Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Claire Clark's Carrot Cake

This cake can't really be described as bona fide Scandinavian, but then what really is? We now get carrot cake all over the globe and everyone adapts this beloved American tradition to their own tastes and locally available ingredients. I decided to test a recipe from Claire Clark's book 'Indulge: 100 Perfect Desserts' (Absolute Press, 2007) Claire's the head of pastry at celebrated California restaurant The French Laundry and the book is a feast for confection-hungry eyes. Even if you don't care much for cake, have a look at her book, great recipes can be found therein for all manner of sweet things.

Anyway, Easter's come and gone. While most of Britain is seemingly defying the credit crunch by shopping like there's no tomorrow, my Dad and I spent the weekend with simpler, more frugal pursuits in mind. Long walks in the country, endless episodes of 'Seinfeld,' reading a few good books - couldn't have asked for a more relaxed weekend. Having had my 89-year old uncle over for the requisite Easter Sunday luncheon we're still feasting on leftovers of roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, caramelised parsnips and broccoli. Leftover lamb on fresh spelt bread (yes I baked another one) for lunch yesterday was a treat - delicious with some mango chutney, beetroot and German gherkin. Easter pudding consisted of gently poached rhubarb, simmered in fresh blood orange juice and zest, a splash of vanilla and grand marnier, though we managed to demolish this with aplomb on Sunday so no leftover rhubarb pud.

Who said I don't take care of the men in my life ;-)

Anyway, back to the cake. I love the fact that Claire uses wholemeal flour in her recipe, something I'm converting to (as well as gluten-free flour for variation) - the taste of wholemeal is so good anyway, and combined with all that carrot, coconut, vanilla and sugar you won't know the difference. If you're looking for a slightly lighter texture sift the wholemeal to remove some of the bran...the brown sugar gives a hint of sweetness without making the cake cloying, and also keeps it moist for a few days. Will definitely be making this one again.

  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 25g baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 125g desiccated coconut
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 250g muscovado brown sugar (I used light brown as that's what I had...)
  • 185g vegetable oil
  • 500g carrots
  • 125g raisins (soaked for 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (recipe doesn't call for it, but have added it anyway)

Preheat the oven to 180C

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl. Stir in the coconut. 

Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and oil together til the mixture becomes pale and doubles in volume (a large bowl will be needed for this)

Gently fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, and then finally fold in the carrots and raisins.

Bake 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool before icing with cream cheese frosting (see the other carrot cake recipe on this blog for recipe) and sprinkle with coconut and crushed pistachios.


Fiona Beckett said...

gosh, that looks yummy! Have always meant to make carrot cake and somehow never got round to it. That version looks particularly good

Signe said...

Thanks - it's a particularly good recipe this one. Some carrot cakes end up being quite stringy and dry, but this had the right cake consistency and the flavour was really superb. You don't have to use pistachios or coconut to garnish of course, I just happen to have a weakness for those two ingredients (and passionfruit...but that really would be gilding the lily) Sig x

Mark said...

Carrot cake is probably my favourite cake, I love it, and this looks great! Mmm, now I want carrot cake :)

Signe said...

Pleased you like the look of this carrot cake Mark! It's definitely one of my favourites, a close call between carrot and chocolate cake...