The kids had been nagging me for days about doing some baking with them, so buoyed up by the effects of a very strong cup of coffee this morning I decided to have a go at carrot cake. Having done the “cooking with kids” thing many times before I lined up all the ingredients before summoning the children from the trampoline so as to avoid getting too flustered in the process. Ok sure cooking with kids gets messy but it’s well worth it in my book (my master plan is to have them trained to cook me gourmet meals by the time they’re in their teens!).
This is the recipe we followed, just some minor substitutions – Irish rapeseed (canola) oil instead of butter, and a bit extra sultanas to compensate for only putting in about half the quantity of walnuts (I hadn’t bought enough). I also made a simple lemon icing (lemon juice and unrefined icing sugar) instead of the usual buttery / cream cheese frosting version which I think is too heavy given the richness of the cake.
A slight gripe with the recipe was that the ingredients were all listed by weight which meant lots of fiddling around with scales and more dishes to wash – I much prefer the American and Australian cups system (although apparently that’s not an exact science either) so I’ll probably use a different recipe next time.
Anyway a sink full of dishes and an egg-splattered countertop later… the overall result was good – moist and light. Unfortunately as I used a virgin variety of rapeseed oil it had a bit of an overpowering taste which wasn’t great, so think I’ll use a lighter oil like Sunflower or Grapeseed next time. On the plus side the chopped sultanas were delish and made it extra fruity.
Interested to hear if anyone has any other carrot cake tips?
Other carrot-related oddments…
For a brief history of carrot cake check out the Carrot Museum which is full of carrot-related nuggets and vintage recipes. Who knew that carrot cake or pudding recipes go back to medieval times, as naturally-sweet carrots were a substitute for more costly sweeteners?
For an alternative take on carrot-based deserts you should try Indian Halwah which is almost unbearably sweet but rather delicious.