Thursday, 4 November 2010

At Home: Carrot Cake

'Foolproof' is one of the most overused words in cookery book publishing, alongside the rather empty 'delicious'. You'll find it scattered thoughtlessly in myriad back cover blurbs. Seldom do recipes in recently published cookbooks stand up to the claim, though I've found the Riverford Farm Cookbook to be a welcome exception. The recipes are well written, and turn out consistently great dishes. It has earned its place on my 'classics' shelf, alongside Richard Corrigan's The Clatter of Forks and Spoons, the Moro series, and Nigel Slater, the only modern books to share space with older trusted classics.

This carrot cake recipe, adapted from the Riverford Farm Cookbook, is a winner. Nuts and spices don't feature, and I think the finished cake is better for it (having a feather-light, clean taste). The original recipe suggests sultanas, but I prefer to use chewy currants, and booze it up a bit.
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 75g light soft brown sugar
  • 75g dark soft brown sugar
  • 100g currants, soaked in 2 tbsp Cognac/brandy for a few hours, preferably overnight
  • 200g grated carrots
  • 150ml sunflower oil
  • 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
For the icing:
  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 50g icing sugar, sifted
  • 250g cream cheese
Preheat oven to 160C/Gas 3.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugars. Add the currants and grated carrots. Beat the oil and eggs together and add to the bowl. Combine with either a wooden spoon or an electric mixer.

Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined 20cm springform cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Hello lovely! That looks absolutely delicious! Let me know if you're ever free for lunch on a Monday. I'd love to meet your wee one and have lunch. Robyn xo

  2. Great sounding cake. I have so many cookbooks I really can't justify getting too many more, but I have got my eye on Nigel Slaters latest. What are your old trusted classics?

  3. Snoopermodel: hi! I've DM'd you re. meeting up. We'd love to.x

    Choclette: Yes, I'm determined to rediscover books already on my shelves, and plunder old favourites, and have specifically requested no cookery books for xmas! The trusted classics are:
    Alice Waters 'The Art of Simple Food'
    Claudia Roden 'A Book of Middle Eastern Food'
    Leiths Cookery Bible
    HFW's Meat Book
    A few Sophie Grigsons and Elizabeth Davids...
    and good ol' Delia.
    What do you consider as classics?

  4. Hi Laura,
    Yes you are absolutely right.. foolproof recipes are really hard to come by. I love your post and your blog .. the pictures are lovely and it's a great read!

    I'm developing recipes and getting all my recipes tested by Bloggers .. not that any of them could be considered fools !!! but I really am making sure they are foolproof!!

  5. Sounds lovely and simple - liking the booze too...