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 :)
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
50g dessicated coconut
50g pecan nuts, plus another 50g to finish
Juice of 1 small orange
1tbsp lemon juice
75g dark brown soft sugar
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 THEM...my 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.
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.