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Friday, 9 August 2013

Delia's Ultimate Carrot Cake

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I have recently returned from a two week holiday in Tunisia and I did have all intention of posting while I was away, however I only managed one post and I don't consider it my finest work.  Tunisia was great, the sites I saw and the activities I did where all brilliant, the food however, was nothing special.  I have decided to scrap my ideas of writing foodie articles about various Tunisian dishes and instead concentrate on one post about the various exports of Tunisia - that post comes soon, first is this one.

Carrot cake was never a favourite, I would eat it, but it would never be my first choice of cake.  I was always put off by the idea of having something I consider savoury in something else I consider sweet.  Carrots, beetroot, squash and all those other vegetables that people make in to sweet cakes never really appealed to me.  However over the years I have become more accustomed to the spicy flavour of this cake and eating some with a nice cup of coffee is something I enjoy.

This recipe comes from the queen of cooking herself, Delia Smith, and is taken from her recently republished book 'Delia's Cakes'.  Titled 'The Ultimate Carrot Cake' I knew I had to give it a try.  Made with wholemeal self-raising flour, something I had to go out and buy, is unique to me.  I was tempted to use plain and add baking powder but I decided to follow her recipe otherwise I could not blame it if it didn't work.  

A tip I once read said you should always peel the carrots before grating - not peeling would not effect the taste of the cake but will result in a darker sponge.  Delia says to peel - I peeled.  I used my machines to make this cake - food processor to grate the carrot (Yes I am lazy) and mixer to combine it all.  Delia would just throw it all in a bowl and mix, as you should know by now, I like my gadgets.  

So, here is Delia's carrot cake, ultimate or not, its a very nice recipe!

Ultimate Carrot Cake
by Delia Smith

For the cake
175g dark brown soft sugar
2 large eggs
150ml oil (I used corn)
200g wholemeal self-raising flour
3 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp bicarb of soda
200g carrots, peeled and grated
grated zest of 1 small orange
110g sultanas
50g desiccated coconut
50g toasted pecan nuts, chopped

For the cinnamon icing
500g mascarpone cheese (2 x 250g tubs)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp caster sugar

For the glaze
75g dark brown soft sugar
juice of zested orange
1 tbsp lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 170C (150C fan oven).  Grease and line two 8inch (20cm) tins.

Place the sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle and beat for 3 minutes on medium until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is airy.

Sieve the flour, bicarb and spice in to the mixture.  Mix together on medium for 1 minute.

Chop the pecans, zest the orange.


Add the reminding ingredients - carrot, sultanas, coconut, pecans and orange zest.  Mix until combined, don't over do it.

Divide between the two tins and smooth over.  Bake for 30-40 minutes ( mine took 40 mins) until the middle springs back when pressed.  You should get a very even bake, not peaks with this mix.


To make the syrup, mix together the sugar and juices.  I heated carefully to just warm the mix - don't boil - no steam!!  

When the cake is out the oven, stab the top with a knife and pour the syrup over the hot cake.  Try and cover as much as possible.  Leave to totally cool before removing from the pans.


To make the frosting, mix the mascarpone, sugar and cinnamon together - I used my food processor but you could do it by hand if you like.  

Sandwich together the cakes and use the remaining frosting to cover the sides of the cake.