Yes, please! I love carrot cake and this carrot cake is sublime! The rapeseed oil keeps the cake moist for up to 3 days, though in this establishment it does not get past day two before it has all been devoured! I add a few pumpkin seeds for extra interest and nuttiness, and the apple and brown sugar are part of my secret for ensuring a moist carrot cake. I never used to like sultanas in carrot cake, but soaking them first in either warm cider or tea, makes them more palatable for me as they become soft and blend in with the taste and texture.
Here at the pub I serve the carrot cake with cream cheese sorbet as a pudding. The slightly warm cake drizzled with candied carrots and served with a scoop of cream cheese sorbet alongside makes a lovely, indulgent pudding.
I can already see the confusion as to why I call it a sorbet and not an ice cream. Well, my theory is that an ice cream contains cream and a rich, egg-based custard, whereas a sorbet is made using sugar syrup and then a flavouring of your choice – in this case the flavouring is a dairy product, but the absence of the egg custard makes it light, slightly tart and perfect for accompanying a slice of warm carrot cake.
Ingredients & Method
For the cream cheese sorbet
- 250g caster sugar
- 250ml cold water
- 100ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons liquid glucose
- 800g cream cheese (or full fat soft cheese, such as Philadelphia, works just as well)
For the carrot cake
- 50ml Aspall dry cider
- 100g sultanas
- 250ml rapeseed oil
- 4 eggs
- 300g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- a pinch of table salt
- 350g soft dark brown sugar
- 80g walnuts, roughly chopped
- 80g pumpkin seeds
- 125g coarsely grated (cored but unpeeled) eating apples
- 250g coarsely grated carrots (preferably with their skins on – wash well and pat dry before grating)
For the candied carrots
- 100g caster sugar
- 100ml cold water
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 100g coarsely grated (peeled) carrots
- icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
First, prepare the sorbet. Put the caster sugar, water, lemon juice and glucose in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour the syrup into a heatproof mixing bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then whisk in the cream cheese. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, then pour the chilled mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen (following the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular model). Alternatively, pour the chilled mixture into a shallow, freezer proof container, cover with a lid and freeze until firm, whisking the mixture 3 or 4 times during freezing (every hour or so) to break down the ice crystals and ensure an even-textured result.
Allow the sorbet to soften slightly at room temperature or in the fridge before serving (see Cook’s Notes).
Next, make the carrot cake. Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3 and grease and line a 24–25cm springform cake tin. Put the cider and sultanas in a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes to allow the sultanas to soften. In a small bowl or jug, whisk the rapeseed oil and eggs together.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the brown sugar, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and grated apples and carrots. Add the oil and egg mixture and the soaked sultanas and cider to the flour mixture and stir together lightly with a wooden spoon until combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and level the surface.
Bake in the oven for about 1 hour or until risen and deep golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely (see Cook’s Notes).
Meanwhile, make the candied carrots. Put the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 7 minutes or until the mixture becomes a slightly thickened syrup. Add the lemon zest and juice and grated carrots and simmer for a further 1 minute. Remove from the heat and leave to cool (see Cook’s Notes).
Dust the cold cake with icing sugar, if you like, then serve it in slices with the candied carrots drizzled over and a scoop of the cream cheese sorbet alongside.
Transfer any leftover sorbet to an airtight, freezer proof container and store in the freezer. Use within 1 week.
The carrot cake will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry cupboard for up to 3 days. This cake also freezes well – wrap the cold cake in a double layer of foil or cling film and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature overnight before serving.
The candied carrots will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.