Carrot cake. The cookbooks are awash with them. The internet recipe sites are awash with them too. Every baker, chef and home cook seems to either have a recipe for them or have one that has been passed down through the generations. To be honest there’s not much to choose between them, but I have an issue with the majority; oil. Nearly every carrot cake recipe I have ever come across seems to use an inordinate amount of vegetable oil. It makes my toes curl, not because of my eating disorder, just because I actually can’t stand the idea.
I’ve tried some of these recipes and they vary in success. Some of have been an absolute flop, turning out as a mass of oily gunk that’s fit only for a well bagged place at the bottom of the bin. Of those that have fared better they still either have that unmistakable back taste of oil or leave that oily residue on the plate or at the bottom of the fairy cake paper. Again, it makes me uneasy. Yes, my disorder does come into play these days, but it really isn’t all about that. It’s just not right for a cake!
So I set about coming up with a recipe of my own, something that would definitely be a carrot cake, that wasn’t just a carrot sponge and that had something else, something unique about it. I’m not going to lie, this has taken me a lot of time, a lot of failures and a lot of patience. However, I am happy (actually, delighted) to have finally come up with a recipe I’m proud of. It DOES have oil in but only a very small amount! Feedback has been brilliant and I’m happy to share it with people now. How you finish the cake is entirely up to you, as is the choice of whether to bake it as a cake or as cupcake/fairy cakes. It works equally well as either. I have found though that topping it with a lovely chocolate ganache, 2/3 to a 1/3 in favour of dark chocolate to cream, compliments it superbly.
So, here it is. Please do have a go and let me know what you think. I’m more proud of this one than any of my other recipes to date.
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons bicarb of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
250g caster sugar
4 eggs (medium)
1 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
500g carrots (grated)
100g dessicated coconut
zest of an orange
juice of 1 orange
50g walnuts (chopped)
For the ganache
200g dark chocolate
150g double cream
Pre-heat oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees C/350 degrees F
Grease & line a 23cm springform baking tin (square or round)
In a large bowl beat the eggs & sugar together until pale and thick. Next, add the oil & apple sauce and mix well.
Now add the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, orange zest, sultanas & walnuts and mix thoroughly.
Add the orange juice and beat through so it’s all well mixed. Finally, add the carrot and fold in well.
Pour the mixture into the cake tin and pop into the oven. Bake for an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Let it rest on the side for 15 minutes and then take out of the tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the ganache, melt the chocolate in a bowl in a microwave. Just do this by blasting it for 30 seconds at a time a stirring until it’s all melted. Add the cream to the chocolate and whisk it until it’s all combined and thick. Cover evenly over the top of the cake, smooth some down the sides if you like too. Leave on the side to set, or even pop into the fridge for 30-45 minutes.
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.