Jay kept on calling my “gingerbread” “carrot cake” over the last few weeks, so I took the hint and started trying to perfect a carrot cake recipe.
The first few attempts did not go down with the kids as firstly they contained walnuts (“I always have hated walnuts” was the response, but in our household it is more of a case that if I can see it then I cannot/must not like it) and then I found them a bit too dry. So walnuts removed and buttermilk added, I have come up with a carrot cake recipe that passes muster – moist and tasty. You can always add the walnuts back in again should you so wish; I would suggest 115g / 4oz / 1 cup of chopped walnuts.
The kids got to the icing and topped it with a vast amount of sprinkles which they loved eating as much as the cake itself. Overall, it is not a bad way to claim you have eaten one of your 5 -a-day.
For the cake:
175g / 6oz / ¾ cup unsalted butter
175g / 6oz / ¾ cup light muscovado sugar
3 egg yolks at room temperature and gently whisked
3 egg whites at room temperature
30ml / 2 tbsp sunflower oil or buttermilk
175g / 6oz / 1½ cups organic self-raising flour
5ml /1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt, finely ground
¾ tsp organic cinnamon powder
½ tsp organic ground nutmeg
50g / 2oz / ½ cup ground almonds
225g / 8 oz / 1½ cups freshly grated carrot
For the icing:
Set the oven to 160C / 325F. Line a large loaf tin with baking parchment (dimensions: 12 x 19cm; 4½ x 7½ inches).
Sieve the self-raising flour, salt, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder and baking powder together into a large mixing bowl. Separate the egg yolks and whites; mix the egg yolks together gently with a fork or a whisk and set the egg whites aside.
Cut the butter into small pieces and put into a mixing bowl, then add in the soft brown sugar. Cream together the butter and soft brown sugar. Add the egg yolks and the buttermilk or oil and whisk until thoroughly mixed in.
Add the self-raising flour together with the other dry ingredients and the ground almonds; mix it all up with a silicone spatula or hand whisk.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then add this and the grated carrots to the cake batter and fold in fully.
Scoop the carrot cake batter into the prepared loaf tin.
Put into the centre of the warmed oven and bake for about 70 minutes. As the hour comes up, start checking the carrot cake by gently pressing the top in the centre to feel whether it feels springy and spongy rather than liquidy; when done a skewer should come out without any dampness on it.
Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then turn out of loaf tin, remove the baking paper and allow to cool on a wire rack.
When cool, it is time to start preparing the mascarpone ice cream. To make the cream cheese icing, put all the icing ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix together thoroughly. Spread this over the top of the carrot cake and decorate with sprinkles or walnuts or other nuts for that matter.
Enjoy with tea or a coffee, or indulge yourself and enjoy as is and without the excuse of a beverage.