One of the contestants in this year’s season of The Great British Baking Show is a left below-knee amputee named Marc Elliott. We’re tracking his progress through the season, while sharing favorite recipes from limb-different bakers in the Amplitude community. Marc breezed through Episode 2 (Biscuits) with a strong showing, drawing rare praise from the parsimonious Paul Hollywood for his Showstopper: an edible coffee-and-toast setup made entirely of cookies. Have a look:

This Week’s Recipe: Very Carroty Carrot Cake

Amputee and food influencer Christine Yi

Our entry this week comes from Christine Yi, better known on Instagram as @cy_eats. More than a quarter of a million people follow her gastronomic musings on New York City restaurants, street food, Korean dumplings, and such like. She’s having a busy year in the MSM, with recent appearances in Forbes (sharing her strategies for coping with COVID via food), Adweek (the struggles of Asian restaurants during the pandemic), and the current edition of Women’s Health, where Yi writes about amputation and fitness.

Yi lost her right leg below the knee 17 years ago in an accident on the New York subway. She generally keeps her limb loss on the down-low; you could follow her Instagram feed for months on end without knowing she’s an amputee. It’s not that Yi goes out of her way to avoid the subject; it just rarely comes up because it doesn’t have anything to do with food. Although she’s endured 20 surgeries over the years (most recently in August), she says: “My theory in life is to be thankful for what I have and not think about what I don’t.”

What she has is an abiding passion for food and a gift for sharing it. The original recipe is at Yi’s website. Follow her on Instagram, and find more of her recipes, writings, and gorgeous food photos at cyeats.com.

Ingredients

CAKE:
2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fine sea salt
4 large eggs (room temp)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 stick melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup brown sugar (tightly packed)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrot
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

FROSTING:
1 1/2 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese (strained overnight, then whipped)
5 oz unsalted butter
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Zest of 1/2 orange
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cornstarch
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

CANDIED WALNUT TOPPING:
1 cut walnuts
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Juice from 1/2 orange

Instructions

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees, prepare two 2’9″ baking pans w/ non-stick spray and parchment paper.

2) Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger & salt.

3) In a separate bowl: beat eggs, then add oil, melted butter, sugars, applesauce, yogurt and vanilla. Mix together, scraping down sides. Add coconut and continue mixing, allowing coconut to hydrate. Add grated carrots and mix until everything is well combined.

4) Add flour mixture to liquid mixture and mix until barely combined. Scrape flour down sides into batter. Optional: Mix in chopped walnuts until just interspersed.

5) Fold batter once or twice with spatula to ensure thorough mixing, then pour batter evenly into prepared pans and tap down so cakes bake evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool in refrigerator.

6) Frosting: Using a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip room-temperature butter until aerated and increased in volume. Add whipped ricotta and whisk until combined. Add remainder of frosting ingredients, whip until smooth, scrape sides and bottom of bowl. and give it another mix. Keep bowl of frosting in refrigerator until ready to use.

7) Candied walnuts: Stir walnuts, sugar, salt, and orange juice in large skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until sugar begins to melt into juice and walnuts begin to toast. Lower heat slightly and cook until walnuts are lightly caramelized and fully coated. Spread nuts onto baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper. Let cool.

8) Frost cake while walnuts are cooling, then refrigerate. When walnuts have cooled, chop finely and place around the edges of the cake. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

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