Scrumptious Carrot Cake
220g coconut sugar
220g self-raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ground ginger
Half tsp ground cloves
Half tsp grated nutmeg
Pinch of vanilla powder
Pinch of sea salt
300g grated carrots
100g pecan nuts
Beat the butter and the coconut sugar together (this is much easier to do when the butter is at room temperature!)
Mix in the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously so the mixture does not separate. (You'll need strong arms for this!)
Sift in the flour, followed by the ground spices (the smell of the cloves is amazing when you grind them in the pestle and mortar!) and the sea salt.
Peel and grate the carrots and add to the mixture along with the raisins and the nuts, broken up into small pieces.
Finally, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Bake in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes at 170 degrees celsius.
The use of the coconut sugar for this recipe is essential as it produces a caramel-like flavour which is incomparable to that which you get from regular refined white cane sugar.
Some recipes for carrot cake suggest the addition of apple sauce. This is a welcome suggestion for those who are looking for places to secrete the excess bottles of apple sauce they have made during the autumn! ("Ehm, is this apple sauce on my pizza?") It tends to make the cake a little less dense and a little more spongey.
As to nuts, walnuts are just as nice as pecans, so use whichever you have. As to spices, don't worry if you don't have them all - it will still work well with just the cloves and the cinnamon.
If you wish to put cream frosting on the cake, (this usually makes people very happy indeed!), just mix together a 200ml tub of creme fraiche, 50g butter at room temperature and a sprinkling of icing sugar to taste. I find it doesn't need much icing sugar, as the cake is sweet enough and the sourness of the frosting provides a good contrast.
Decorating the Cake
The spring and summer time are a cake decorator's paradise as there is such an abundance of wild edible flowers which you can pick to grace your cake. In the photos accompanying this recipe, I made a garland on one side of the cake using purple pansies, yellow primroses, white daisies, sprigs of green fennel and baby nasturtium leaves.
The petals which I scattered over the whole cake are from the orange calendula flower and the common yellow dandelion flower ('common' not intended in a pejorative sense!!!) It's amazing how you can attract the label of 'genius' by virtue of the simple act of assembling some flowers on a cake! but there you go! But be sure you know what you are picking if you do go wild with your decoration!!!
If you want to make a vegan version of the cake, use 120ml sunflower oil instead of butter and leave out the eggs and the cream frosting. I know that it works without the eggs because I completely forgot to add them in one evening when I was making it in a hurry (I know, couldn't believe it myself!) and it still tasted delicious. It just tasted a bit more like an old fashioned Victorian pressed fruit and spice cake.
Ingredients from The Good Crop Company:
Coconut Sugar (cool video with this product)
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