Kitchen Garden Cook
Melanie Johnson elevates the humble carrot cake
Sponge 100g sultanas
Juice and zest of 1 blood orange, plus 3 more to serve
3 free-range eggs
100g light-brown sugar
125ml vegetable oil
30ml runny honey Half a teaspoon ground ginger
Half a teaspoon ground cinnamon
250g self-raising flour
200g carrots, grated
85g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
50g unsalted butter
100g cream cheese
300g icing sugar
Preheat your oven to 180˚C/350˚f/gas mark 4 and grease a 9in spring-form tin, placing a circle of baking parchment in the base.
Gently heat the sultanas in a small pan with the juice from one of the blood oranges until it lightly bubbles, then remove it from the heat and set it aside for the fruit to soak up the juice.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a large bowl, then add the oil and mix thoroughly. Add the honey and spices and mix again, before pouring in the sultanas and any remaining juice from the pan.
Sift the self-raising flour into the wet ingredients and fold through until just combined. Stir in the grated carrot, orange zest and chopped hazelnuts, then pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the top of the sponge is lightly browned. Remove the cake from the tin and cool it on a wire rack.
To prepare the icing, mix the ingredients together in a large bowl using an electric whisk. Use a low setting at first, to avoid a cloud of icing sugar, building up to a faster speed and mixing until smooth.
Slice the top off the cake to create an even surface and cover with icing. Serve each slice with a few segments of blood orange.
This is carrot cake, but not as you know it–the delicious, blood-orange soaked sultanas add such flavour to the already moist sponge, elevating the humble carrot to something rather special