Trying to explain carrot cake to a Frenchman.

I’ll hold my hands up now and declare that it’s true.  I wrote at length about carrot cake.  Heck, I even baked a few!  One thing’s for sure, the recipe for this most comforting of cakes has yet to make an appearance on the blog.  “A travesty!”,  I hear you cry.  Yes, I’m aware that it is listed in the recipe drop-down menu.  “What other crimes against cakes have you committed?”, I hear you demand.  Let’s all just get a grip here.  We’re talking about cake.  A good cake, but a cake none-the-less.

Before you start throwing cinnamon in my eyes and prodding me with a wooden spoon, let me just say that the following recipe is one that has taken a long time to perfect and I’m very proud of it.  Don’t go printing it off for any old chap in the street, or one of those friends that you accepted as a friend online, but if you saw them in the street you’d dive into a shop before they saw you.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  This is a recipe that I believe will lead you to a slice of something rather special.  It’s our little secret that we can smugly keep to ourselves while basking in the praise from those lucky enough to eat it.  Okay, okay..give it to whoever you like!  The world needs good cake.

It’ll be September soon and my French father-in-law will be making his way across the water with a suitcase full of saucisson and Cotes Du Rhone.  It was on his last visit that I had to explain what carrot cake was, all the time watching him scrutinise my every facial expression for some grain of dishonesty.  He was convinced I was pulling his leg.  “But you say that the carrot is in the cake?”  He just couldn’t understand how this could be and he was even more surprised when I explained that it was not savoury.  It wasn’t until he sampled a slice, and then a second, and then another that I saw he was convinced, converted and content.  “This is a good one”, he said, “Who could believe that the carrot is inside it? Perfect!” 

My perfect carrot cake

(For the cake)

300g carrots (grated)

250g wholemeal flour

175g Muscovado sugar

175g light brown sugar

175ml vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 tblspoons Greek yoghurt

2 tspoons vanilla extract

2 tspoons cinnamon

1 tspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 tspoon grated nutmeg

1/2 tspoon salt

(For the icing)

200g cream cheese

120g icing sugar

3 tblspoons double cream

2 tspoons cinnamon

zest of 1/2 lemon

Begin by beating the eggs, vanilla, oil and all of the sugar in a medium-sized bowl.  Next, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, bicarbonate of soda and salt to the bowl and give it a good stir.  I usually add the Greek yoghurt next and stir it in.  Finally, stir in all of the grated carrots.

Pour the cake mixture into a 20cm cake tin and bake in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for about an hour and a half.  It’s best to check the cake by sliding a knife into the centre.  You’ll know it’s done when the knife comes out clean.  Leave the cake to cool before trying to remove it from the tin.

For the icing, just give all of the ingredients a whisk and spread over the cooled cake.  You can grate extra lemon zest onto the cake or even add some curls of zest for decoration.  To be honest, this cake rarely lasts long enough to warrant careful decoration!

PS  I usually make this cake in a shallow sandwich tin and use the rest of the cake batter to fill a loaf tin.  I bake them both at the same time, but I put the loaf out of sight and eat it when nobody is looking.  A little carrot cake loaf is so much easier to hide! 


2 thoughts on “Trying to explain carrot cake to a Frenchman.

  1. I’ve built up my own addiction to carrot cake during the last few months having baked several myself, but now I have to try your recipe too, sounds and looks delicious!

  2. I don’t get bored of carrot cake and I sometimes go a bit crazy and make more than anyone would need. It all gets eaten though! Enjoy the recipe and check back soon if you like chocolate cake. I just made a grown up one that I’ll be sharing this weekend. 🙂

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