This wonderful cake has been making the rounds here in London - I have been bringing it to every festivity imaginable from baby showers to cake sales and birthday parties... and people keep asking for the recipe, so here it is, the wait is finally over.
Carrot cake is a big thing here in the UK. It's sold in every cafe, every corner store, every petrol station, every sandwich shop... it's probably the most common sweet fix your average Londoner enjoys. Possibly because you might be cajoled into thinking that it's healthy - although the reality is that by the time you've cut through the thick, hard icing that's on top of your run-with-the-mill variety, you've consumed a week's worth of your RDA of sugar. But if you thought that practice makes perfect, you'd be surprised how many carrot cakes sold out there are actually almost inedible (in my humble view) - it's really hard to find a good one and after many disappointing buys, I have simply stopped trying.
In Austria, carrot cake is almost unknown, although I distinctly remember my Mum making one every once in a whilewhen I was growing up (her version involves lots of almonds and she decorates it with chocolate glaze)... but most people shudder at the mere thought of putting vegetables into their cake. It was only because we had so many apples left in the spare fridge from our autumn harvest and I clearly will soon be needing some space for chocolate santas and reindeers and for hiding Christmas presents, and I was bored of apple cakes and tarte tatins that I decided to re-invent the carrot cake. Or at least I think I've re-invented it by lacking any kind of direction of what you actually put in a typical carrot cake... as I said, I am not an expert.
So my carrot cake happens to combine carrots with apples, contains no nuts (as I was making the first one for a cake sale and there's a very strict no-nuts policy at that school) and the icing on the cake is actually not icing, but a cream-cheese and lime frosting. I can't stress how wonderfully moist this cake is, if you're a carrot cake novice, there's no way you can screw this recipe up, so you're safe here. Go on, give it a try. Although it might not fit into a weight-loss programme, it's probably healthier than many cakes out there... and you won't taste the carrots - I promise!
Update 29 Dec 2010:
I have omitted the step of melting the butter, this makes the dough less runny and the cake rises more evenly.
(Thermomix recipe instructions included: TXspeed, time, temperature)
300 g peeled carrots
150 g peeled & cored apples
150 g butter (at room temperature)
100 g soft dark brown sugar
100 g unrefined (golden) caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
180 g flour
For the frosting:
250 g cream cheese
juice and zest of 1 lime
50 g caster sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 150C.
First, grate the apples and carrots.
This is best done in a powerful kitchen gadget - if you are doing it by hand, grate coarsely and squeeze out excess juices before adding to the batter. (TX6, drop onto running blades, as the last piece has fallen in, turn off).
Next, add the butter and sugars and beat until light and fluffy (TX4, 2 min, 38C), scrape down the sides). Add the eggs, beat until fully incorporated. (TX4, 15 sec)
Combine the flour, baking pwder, cinnamon and ginger and blend into the mixture (TX5, 20 sec). Fold in the grated apples and carrots. (TX4, 15 sec)
Butter a springform tin and dust with breadcrumbs.
Pour the batter into the tin, place on the middle shelf in the oven and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
For the frosting, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.
Spread the frosting onto the top and sides of the cake, sprinkling with any remaining zest, if you wish.