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Moist carrot, date, and walnut cake

My mum makes the best carrot, date, and walnut cake. It's very soft and moist with a dark sweetness (from the dark sugar) that goes really well with the other flavours - nothing like the flouncy light carrot-cake-with-lemon-icing that seems to be standard. Here's the recipe, based on a recipe in a book but completely changed. It's a very easy recipe. But despite that, I can't make it quite as good as my mum does. More practice needed:

  • 225g (8 oz) dark soft brown sugar
  • 180ml (6 fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g (4 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 50g (2 oz) chopped walnuts
  • A handful (about 6) dates, roughly chopped [optional]

Line an 18cm (7 inch) round cake tin with greased greaseproof paper, and preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4).

Put the sugar into a mixing bowl and gradually whisk in the oil, then whisk the eggs in one at a time (easier to get them mixed in smoothly that way). Add the flour and cinnamon and stir the mixture well, beating out lumps to make the mixture as smooth as you can. Add the carrots, nuts, and dates, and mix.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes, until the cake is risen and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven, leave to stand in the tin for 3 minutes, then turn out onto a wire tray, peel off the paper and leave to cool.

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