If there is one story about me in Lockdown, it’s that I seem to be baking cakes, tweaking a lot of recipes to get what I want. Well, this is another one of those recipes. You may remember back to April, when I talked about all the mutant carrots we’d unearthed? At the time, I went looking for my carrot cake recipe card. I’d made it several times before - but not recently - and it was a really great cake. Do you think I could find it? It wasn’t in the binder together with the rest of the set. It wasn’t tucked inside any of the recipe books... Thinking back, the last time I remember seeing it was in the old kitchen, pre 2013 makeover, when it was on the top of the bookcase that was tucked in beside the fridge. All I can tell you is that it was for a carrot cake made with oil not butter and had a cream cheese frosting.
I never did find the recipe and, if 2012 was the last time I’d used it, there was no hope that I’d remember the quantities. Eventually, I turned to Google. This recipe from Rachel Allen turned out to be the closest to the one I remember, but the first time I made it, I combined the carrots and sugar in the food processor, turned around to measure out the other ingredients and turned back to find the carrots swimming in water. The sugar either dehydrated the carrots or sucked moisture out of the air! The mixture came out very wet, resulting in a cake that was more like fudge. The next time, I left the sugar until the end and made a rather dry carrot cake. A couple more experiments later, I’m happy with the results, so thought I’d share them with you.
I’ve changed a couple of other things, too. Decreased the oil slightly, since I found the original quantity made the cake greasy. Also, I tend to use sunflower seeds whenever a cake requires nuts. They’re cheaper and I always have some in stock. (I add a tablespoon of sunflower seeds to my breakfast each morning for additional protein.). On the oil front, I use rapeseed oil, which is a) cheap and b) monounsaturated like olive oil. Flour, in this house, is always Atta Flour aka Chapatti flour, which is a strong, light wholemeal, plain flour. This recipe doubles up well or can be used to make carrot cake muffins (at step 5, divide the mixture between 12, lined, muffin pans and bake for 25 minutes at 180C).
Carrot Cake - makes 1
125ml/0.5 cup vegetable oil
300g carrots, cut into chunks
200g soft, dark muscovardo sugar
75g sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts
100g raisins or sultanas
180g plain flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder (or use 180g self raising flour)
1/2 teaspoon sodium bicarbonate
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line a loaf pan with non-stick baking parchment.
- In the food processor, combine the oil, eggs and carrots. Process until the carrot is chopped up small.
- Meanwhile, measure out all your remaining ingredients. (You can put them all into the one bowl, if you want.)
- Add all the other ingredients, in one go, to the food processor and process until combined. You should have a slightly lumpy batter.
- Pour into your lined loaf pan and bake at 180c for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Once cooked, remove from the loaf pan and cool on a cake rack. When cool, you can ice it if you want. (I don’t. I’m not a huge fan of icing.)