A few months ago a planted a packet of carrot seeds in my garden. They germinated beautifully and for months I admired their delicate, feathery leaves and looked forward to the vivid orange roots developing, unseen below.
Yesterday, I dug up my first carrot and, strangely, it was long and slender and white. White? I sniffed and my carrot smelled suspiciously of parsnip. I dug up a couple more, and more parsnips appeared.
I loathe parsnips. Parsnips and swedes are the only two vegetables I assiduously avoid. I can’t believe that I wasted months of valuable vegie-growing real estate on vile, horrible parsnips.
I immediately yanked out the whole lot and fed them to the chooks, who are pretty much ignoring them. Intelligent birds.
Everyone I have spoken to about this sad and sorry event has first, laughed, and then told me about the fabulous parsnip puff or parsnips with ginger recipe that they are sure will convert me to loving parsnips.
It won’t. No recipe can.
Anyhow, here is a carrot cake recipe that I was planning to share using home-grown carrots but that now comes courtesy of Foodland’s produce section.
Found in Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Ministry of Food, this wholemeal version of carrot cake uses spices beautifully and is elegantly simple, undefiled by sultanas or crushed pineapple or nuts.
Because I can get gorgeous local olive oil, I used that instead of sunflower oil, and I increased the amount of icing sugar in the icing to 1 1/2 cups, but this is essentially Jane’s recipe. I also scattered some chopped food swap walnuts on top but the cake is perfectly beautiful without them.
- 4 eggs
- 150g (5½ oz) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 300ml (10½ fl oz) olive oil
- 300g wholemeal self-raising flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 350g (12oz) carrots, peeled and finely grated
- 200g cream cheese
- 60g (2oz) softened unsalted butter
- 1½ cups sifted icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Chopped walnuts for decorating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan-forced.
- Grease a 23cm springform cake tin and line the base with paper.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs, sugar and syrup until mixture is pale and thick.
- Add the oil and whisk until well combined.
- Combine flour, salt, spices and bicarbonate of soda and sift into egg mixture. Tip the bran bits left in the sieve into the mixture and stir it all together with a wooden spoon.
- Stir in the grated carrot.
- Pour mixture into tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. (I find this takes about an hour in my oven.)
- Cool on a wire rack before decorating.
- Beat all icing ingredients using an electric mixer until smooth, then spread over cake.
- Decorate with chopped walnuts, if desired.