Sunday, 10 August 2014

Naked Carrot Cake

This carrot cake has been a favourite with my family and friends for almost 25 years. I first made it when I worked for the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) near Machynlleth in Powys. As Assistant Manager in the Wholefood Vegetarian Cafe I tended to concentrate on the cakes and puddings leaving others to create the spicy soups and colourful salads!

Other cakes on the counter included Lemon and Poppy Seed, Apricot Slices and a Chocolate Molasses Cake. I still have a little booklet, printed on pink recycled paper, sold by the Quarry Shop which has some wholesome recipes of baked goods they sold there back in the 90's - there's even a Q&A section on sugar and its substitutes, as hot a topic then as it is now.

A few years later I batch made carrot cakes for the Sandwich Shop my parents owned in Aberdovey. Over the summer months it was hard to keep up with the demand as hungry holidaymakers stocked up with lunchtime snacks to take back to the golden sandy beach. Here's my tried and tested recipe......apologies for the imperial measurements!

Carrot & Coconut Cake 
6 oz grated carrots
2 eggs
4 oz brown sugar (dark or light muscovado)
3 fl oz sunflower oil
4 oz SR flour
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 oz raisins
2 oz dessicated coconut

Preheat oven to 180 degrees
Break eggs into a bowl with the sugar
Whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk
Whisk in the oil - the mixture should thicken slightly
Add in all the rest of the ingredients
The mixture will be quite 'wet'
Cook in individual muffin or cupcake cases or in a loaf tin
Small cakes will take 25 - 30 mins
A loaf tin size will take 50 - 60 mins 
Serve naked or decorate with your favourite icing

There are plenty of variations on carrot cake and, in the interest of cake research, I'm always keen to see what differences there are. The most recent one I've come across is Yotam Ottolenghi's version which has whisked egg whites added at the end. What I'm not too keen on is masses of icing - so much sometimes that the sweetness of the frosting dominates the subtle flavours. Dave and I were in a quite well known cafe chain in London recently and I ordered a carrot cake, pictured below. Even for me, and I have quite a sweet tooth, there was far too much icing. 

By the time I'd scraped off the excess icing there wasn't much cake left

I'm quite happy to have, and serve, my carrot cake naked - if you know what I mean!


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