I don't know anyone who doesn't like carrot cake. Even those people who profess to hate carrots or would not dream of eating a vegetable, enjoy it. I think, secretly, we all love the obligatory cream cheese frosting.
The following recipe is the Sainted Delia's Low Fat Moist Carrot Cake. There is something faintly toe-curling about the word "moist" (like "flange", "clematis", and "toilet"), but it is an apt description of this cake's springy, mouth-pleasing texture. It's called "low-fat" because the fat content is sunflower oil rather than butter, but of course the cream cheese icing bumps up the calories. But hey, you only have to have a small piece, don't you? I use Nigella's recipe for the cream cheese frosting as it yields more and carrot cake absolutely must have a thick, luscious layer of icing; that is a huge part of its appeal, after all!
When I made the cake earlier today, I was puzzled, as I spooned the mixture into the baking tray, why is was so stiff, and why there was so little of it. I turned back to the opposite worktop and saw the grated carrots, still in the bowl of the food processor. Doh!
Delia's Low Fat Moist Carrot Cake
6oz/175g soft brown sugar
4 fl oz/125ml sunflower oil
7 oz/200g self-raising flour (wholemeal if you're feeling extra virtuous)
1½ level tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 rounded tsp mixed spice
grated zest of 1 orange
7 oz/200g grated carrots
6 oz sultanas (optional)
6 0z walnuts (optional)
Cream cheese frosting
250g icing sugar, sifted
125g cream cheese (Philadelphia or similar)
A couple of tsps of lime juice
Oven 170C, Gas mark 3
Whisk the eggs with the sugar and sunflower oil. Sift the flour with the bicarb and mixed spice and pour into the egg mixture. Then stir in the orange zest, carrots, sultanas and/or walnuts (if using). Spoon the mixture into an oiled baking pan (16 x 25.5 cm, lined with baking parchment) and bake for about 30 mins, or until the top of the cake is springy to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.
I make the icing in the Kitchenaid, using the paddle attachment. When the cake is cool, spread the icing thickly over the top and dust with cinnamon.