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Carrot and walnut cake

25 OCTOBER 2013
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An adaptation of Ottolenghi’s recipe, this is a light, moist and sublime cake with a rich, citrus icing and crunchy caramelised walnuts.

Serves: 8
Prep time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 55-60 minutes


Ingredients

For the cake
275g (10oz) Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup cane sugar
200ml (7floz) sunflower oil
1 large egg
1 large yolk
150g (5oz) carrots, peeled & coarsely grated to yield 125g (4½oz)
60g (2½oz) walnuts, roughly chopped
40g (1½oz) desiccated coconut
zest of ½ medium orange
165g (5½oz) plain flour
½ rounded tsp baking powder
½ rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 level tsp cinnamon
2 large egg whites
pinch of salt

For the caramelised walnuts
20g (¾oz) unsalted butter
40g (1½oz) Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup cane sugar
75g (3oz) walnut halves

For the icing
225g (8oz) full-fat cream cheese
95g (3½oz) unsalted butter, softened
95g (3½oz) Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup cane sugar
zest of ½ medium orange
2 tsp orange juice
3 tsp lemon juice

You will also need a 20cm (8”) springform cake tin, greased and the base lined with parchment paper, plus a piece to cover the cake and some for the caramelised walnuts.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Fan150°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3. Pour the oil into the bowl of an electric mixer, add the cane sugar and beat briefly until combined on a medium speed. Reduce the speed down to low, add the egg and the yolk, followed by the carrots, walnuts, coconut and orange zest.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon, add to the mixing bowl and briefly mix in just enough to combine, scraping down the sides. Tip into a large bowl, then wash up the mixer bowl, ensuring it is completely dry and clean. Add the whites and salt and whisk until firm peaks form. Using a large metal spoon, carefully and lightly fold in 1 spoonful of the egg white into the cake mixture to loosen it then add the rest.

3. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 55-65 minutes until golden and risen and a fine skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Cover the cake with the parchment paper after 40 minutes to stop it from overbrowning – no sooner or the paper will stick to the top. Leave the cake to cool completely in its tin then turn out onto a wire rack and peel off the paper. Cut in half.

4. Make the caramelised nuts by melting the butter in a medium-sized non-stick frying pan over a low heat. Add the cane sugar and stir with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute or until dissolved. Increase the heat to moderate, stop stirring, and cook for about 3 minutes, frequently shaking the pan, until the mixture makes a light coloured caramel. Add the walnuts, stir and tip on to the parchment paper. Separate the nuts and leave to cool and harden.

5. Next, make the icing by beating half the cream cheese, all the butter, cane sugar, orange zest, and orange and lemon juice together in a bowl until smooth. Add the rest of the cream cheese and beat again until light and fluffy. Sandwich the cakes together with a little of the icing, then cover the top and sides of the cake with the rest and decorate with the walnuts. Lift onto a plate and serve.

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