In the school holidays, it’s always nice to have a homemade cake around for children and drop-in visitors. This is actually a good one for kids to help make and, as it’s moist texture comes from sweet grated carrots, it’s almost one of your five a day! Unlike American carrot cake, this is made with butter rather than oil and has a thin drizzle of citrus icing rather than a thick covering of sweetened cream cheese frosting. I like both versions but this one is a little less sickly.
- 285g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
- a pinch of salt
- 3 eggs at room temperature, beaten
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
- 225g unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
- 225g carrots, grated
- The zest and juice of an orange
- The juice of a lime
- 2 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon of pistachio nuts, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 170°C.
- Grease a 900g loaf tin and line the base with baking parchment.
- In a separate bowl, grate the carrots and stir in the zest of the orange and half of the juice.
- Sift the flour, bicarb, salt, cinnamon and ginger together in a large mixing bowl.
- Melt the butter in a small pan and allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the vanilla and eggs.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, add the butter and egg mixture and stir thoroughly before adding and incorporating the carrots. Turn into the prepared loaf tin – once you’ve added the wet and dry ingredients together the bicarb will activate and the cake mixture needs to be cooked immediately.
- Bake in the centre of the oven on the middle shelf. Set the alarm for an hour and check to see if it’s cooked. The top should spring back when you press it lightly with your fingertip. Ovens vary so pop it back in for another 10 minutes or so if it’s not ready. Be careful not to overbake it as that will dry it out.
- When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and set it on a wire rack in the tin to cool for 10 minutes before you turn it out.
- Once the cake is completely cool you can ice it.
- Put the icing sugar into a small bowl and stir in the fresh lime juice. Add drops of the remaining fresh orange juice until you have drizzling-quality icing.
- Drizzle the icing sugar evenly over the cake with a spoon. Scatter over the chopped pistachios. Delicious with a cuppa.
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Having made a few Carrot Cakes during my time working in the USA, I really like your idea of a citrus icing and the pistachio nuts to make the cake less calories but still tasty.