Every Monday afternoon, a brown parcel wrapped with string arrives on our doorstep. The contents of which are a concoction of colours, flavours and perfectly misshapen objects. Knobbly carrots with the roots still attached to them are doubled in size by the amount of greenery on top. Sweet plums that when a bite is taken into them, the sticky juice runs down the palm of your hand. Squashes that are covered in bumps and unintentional beautiful patterns.
The element of surprise that comes with unpacking the box means it is a labour less task. It becomes a task that leads to ideas for salad, soups and sweets being concocted in my head.
As a child, the mere suggestion of a vegetable based cake appalled me. If the cake wasn’t centred around rich sickly chocolate there was no point in its existence. As the years have passed, I have slowly become accustomed to the idea. On seeing the dusty orange vegetable still coated in soil, a carrot cake was created.
Of all the cakes to grace bakery windows, coffee shop counters and afternoon tea cake stands, carrot cake is one of the moistest and versatile. Carrot cake divides fans, some believe it must not be laced with nuts. I, on the other hand pack mine full of walnuts and pecans, with not a single piece of devil’s fruit in sight. Either way, when your fork glides into the cake, your fork is left with crumbling moist sponge and sweet cream cheese infused with maple syrup that melts on your tongue.
The joy of a fruit and vegetable box means that cakes are created season by season using the freshest and ripest of produce.
The Recipe (Adapted from Fiona Cairns – Bake and Decorate)
You will need:
- 175ml sunflower oil 60g walnuts, chopped
- 200g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp. bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 3 eggs
- 250g carrot, grated
- 1 orange, zested
- 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 80g unsalted butter
- 60g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 150g cream cheese
- Handful of walnuts, chopped
- Zest of 1 orange
1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 23cm baking tin with baking paper.
2. In a bowl, place the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix together.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time.
4. Fold in the carrot, orange zest, walnuts and coconut.
Then, add the flour mixture. Mix together and pour into the tin.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
To test it’s cooked, insert a skewer and if no mixture is attached when the skewer is removed, it’s cooked!
Whilst the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting.
6. In a bowl, beat together the butter and icing sugar. Add the maple syrup.
7. Beat the cream cheese and add to the butter until the mixture is combined.
8. Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool.
9. Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake once cooled.
10. Top with the remaining walnuts and zest of the orange.
Serve, tuck in and enjoy! xxx