Domestic Goddess Nigel Lawson makes a supreme easy carrot cake recipe.
This carrot cake has no topping, but Nigella has included a rum flavoured mascarpone cream topping for those who want it all.
I long thought that an easy carrot cake was an American invention, then I found out that an early version was made by Venetian Jews in the first ghetto. This modest cake is not much to look at – apart from a glorious golden-ness – but it is divine to eat. Perhaps those with less austere eating habits will care to dollop alongside each damply crumbling wedge of cake my Italianate nod to the American cream-cheese frosting – a soft, rum-flavoured mascarpone cream.
For the carrot cake
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 medium carrots (approx. 200-250g/7-9oz)
75g/3oz golden sultanas
60ml/2¼fl oz rum
150g/5oz castor sugar
125ml/4½fl oz regular olive oil, as well as extra for greasing
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 free-range eggs
250g/9oz ground almonds
½ tsp ground nutmeg or to taste
½ lemon finely grated zest and juice
For the mascarpone cream (optional)
2 tsp icing sugar
2 tbsp rum
. For the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Use a non stick silicone liner in the base of a 23cm/9in round springform cake tin, or use baking parchment and grease the sides with olive oil.
. Toast the pine nuts by browning in a dry frying pan; the oven alone is not enough to scorch them so they are no longer pale. Set aside.
. Grate the carrots in a processor (for ease) or with a coarse kitchen grater, and then put them on a double layer of kitchen paper wrapping them to soak up excess liquid. You can then set this aside.
. Put the golden sultanas in a small saucepan as well as the rum, bringing them to the boil. Turn down and simmer for 3 minutes.
. Whisk the sugar and oil until creamily and airily mixed.
. Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs. When well whisked, fold in the ground almonds, grated carrots,nutmeg, sultanas and then the lemon zest and juice.
. Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
. Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the cake and put it into the oven for 30–40 minutes.Wait until the top has risen and golden, try a skewer inserted into the centre, it should come out sticky but more or less clean.
. Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in its tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then un spring and leave it on the rack to cool.
. For the mascarpone cream, mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and rum.
. To serve, transfer the cake to a plate. Serve the mascarpone cream in a bowl to spoon alongside the cake.