I’m back (Mel that is!). The last two months, I haven’t been as active as I would have liked. My mother has been ill, and is due for surgery on Tuesday. Combined with my jobs major events taking place in January I’ve been barely functioning. Unfortunately all my creative outlets have suffered. On a day off, I wanted to spend it becoming re-acquainted with those activities I love best – reading, baking, blogging and knitting.
For Christmas, my lovely co-blogger Alex gave me this lovely Fleur De Lis Bundt Tin. It’s simply stunning. With two carrots in the fridge I decided to bake Nigella Lawson’s Venetian Carrot Cake. I wasn’t sure how the cake would turn out knowing that it may not have been suitable for a bundt tin, but what is life without a little risk?
The ingredients are pretty simple. I used: 3 Tablespoons of pine nuts, 2 Medium carrots (Approx 200g in weight), 75 Sultanas, 60 ml Sherry, 100g Caster Sugar, 125ml Olive Oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not pictured), 3 eggs, 250g ground almonds, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (not pictured) and zest and juice of 1/2 lemon (not pictured).
The original recipe called for 150g of Caster Sugar, but I’m making a conscious effort to cut down on sugar and honestly, I don’t think the recipe missed the50g sugar at all. I think the carrots were sweet enough and the almonds provided more than enough flavour.
It is a simple process to toast the pine nuts. Simply take a small fry pan and add the pine nuts and gently toast over a low heat until the reach the desired colour. It is a quick process so if you’re distracted you will need to keep an eye on it.
While I was toasting the pine nuts, I placed the sultanas and sherry in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 3-4 minutes. In the recipe, Nigella uses Rum. I don’t actually own Rum but I did have this amazing Sherry from the All Saints estate in Rutherglen.
Grate the carrots – you could use a food processor but for two carrots a simple grater is just an easy and with less dishes to wash!
Whisk the oil and the sugar until light and creamy. Nigella recommends a stand mixer but once again, too much effort. The oil and the sugar don’t take too much effort to whisk by hand. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Fold in the almonds, the sultanas (including any liquid that did not evaporate), carrots, nutmeg and lemon zest/juice.
If using flat tin, place the mixture in and sprinkle with the pine nuts. As I was using a bundt tin, I sprinkled the pine nuts on the bottom and then placed the cake mixture on top.
Cook in a 180C oven for about forty minutes – it is ready when a cake test is clean.
Look how pretty the shape is! The cake browns quite easily! The bottom of the cake (which if you are following Nigella’s recipe by using a plain tin would be the top of your cake) is a lovely golden colour. The ides and the bottom however a little darker. I didn’t mind because this cake was Ahhhhhhhhmazing. I have another carrot cake I always make, and do plan on sharing that uses more carrots but I think I may have a new favourite. It is perfect for a small gathering (it doesn’t yield large quantities) but it is incredibly moist and not overtly sweet at all.
I enjoyed it reading a book (Open by André Agassi) and cup of tea (Lemon grass and Ginger). Perfect Afternoon!