Saturday, 24 November 2007

SHF 37: the beta-carotene harvest

I was really excited at the idea of the theme for Sugar High Friday #37 from Leslie at Definitely Not Martha. With Thanksgiving in mind, she chose ‘the beta-carotene harvest’ which encompasses a whole range of nutritious and interesting items. Despite my initial strong urge to avoid ‘boring’ carrot cake and pumpkin pie, time constraints and a more recent interest in going back to basics led me to Delia Smith’s Ultimate Carrot Cake. If it's good enough for Delia then it's certainly good enough for me.

I usually make carrot cake as a traybake for feeding people at meetings/parties etc, but this is a bit more special, and hopefully the syrup, toasted pecans, and yummy mascarpone/fromage frais topping lifts it into a new category. Much more of a dessert rather than a teatime cake. And dessert it shall be! No pics of a nice slice I’m afraid because we’re off to Eris and Ian’s for dinner tonight and this baby will be desert :)

Delia's Ultimate Carrot Cake

200g wholemeal self raising flour
1tbsp mixed spice
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
175g dark brown soft sugar
2 large eggs
150ml sunflower oil
grated zest of 1 orange
200g coarsely grated carrots
110g sultanas
50g dessicated coconut
50g pecan nuts, plus another 50g to finish

Syrup glaze:
Juice of 1 small orange
1tbsp lemon juice
75g dark brown soft sugar

250g mascarpone
200g fromage frais
1 rounded tbsp golden caster sugar
1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

Toast the nuts on a baking sheet at 200C for a few minutes (KEEP AN EYE ON first batch got burnt and went straight in the bin!). Chop half roughly for the cake mixture and the other more finely, for the topping. Turn the oven down to 170C for the cake.

Whisk the sugar, eggs and oil together in a bowl with an electric hand whisk for 2-3 minutes, then check that there is no sugar left undissolved..Sift the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda into the bowl, tipping in the bits of bran left in the sieve, then stir all this in gently followed by the remaining cake ingredients.
Divide the batter evenly between two 8in greased and base lined tins and bake the cakes on the centre shelf of the oven for about 30 minutes until nicely risen, firm and springy to the touch when lightly pressed in the centre, and showing signs of shrinking away from the sides of the tin.
For the topping, whisk all the ingredients together until light and fluffy. Then cover with clingfilm and chill for 1-2 hours, until you are ready to ice the cakes. To make the syrup glaze, whisk together the fruit juices and sugar in another bowl and then, when the cakes come out of the oven, stab them all over with a skewer and quickly spoon the syrup evenly over the hot cakes.
Leave them to one side to cool in their tins, during which time the syrup will be absorbed. When the cakes are completely cold, remove them from the tins, spread one-third of the filling over one of the cakes, place the other on top, then cover the top and sides with the remaining icing.. Scatter the remaining toasted pecan nuts over the top.


Manoute said...

YUMMY ! I think you should make one for the next knitting group in Newburgh (15/12) because looking at the pictures of the delicious things you are making is very frustrating... :0))))

Ann said...

Syrup...? Marscapone...? Casn it get any better?! :-)

Ann at Redacted Recipes

Renaissance Creatrix said...

Hi Louise,

I'm a fellow SHFer...loved your cake recipe..couple questions for you since I can't see how to email you directly:
1) loved your croatia pix, where is IMGP1402- we were in dubrovnik, slovenia, serbia, zagreb, split and montenegro earlier this year. I'll post here (click croatia from the sets at right):

#2 knitting, here is a page you will love love love- it's pretty much private but I thought I'd share with you and your community:

A PR thing I worked on a few years back...that's boat rope she's knitting with for the heart's cozies...

Happy crafting of delectables and wearables!