Carrot Cake

Right, got a few Riverford carrots in the fridge so what better way to use them, than in a cake! March and April seem the time to bake Carrot Cake. My first stop on the journey is Felicity Cloake’s article on How to cook perfect carrot cake. The blog featured at Guardian is always a winner, dwelling into the history and techniques of a particular recipe.

Reading the comments on the website, I came across a link to Ottolenghi’s Carrot Cake recipe added by www.beeapproved.com. This cake appealed to me the most thanks to the addition of coconut and its lack of sultanas/rasins, which I love by the way, but really DON’T love in a Carrot Cake.

Ingredients

For the cake:
– 160g plain flour
– 50g desiccated coconut
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
– 50g walnuts, chopped
– 200 ml sunflower oil**
– 270g caster sugar
– 1 egg + 1 yolk
– 135g carrots (about 2-3 medium carrots), roughly grated
– 2 egg whites + 1 pinch of salt

[For the Ottolenghi icing:
– 175g cream cheese, at room temperature
– 70g unsalted butter, lightly softened
– 35g icing sugar
– 25g honey]

I used BBC Food mascarpone icing instead:

  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 250g/8¾oz mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
  • 250g/8¾oz icing sugar

For decoration (optional):
– 30g walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped

METHOD
For the cake:
– mix dry ingredients together: flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, baking soda, spices and walnuts.
– in a separate bowl, beat oil with sugar until sugar is dissolved a bit (about 1 minute), then add the egg and egg yolk. Mix well, then add grated carrot.
– add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and as for muffins, don’t over-mix!
– wipe the bowl that contained the dry ingredients and beat egg whites with salt in it, until firm peaks form.
– incorporate delicately egg whites to carrot mixture, making sure not to over-mix (streaks of white in the mixture are okay, says the book)
– bake the cake in a lined-up 20cm cake tin for about 1 hour at 170°C: a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. If the cake gets darker before it’s cooked, cover it with foil. Let the cake cool completely (before you ice it). Remove from the tin.

To make the icing, mix the butter, vanilla and mascarpone or cream cheese in a food processor or bowl. Gradually add the icing sugar and mix until smooth and creamy. Do not overmix or the icing may curdle. Spread onto the cake and make patterns in the top.

Carrot Cake: lined tin

Carrot Cake: Marriage's Plain Flour

Cup of Teapigs
a cup of Teapigs while baking

Carrot Cake: Egg yolk

Carrot Cake: dry ingredients

Carrot Cake: Riverfords local carrots

Carrot Cake: whisked sugar, oil and egg

Carrot Cake: the grated carrot

Carrot Cake: those peaks!
Hand whisked egg whites, i’m no Raymond Blanc!

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