FOOD by R.J Oldfield
Winds in the East? Mist coming in? It must be Autumn.
For me, nothing marks the changing of the seasons quite like the smell of chai spice. I’m taking a much-loved classic and mixing in the warming flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and star anise to create my autumnal carrot cake. You’ll be pleased to know that this recipe does not call for any refined sugar, instead, I opt for granulated Stevia and a small amount of dried fruit to sweeten. Even the frosting is a simple cream cheese and lemon zest mix.
| Ingredients |
For the cake:
250ml coconut oil, melted (or oil of choice)
4 large eggs
30g granulated stevia (50g if you prefer it a little sweeter)
200g carrots, grated
300g self-raising flour
2tsp baking powder
1 large lemon, zested
2 star anise, ground
6 cloves, ground
1 tbsp cinnamon, ground
1 tsp nutmeg, ground
2 tsp cardamom, ground
1 tbsp loose leaf black tea of choice
OR 1 tea bag (I’m using Earl Grey)
Pinch of salt
For the frosting:
Juice of 1 large lemon
Zest of 1 large lemon
200g cream cheese
100g candied peel or sugared ginger
| Method |
Preheat oven to gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm deep traybake tin with a small amount coconut oil (I wipe this round the tray) and then line with unbleached baking parchment.
Grind cloves and star anise in a pestle & mortar, until fine. Set this aside for later.
Peel carrots and roughly grate, by hand or in the food processor. Once grated, squeeze out the excess moisture and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Mix in the currants and the zest of one lemon (if you would prefer, you can use orange).
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, a dash of salt (I use Pink Himalayan), all of your ground spices and the loose leaf black tea. Mix well.
Heat coconut oil slightly in a pan, until melted. Add this, the granulated stevia, and eggs into a measuring jug. Whisk until well combined and thickened. Pour into a food mixer with the carrots and currants. Mix until combined then add in the dry ingredients and mix again briefly.
Transfer the entire mixture into the baking tray and smooth with a silicone spatula until evenly distributed. Bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown. Check after 30 minutes. To ensure the cake is fully cooked, use a cake tester to skewer the center. If the skewer comes out clean then the cake is ready. It should have risen slightly and come away from the sides of the tin.
Whilst baking, prepare the frosting. Mix the juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon with the cream cheese. Whisk slightly for a whipped texture. You can use orange juice/zest if you prefer. I don’t add any sweetener to my mix but you could add 1 tsp rice malt syrup to taste. NB: Rice malt syrup contains absolutely no sucrose or fructose and stevia is an unrefined plant-based sweetener.
Place the cream cheese mixture into the fridge to chill.
Once ready, remove cake and leave to cool in the tray for 10 – 15 minutes. Once cooled, slice into 8 – 10 rectangles and transfer to a wire rack or platter. Spoon on as much cream cheese as you like and then decorate with candied peel or ginger (or both!).
Serve with a light dusting of cinnamon around the plate.