Last month I wrote about the challenges of getting older and developing an intolerance to certain foods. I was particularly struggling with bread and baked goods with yeast in them as I have noticed that I bloat and feel generally pretty awful when I eat them in large quantities. This is tragic because I LOVE cake. I love everything about cakes: leafing through recipe books or browsing the internet to find new ones, getting all my ingredients lined up, sifting, creaming, whisking and mixing a few simple ingredients which magically turn into the food of gods after a brief stint in the oven. There is something truly divine about a home-baked cake and I couldn't bear the thought that I would have to limit my intake...or suffer the consequences. Worse still, the only food I really like to eat at breakfast - together with a pint sized mug of very strong tea - is a slice of cake.
For a few weeks I made do with nothing at all or sometimes a yoghurt, neither which work for me at all. Eating nothing means that by eleven I am so ravenous I can't see straight but by then I don't have time for a proper sit down so I end up eating in front of the computer or on the go and that's never very satisfying. The cold, creamy yoghurt - although very nice - just doesn't marry with the hot tea. The contrasting textures and temperatures are all wrong.
So, it's back to cake. This time with my Kitchen Fairy hat on. I searched the internet for ideas and came across Nigella Lawson's Venetian Carrot Cake which ticked all the boxes. The original recipe calls for the addition of rum soaked raisins, which I didn't fancy so I replaced them with little bits of chopped stem ginger. I didn't have the required lemon so substituted with a lime and was 50 grams short of ground almonds which I made up with desiccated coconut as that's what I had in the cupboard. I made a few other minor adjustments here and there and loved the result.
I think the final product is probably a bit more Caribbean and bit less Venetian but it really works! It's moist and zingy and hits the spot with a cup of tea in the morning. In fact, it's so good I've been having it for lunch and dinner as well! So, to the recipe...
Caribbean Carrot Cake (adapted from Nigella Lawson's Venetian Carrot Cake)
- 200 grams grated carrots
- 125 ml olive oil
- 100 grams caster sugar
- 50 grams honey
- 3 pieces of stem ginger in syrup. drained and grated
- 3 eggs
- 200 grams ground almonds
- 50 grams desiccated coconut
- 1 lime: zest and juice
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1) Grease and line a 23cm spring from tin and preheat oven to 180C
2) Beat honey, sugar and eggs together till well mixed and airy
3) Fold in coconut and almond
4) Add carrots, both gingers and zest and juice of lime
5) Pour into tin and level with spoon. Bake for 30 to 40 mins until a skewer comes out cleanish