Carrot Cake

We recently had a birthday in the family and Carrot Cake is a favourite, so I decided it would be the perfect birthday cake for our birthday man. I haven’t made a carrot cake in a while, but I should say I really liked this recipe from BBCGoodFood for it’s simplicity. The original recipe uses raisins to add sweetness, but I reckon the cake is sweet enough without them. Plus – the question is, do raisins really belong in a carrot cake?! This one also has walnuts, though you can also use pecans or go without if you prefer. Perfect for a tea time treat!

More in cake: Vegan Carrot Cake MuffinsApple & Blackberry CakeBiscoff Cake

Carrot Cake

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Serves 10-12 | Prep 35 mins | Cook 30 mins + cooling
Easy

You’ll need:

  • 235ml vegetable oil, plus extra for the tin;
  • 100g natural yogurt;
  • 4 large eggs;
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract;
  • ½ an orange, zested;
  • 265g self-raising flour;
  • 335g light muscovado sugar;
  • 2½ tsp ground cinnamon;
  • ¼ ground nutmeg;
  • 265g carrots (about 3), grated;
  • 100g sultanas or raisins (optional)
  • 100g walnuts or pecans, half roughly chopped, half halved (optional).

For the icing:

  • 100g slightly salted butter, softened;
  • 300g icing sugar;
  • 100g full-fat cream cheese.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Oil and line the base and sides of two 20cm cake tins with baking parchment (this is a good guide by BBC Good Food – lining cake tins). Whisk the oil, yogurt, eggs, vanilla and zest in a jug. Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with a good pinch of salt in a bowl. Squeeze any lumps of sugar through your fingers, shaking the bowl a few times to bring the lumps to the surface.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, along with the carrots, raisins and the chopped nuts, if using. Mix well to combine, then divide between the tins. Bake for 25-30 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If any wet mixture clings to the skewer, return to the oven for 5 mins, then check again. Leave to cool in the tins.

To make the icing, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add half the cream cheese and beat again, then add the rest (adding it bit by bit prevents the icing from splitting). Remove the cakes from the tins and sandwich together with half the icing. Top with the remaining icing and scatter with the remaining walnuts. Will keep in the fridge for up to five days. Best eaten at room temperature.

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Original recipe from BBC Good food, issue August 2018, available online here.


Previously posted on this day:

== 2018 ==

‘Cures anything’ Chicken Soup

It’s the season of sore throats and runny noses. I’ve already had a cold twice, and so has my other half and my immediate remedy (or more likely comfort food) is a sturdy chicken soup.

In Bulgaria, every grandmother will tell you that the best cure for cold is the mighty Chicken soup. My grandmother used to always make it with chicken thighs or drumsticks because the bones made the stock even more delicious. So, this how I’ve started making my chicken soup – always with meat on the bone and never using chicken breast. It takes a little longer to cook but it’s well worth it in the end. I can’t really claim this to be a Bulgarian recipe as Chicken Soup isn’t particularly unique anywhere… But this is how we cook it in Bulgaria.

‘Cures anything’ Chicken Soup

Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 40-60 minutes
Easy | Gluten-free | Dairy-free

Chicken Soup 2

You’ll need:

  • 4 Chicken thighs or drumsticks (Or a mix of the two);
  • 1 onion, peeled;
  • 2 bay leaves;
  • 1 sprig of thyme;
  • 6 whole peppercorns;
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped;
  • 1 carrot, peeled roughly chopped.

Halve the chicken thighs (if using) following the bone. Put everything apart from the potatoes and carrot in a large saucepan and fill with water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and carrots. Season.

Cook for another 30-50 minutes until the chicken has cooked through (check it regularly after the 30 minute mark). When the chicken has cooked through, take it out of the pan, carefully chop roughly or shred and discard the bones. Return to the pan. Serve hot, with crusty bread on the side.