Now for all of you cake lovers out there, and even for those of you who shrug with a nonchalance which says ‘it’s ok, but I could take it or leave it’, this is THE best carrot cake. So much so, that the wee boy has put in a request to make one especially for one of my lovely nieces, who was 15 yesterday, so that when we see her again tomorrow, we can sit and indulge ourselves, even though the actual day has gone. Although, as far as birthdays go, I’m a huge advocate for stringing them out for as long as anyone is prepared to go along with the idea. After all, it only happens once a year. And just as an aside, why is it so difficult to understand that a birthday is a celebration of a year gone by, as in, you have lived 15 years, not the year ahead?
Back to the cake.
Firstly, do the thing with the tin and put the oven on. I’m gas mark 3.
Next sieve all dry ingredients, 4oz wholemeal self raising flour, 4oz wholemeal plain flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ginger (all ground), and 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Add the bran bits at the bottom of the sieve. If you forget to sieve, or can’t quite be bothered with the faff, the cake will still be delicious.
Whisk 8floz vegetable oil, 6oz soft brown sugar, 4 large eggs and 2 tablespoons golden syrup together. Add to dry ingredients and mix.
At this juncture I would like to share a little story. Son #1 and I had a disagreement one day regarding eggs. He was adamant that you should crack them into a bowl before adding them to the ingredients. I, on the other hand insisted that was not necessary. That he should learn to live a little, trust his instincts and just crack the eggs straight into the mixture. Obviously he has a point. Theoretically, eggs should be cracked into a bowl first to ensure there is no shell in the mixture. But cooking is a creative outlet, where instincts work alongside confidence. If you don’t learn to trust what you can do, (admittedly with practise), you will never grow into your potential. A much bigger story than just eggs.
However, we reached an impasse, which is when I had to remind him, once again, that until he is 18, it doesn’t matter what his opinion may be, I am right, even if I’m not, because I’m the grown up and it’s my house. Of course when he is 18, he will then be allowed to have his own opinion, and hopefully, his own house. I always say this to him, slightly sardonically, in the hope that one day he will see the layers of irony.
Back to the cake.
I am not a fan of grating carrots, and although it only takes a few minutes, I dread it. I know I could go to the supermarket and buy a bag of grated carrots, but I just cannot bring myself to do that. So, this is the point we’re at. Add, via grating or otherwise, 12oz carrots and 2oz chopped pecan nuts into the mixture. Stir.
Pour into prepared tin, plonk in the oven, and ‘quality control’ the left over mixture.
Bake for 1 hour, unless you have a temperamental oven in which case leave it for 1 hour and 10 minutes before even thinking about having a look.
Take out, release from the tin onto a cooling rack, and gloat at it’s perfection. Just a little tip here. I find that cakes which have been cooked in one of those springform tins, (which is how I cook this one), when they’re cooling can, if you’re not careful, get a little dry around the edges. So after about 10 minutes cooling, I loosely wrap the cake in some greaseproof paper. It takes a little longer to cool, but it’s worth it.
When cold, add the topping.
Now, I am a big fan of what the Americans call ‘frosting’ on this cake. It involves mixing together 7oz cream cheese, 2oz softened butter, 2oz sifted icing sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence, or lemon/orange juice. Depending on what takes your fancy. Plonk on the top.
Make a cup of tea. Sit down with friends, family or just on your own, cut a slice and enjoy. You see, I’m right aren’t I? THE best carrot cake.