Monday, 22 October 2012

Flo: Carrot Cake Cut Outs

This recipe was adapted from Ottilenghi (see his carrot cake here) based on what I had in the house. The substitution of hazelnuts instead of pecans worked surprisingly well and the addition of hazelnut oil gives an extra toasted nuttiness.

My main post is on presentation since I ended going about this in a somewhat unusual way. Our mum can't eat dairy so I often make dairy-free desserts but for me, carrot cake just isn't the same without a big dollop of cream cheese icing. Not wanting to taint the whole cake for my mum, I ended up cutting out 3 mini cakes with a cookie cutter, each one big enough to share between two, and leaving her the off cuts. I think they looked rather sweet and would make a good low key birthday token to a friend, allowing you to keep the remainder!

The Ottilenghi recipe folds whipped egg whites into the mix, making a deliciously light cake. If you are more of a dense carrot cake fan (I like both) then this is not for you. That said, it may just convert you...

Ingredients (for 20cm cake tin)

  • 60g self raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves in a proportion of 2:1:1)
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 180ml flavourless oil (sunflower of light olive oil)
  • 1 1/2 tbs hazel nut oil (or more flavourless oil if you don't have it)
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 50g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 50g ground almond
  • 135g carrot, roughly grated
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • a pinch of salt

  • Icing
  • 175g cream cheese,
  • at room temperature
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbs juice of a lemon
  • 60g icing sugar
  • 25g honey

1 Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
2 Sift together the flour, baking powder and spice.
3 Lightly whisk the whole egg with the egg yolk.
4 Put the sunflower oil and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment and beat for about a minute on a medium speed. On a low speed, slowly add the beaten egg. Mix in the hazelnut, almond and carrot and then the sifted dry ingredients. Don’t over mix.
5. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Wash and dry the mixer bowl, making sure it is totally clean, then put the egg whites and salt in, it and whisk on a high speed until firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the carrot mixture in 3 additions, being careful not to over mix. Streaks of white in the mixture are okay.
6 Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour; it could take longer. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out dry. If the cake starts getting dark before the centre is cooked through, cover it with foil. Let the cake cool completely and then remove from the tin.
7 To make the icing, beat the butter, icing sugar, honey and lemon juice in the mixer until light and airy. Add the  cream cheese  and mix until light and smooth.

1 When the cake has cooled completely, get your cookie cutter and cut a circle all the way through the cake, making sure you have worked it out so that you can fit in the most circles possible. 
2 Carefully cut each circle in half horizontally with a sharp bread knife or serrated knife. Put a nice amount of icing in between the two and stick back together. 
3 Ice the top and decorate with your choice of decorations. I bought mine from the Cake Craft Shop online.