Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spiced Chocolate Carrot Cake – Worth The Calories

Pin It Chocolate cake is one of the most deceitful desserts you are likely to come across in your foodie life.  Here’s how dastardly a chocolate cake can be...

I'm nuts about carrot cake...

... you are in a restaurant or café. You’ve eaten your meal and it was rather delicious and filling. You don’t really want dessert but the waitress thoughtfully brings the menu, just in case...
Sophisticated it ain't!

You hear a little voice... “Pssst! Hey you... yes you... over here!”

There, just past the apple pie, is a chocolate cake. It is calling to you. Hmmmm. You crane your neck – it can’t hurt just to have a little look. It does give the impression of being rather delicious. Is that fudge icing on top? Your eyes ignore the protests of your belly and you find yourself ordering.

It arrives, a swirl of cream on the side. You sigh in anticipation and sink your fork into the dark layers. Ack! It is dry as dust and certainly NOT WTC* (Worth the Calories). Another “all style, no substance chocolate cake” gets pushed around the plate while you wait for the bill.
Waiter! Waiter! My cake is on fire!

One cake that is unfailingly luscious is carrot cake so I have combined my usual recipe with my favourite spiced hot chocolate recipe. Sophisticated it ain’t! Worth The Calories, definitely!

For 12-14 servings you will need...
Cake Batter
350g plain flour
60g dark cocoa powder (such as Bourneville), sifted to remove any lumps
350g caster sugar
14g baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
100g chopped nuts (I use a mixture of almonds and walnuts)
50g raisins (or sultanas or currents)
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
300g finely grated carrot
4 large eggs, beaten
300mls peanut oil (or sunflower oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1                 Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.  Rub a 26cm (10 inch) round cake tin lightly with butter and line the base with a circle of baking parchment.
2                 Place the first 9 ingredients in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer.  Add the grated carrot and mix well. Add the egg and mix until combined. Finally add the oil and vanilla extract and mix well until combined into a batter.
3                 Transfer the batter to the prepared cake tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 60 minutes or until well risen. A toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.
4                 Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin. Then remove the tin and allow cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Does spiced chocolate carrot cake count towards my five a day?

Cream Cheese Frosting
200g full fat cream cheese
100g butter, softened
700g icing sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

50g walnuts, chopped

1                In a large mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter until combined.
2                Add the sifted icing sugar in about 4 stages, mixing well between additions. An electric whisk is best for this task.
3                Finally add the vanilla extract and beat until the icing is thick and smooth.
4                 Spread over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts.
5                 Pour yourself a mug of tea and find a quiet place where you can enjoy this cake uninterrupted.

This will keep for about a week if kept in an airtight container in a cool place.
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