Sunday Bake: Carrot Loaf Cake

This is my favourite-ever carrot cake recipe, it’s full of delicious flavours and good things, and is not too sweet. Although I love a big round carrot cake with a delicious cream cheese topping, sometimes you want something less fiddly and quicker to make, and perhaps something without a load of extra calories. This recipe is so delicious it absolutely does not need the topping – so I bake it in a loaf tin and enjoy it in slices, fruit loaf style – you don’t even need a plate!

Carrot cake recipe

  • Servings: approx 12 slices
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 175g carrot (this is approximately 2 large carrots)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 70g soft dark brown sugar
  • 75ml rapeseed oil, or other oil (suitable for baking) of your choice
  • 100g self-raising wholemeal flour (or plain wholemeal flour with 1 tsp baking powder added)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 50g desiccated coconut (or 50g of ground almonds if you are baking for coconut-haters)
  • 75g raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 190C (180C fan) or gas mark 5 and line a 1lb loaf tin (a rectangular loaf tin approx 19cm x 12 cm x 6.5cm) with baking parchment.
  2. Scrub (and peel if they are older carrots) then finely grate the carrots.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk until they are very thick and creamy.
  4. Whisk in the oil, pouring it slowly in a thin stream.
  5. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir until evenly combined.
  6. Put the mixture into the prepared tin and bake until golden brown on the top and firm to the touch. This takes about 35 minutes – check after 30, and if the cake still seems a little gooey to the touch but quite brown on top, cover with foil and bake for 5-10 minutes more.
  7. Take out of the tin immediately and leave on a wire rack to cool.

The cake will keep in a air-tight container for about 3 days.

Carrot loaf cake recipe

Pretty simple, I am sure you will agree. Do let me know if you give it a try, I’d love to hear how you get on with it.

 

Recipe: Fruity Apple Bread

We are deep into harvest-time here, and even with our very small gardening efforts, it is quite hard work! I have been busy making jam and chutney, and freezing produce as quickly as I can. Today I made a couple of kilos of Delia Smith’s Old Dower House Chutney (scroll down for the recipe) , using plums and tomatoes from our garden, and apples from my mother-in-law’s mini-trees. I also made blackberry and apple butter (a River Cottage recipe, which is delicous!), again with fruit from our garden. We are also struggling to find 1001 different things to make with courgettes (zucchini) – what a difference from last year when our courgette harvest numbered 2!

We use a lot of cooking apples – so I am glad to have the apples from Grandma, especially as our neighbours have felled the ancient apple tree that we harvested from in previous years (an act of vandalism that makes me so sad I try not to think about it…). One of my boys will eat bowl after bowl of stewed apple sweetened with a little honey (not much, he likes it sour!), so we almost always have stewed apple in the fridge. I have developed this recipe to use up any left overs, when there are any!

Apple sauce bread 1

It makes a large, quite dense, weave-your-own-lentils kind of loaf, which is brilliant for breakfast or afternoon tea. This is not sophisticated baking! However it is fabulously filling and makes wonderful toast, which is great for these cooler autumn mornings. Hope you like it!

Ingredients

You will need a large loaf tin for this large loaf! Mine measures 9″ by 5″ and is about 5″ deep. If you don’t have a tin this size, you could try dividing the dough in half and cooking it in two smaller tins. You will need to decrease the cooking time – check the loaves after about 25 minutes. I haven’t tried this yet, but it should work!

100g lukewarm water (and maybe a little more for later in the recipe)
5g dried yeast or fast action yeast (or 10g fresh yeast)
300g plain wholemeal flour & 300g strong white flour (or whatever combination of flour you want to use)
300g of stewed apple/apple sauce (basically cooking apples put in a pan with a very small amount of water and heated gently until you get apple fluff! 3-4 medium Bramley apples gives me about 300g. If you don’t have quite enough apple, then just add a little more water during the kneading process)
1 tbsp honey
a pinch of salt
200g currants/sultanas/raisins (or a mixture – whatever you like really)

Method

1)  If using fresh yeast or dried yeast, put the water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast. Leave for a few minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve.If using fact action yeast, omit this stage and just add the yeast to the bowl with the other ingredients.

2)  Add the flour, apple sauce, honey and salt to the water & yeast mixture. Knead or use your mixer to create a soft, very slightly sticky dough. If you didn’t quite have enough apple sauce, and the dough feels a bit stiff, add a little more water at this stage.

3)  Add the dried fruit and knead a little more to distribute through the dough.

4)  Put the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp cloth/cling film, then leave until doubled in size – this takes an hour or so, depending on how warm your kitchen is.

5)  When the dough has had its first rise, preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4/180C.

6)  Transfer the dough to loaf tin lined with baking parchment. Place inside a large polythene bag and leave until nicely risen again (30 to 45 minutes).

7)  Bake for 35-40 minutes until golden brown and base of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

8)  Remove from the tin to cool. If you like, whilst the loaf is still warm, you can brush the top with a little honey to give it an inviting shine.

Enjoy!

The Saturday Bake is back: Fruit and Nut Flapjack

Fruit and nut flapjackI haven’t done a Saturday bake post since before the Christmas rush, and on a freezing day like today, it struck me that we all might need a bit of winter fuel! I always try to be as wholesome as I can be with everyday baking so this is an extremely straight-edge low GI-ish flapjack recipe, adapted from an old Cranks recipe.  These are not mega-sweet – the sweetness comes from the sultanas, so if you don’t like sultanas, you’ll want to replace them with another dried fruit or find a different recipe! Don’t miss out or replace the molasses, it gives a lovely treacly flavour. It’s the Freedom Syrup (brilliant stuff) that keeps this really low GI. If you don’t have any in, then you can use 50g dark brown or light brown sugar instead.

Straight Edge Flapjack

75g butter
30g molasses
50g of Sweet Freedom Syrup
few drops of real vanilla essence
200g rolled oats
80g sultanas
50g pecans, chopped (walnuts are great too)
1 tablespoon of water

Makes around 9 pieces of flapjack.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan), Gas Mark 4 and line a 7″ (18cm) square tin with baking parchment.
  • Measure the butter, molasses & syrup into a large saucepan, and melt over a very low heat (don’t allow the mixture to boil, you don’t want toffee…), then allow to cool a little in the pan.
  • Add all the other ingredients (I put them straight in the pan) and stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Press the mixture into the tin, nice and firmly, making sure that it’s spread evenly and goes right into the corners. I use a wet wooden spoon to avoid getting into a sticky mess doing this.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes until the top of the flapjack is firm and golden-brown.
  • Lift the flapjack from the tin on the baking parchment and leave to cool on a wire tray.
  • It’s easier if you cut it into slices whilst the flapjack is still warm, but don’t worry if you forget, just be gentle when you cut your slices.
  • Store in an airtight tin.

If you try them, do let me know how you get on with them! I think they are fantastic as a mid-morning snack with a love freshly ground coffee or one of my favourite Yogi Choco teas. Yum!