Flo and Daisy, our two hens, have returned to laying after their little winter break and they seem to be on a mission as we are inundated with eggs and I’m trying hard to keep on top of the supply. The one excellent thing this leads to is cake baking – you can’t go wrong with homemade cake and a nice cup of tea.
I thought I’d share this recipe for carrot cake which was given to me by a friend when I worked in London about 25 years ago. I distinctly remember her saying it was a healthy cake as it has carrots and sultanas in it! I think I’ll take her word for it!
The original recipe made a big cake (she was from a large family), so way back I wrote half quantities of ingredients in the margin. I had a little snigger to myself seeing I’d written 1/2 of a 1/4 teaspoon of spices – obviously my maths wasn’t up to much back then (I’m proud to say it’s now improved)!
150g (5oz) soft light brown sugar
125g (4oz) butter or baking margarine
grated rind of an orange
200g (7oz) self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/8 teaspoon mixed spice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
250g (9oz) carrots, peeled and finely grated
85g (3oz) sultanas (optional)
2-2.5 tablespoons milk
Icing sugar and orange juice (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180 C, gas mark 4 (recipe was pre-fan oven so adjust accordingly!). Use baking paper to line the base and then grease a 1.5 litre (3 pint) loaf tin (or equivalent round cake tin).
Cream together the sugar, butter/margarine and orange rind in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, gradually beat in the eggs. Fold in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices, a little at a time. Fold in the grated carrots and sultanas (if using) together with the milk. If the mixture seems a little stiff, stir in a little extra milk.
Spoon the mixture into the loaf/cake tin and cook for 40 minutes or until firm and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cooked cake comes away clean.
Place on a rack to cool. If you wish, when the cake is cool and has been turned out of the tin, mix a little icing sugar with orange juice to form a nice consistency and spoon over the top of the cake.