This cake is my pride and joy, a recipe that I carefully designed myself after lots of trial and error to taste as much like a slice of sunshine as a cake possibly can. It is the perfect cake to make when people need cheering up, a warming treat for the drearier months of the year.
And, what a gift that citrus season for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere is in the winter; I was so excited to see the Italian blood oranges in my local green grocer’s this year that I brought them a slice of this carrot and orange cake the next day to share the reason for my delight.
So, without any further ado, here’s my original recipe for a beautifully light and spongey-textured, lightly spiced carrot and orange cake. There’s also a vegan version for those who want a dairy and egg-free cake.
– 8 oz (225g) self-raising flour
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 5 oz (140g) light muscovado sugar, sifted
– 4 oz (110g) carrots, peeled and finely grated
– the peel of 2 oranges, finely grated (also the juice of these oranges, squeezed with pips removed)
– 2 eggs
– 5 fl oz (150ml) sunflower oil
– a very generous dash of ginger
– a little dash of cinnamon
– a tiny dash of nutmeg
For the topping:
– 6 oz (170g) cream cheese
– 2 oz (50g) soft margarine or softened room temp. butter
– 4 oz (110g) icing sugar, sifted
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the eggs and sunflower oil. Stir well, add the carrot and orange peel and juice, then add the spices. (I usually use quite a lot of ginger, a bit of cinnamon and just a little nutmeg.) Spread the mixture into two (smallish) greased cake tins and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for around 25 minutes, until slightly golden on top and springy to the touch. Leave to cool.
Blend the cream cheese, margarine/softened butter and icing sugar until really soft and creamy, then chill for a little while. Stick the two halves of the cooled cake together with icing and spread generous amounts on top. Serve with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice for an extra dose of vitamin C!