There are two warring camps at Ottolenghi over the vital issue of … carrot cake. Helen Goh and Sarit Packer, who are always on the lookout for new ideas and some earth-shattering recipes, like their carrot cakes dense and fruity. We prefer them light and fluffy, like this one. So far the issue hasn’t been resolved – there’s just a tense ceasefire. Watch out for the next Ottolenghi cookbook: if the balance of power shifts, you might find a totally different carrot cake.
(p 200, The Ottolenghi cookbook)
160g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 large free-range egg
1 free-range egg yolk
200g sunflower oil
270g caster sugar
50g walnuts, chopped
50g desiccated coconut
135g carrot, roughly grated
2 free-range egg whites
a pinch of salt
175g cream cheese, at room temperature
70g unsalted butter
35g icing sugar
30g walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3.
- Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and spices. Lightly whisk the whole egg with the egg yolk.
- Put the sunflower oil and caster sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the beater attachment and beat for about a minute on a medium speed. On a low speed, slowly add the beaten egg. Mix in the walnuts, coconut and carrot and then the sifted dry ingredients. Don’t over mix. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- Wash and dry the mixer bowl, making sure it is totally clean, then put the egg whites and salt in it and whisk on a high speed until firm peaks form.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the carrot mixture in 3 additions, being careful not to over mix. Streaks of white in the mixture are okay. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 1 hour; it could take longer. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out dry. If the cake starts getting dark before the centre is cooked through, cover it with foil.
- Let the cake cool completely and then remove from the tin.
- To make the icing, beat the cream cheese in a mixer until light and smooth. Remove from the mixer. Beat the butter, icing sugar and honey in the mixer until light and airy.
- Fold together the cheese and butter mixes. Spread waves of icing on top of the cake and sprinkle with the nuts.