! This actually makes me wish I baked yeast breads. ;)

  43. great idea! i love when people twist recipes like this :)

  44. I never thought I’d see bread look so beautiful!

  45. I have never had a yeasted carrot bread so this is really inspiring. Oh, and I am a fan of anything with “cream cheese”!

  46. Made this today – totally yummy. I actually left out the flax seeds, substituted craisins for the raisins, and added about 3 tablespoons of sour cream to the cream cheese swirl. Fantastic! Thanks for a great idea!

  47. A great interpretation of carrot cake, and not too sweet! How fun!

  48. Oh wow Hannah totally in love with this! I’ve seen quick breads with cream cheese fillings but never a yeast bread. So yummy!

  49. I like the sound of a yeast carrot bread!

  50. i made this bread today, and while it tasted AMAZING.. the cream cheese got sort of absorbed into the bread and i could hardly see the swirls once i cut into them. i think my cream cheese mixture was too runny.. perhaps i should have added more cornstarch? how’d you get yours to keep its shape instead of oozing out? i’ve noticed tofutti cream cheese tends to get a little runny once it’s been creamed. anyway, if you have any suggestions, that’d be fantastic. thanks again for the recipe, it tastes incredible!

  51. OMG this looks soooo fantastic! I absolutely love the swirl!!

  52. YES! This is seriously amazing!

  53. Oh – I love that bread! and I love the snow falling on your page… [SMILE] – hAPPY hOLLIDAYS!

  54. Pingback: 100 Bread Recipes - Roxana's Home Baking

  55. Just made this tonight – YUM! Wow. Great idea. I’m burning my tongue trying to eat it right now because it’s fresh out of the oven and so yummy!

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