So it feels like its been an age since I wrote a blog post and in all honesty life stress has made me uninspired (and almost bald – yes a new blog post will be talking/moaning about this) but at the same time it is what has brought me here………….contradictory? Yes but that’s me to a damn T:-)
A little bit of background on the humble “Carrot Cake” from The History of Carrot Cake (yes this is actually a thing!) , “According to food historians, our modern carrot cake most likely descended from Medieval carrot puddings enjoyed by people in Europe. No one really knows where carrot cake came from, It looks like it did evolve from the Carrot Pudding of medieval times, during the middle ages sugar and other sweeteners were difficult or expensive to come by in Britain and carrots had long been used as sugar substitutes.”
This makes a lot of sense to me as I regularly grate carrots into any tomato based sauce to add natural sweetness. However, in the past I have found this particular cake a challenge and many attempts have resulted in varying degrees of sloppy gungy insides to burnt dry bases, extremely annoying and costly (damn walnuts are expensive – is this why Nestles Walnut Whip has lost its little nutty hat?). Annoyingly it is also a favourite of my eldest, my mum and now my neighbours!
During one of my visits to Gin Lizzy (could a neighbour be more suited to live beside me?) I was given the tip that Hellmans Mayo is the key to the “Best Carrot Cake” (according to a tip provided via Gin Lizzys Chef Hubby – an added bonus to the Gin visits :-))
Well………I love a challenge! Looking at the science as to why this works, Mayonnaise is predominately eggs and oil – both of which are ingredients in carrot cake, so I delved into my cupboards to gather the ingredients, donned my apron and asked the Universe to make it work!
- 300g Homepride plain flour
- 50g ground almonds
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 thumb size piece of fresh ginger (I use my Wee Jaggy Plate to grind it down)
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 300mg Hellamans Mayonnaise
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g light brown sugar (I love Muscavado Sugar for an added fudgy flavour)
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
- 4 large free range eggs (or 5 medium)
- 500g finely grated carrots (I used a food processor as I literally hate grating anything by hand)
- 100g chopped walnuts
- 50g chopped pecans
- 100g sultanas
- zest of one orange
- juice of half an orange
Preheat the oven to 170c (I have a new fancy dancy fan oven so if you are using a conventional oven increase to 180c or gas mark 4). Using sunflower/vegetable oil grease and line two 10″ cake tins.
In your mixer beat together the mayonnaise, eggs, ground almonds, desiccated coconut, vanilla, orange zest & juice, ginger and sugar until well combined and light and airy. This generally takes about 3-5 mins.
While you are waiting, in a seperate bowl sift together the flour, bicarb, spices and salt. Give this a good mix to ensure combined and lump free.
To the wet mixture add the carrots, chopped nuts and sultanas and mix through ensuring you scrape the bottom of the bowl to ensure there are no lumps.
Gradually add the dry sifted ingredients to the wet mix. I done this by hand with a large spatula to retain some of the air. Ensure you scrape the bottom of the bowl to catch any sneaky dry flour pockets.
Transfer evenly into the cake pans and transfer to the over saying a prayer to whoever your chosen god is (mine is Delia Smith).
Check after 25 mins and check every 5 mins until the cakes are done. (they will look golden brown on the top, be springy and pulling away from the sides slightly and when you insert a knife into the middle it will be clean and dry)
Leave to cool in the tins for 15 mins then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Sandwich together with Cream Cheese Frosting/Buttercream (If I’m honest I generally buy the Betty Crocker Cream Cheese Frosting as it is delicious and ZERO faff – albeit I like to add some more orange zest to it for a litle somethin’ somethin’ :-))) and decorate with more frosting, nuts, mini candy carrots or whatever tickles your fancy!