Sunday, 30 October 2011

Venetian Carrot Cake with Tipsy Marscapone

The carrot cake has a long and distinguished history, hailing from the Arab speaking world in the 10th century, on to  the Middle Ages and then finally gaining popularity again during the 2nd World War when rationing meant no sugar to bake with.

According to Nigella this recipe hails from the Jewish Quarter in Venice and thanks to the inclusion of olive oil, pine nuts  and marscapone has a distinctly Italian feel to it.

I first saw Nigella make this recipe on her series Kitchen.  I've made it many times and it's never let me down.  The complexity of flavour never fails to impress.  Plus it's a healthy option because it uses olive oil, only half a cup of sugar and lots of vege.  An all round winner.

Thanks to only using ground almonds in this recipe this carrot cake is incredibly moist and gluten-free.  The rum soaked raisins and the booze-spiked marscapone,  make this cake feel more like a sophisticated, adult dessert than simply a tea time favourite. If you're not too keen on carrot cake then please try this one as it's quite a departure from normal carrot cake.

Here is Nigella's recipe:


For the carrot cake
For the mascarpone cream (optional)

Preparation method

  1. For the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the base of a 23cm/9in round springform cake tin with re-usable non-stick silicone liner or baking parchment and grease the sides with olive oil.
  2. Toast the pine nuts by browning in a dry frying pan; the oven alone is not enough to scorch out the paleness. Set aside.
  3. Grate the carrots in a processor (for ease) or with a coarse grater, then sit them on a double layer of kitchen paper and wrap them, to soak up excess liquid. Set aside.
  4. Put the golden sultanas in a small saucepan with the rum, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Whisk the sugar and oil until creamily and airily mixed.
  6. Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs and, when well whisked, fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, grated carrots, golden sultanas (with any rum that clings to them) and, finally, the lemon zest and juice.
  7. Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very shallow in the tin.
  8. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the cake and put it into the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the top is risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out sticky but more or less clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in its tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then unspring and leave it on the rack to cool.
  10. For the mascarpone cream, mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and rum.
  11. To serve, transfer the cake to a plate. Put the mascarpone cream in a bowl to spoon alongside the cake, for those who want.

    Cooks note:

    I use Grand Marnier instead of rum in both the raisin liquor and the marscapone, as GM has an orange flavour and therefore adds another dimension to the flavour.

    I make sure I use 250g of grated carrot as it makes the cake that little bit bigger and moister

    I don't bother to toast the pine nuts first, I just sprinkle them on top and they go golden brown all on their own

1 comment:

collin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.