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Laura's Carrot Cake

I first ate this at a friend’s wedding. I then spent six months asking around to find the woman who’d baked it for the recipe. Huge thanks for Laura for writing out the below on the back of a scrap of paper for me – she works at Café Concerto in York, where the cakes are wonderful, and this is their recipe. I’ve only amended it slightly (the recipe I was given was expressed in catering quantities and baked 5 cakes, I suspect this is a bit more than most of us would take on). The honey and high lemon content make this carrot cake something really special.

Cake Ingredients

170g strong white flour
145g wholemeal flour
100g raisins
100g sultanas
270g grated carrot
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp ground nutmeg
50g chopped nuts (walnuts are traditional, however I like pecans and could imagine this working with hazelnuts
170ml milk soured with
the juice of half a lemon
3 eggs (mixed)
140g butter or margarine
½ a jar of honey

Icing Ingredients

140g cream cheese such as philedalphia
75g butter, softened
360g icing sugar
Grated zest of ½ a lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
20g whole nuts to decorate (note as above).

You will need
A large springform tin
To bake the cake on gas mark 3 (160 degrees c)

To bake

Put the oven on to pre-heat (160 degrees c, gas mark 3)

Mix all of the dry ingredients in one bowl.
Melt the butter and honey gently and put aside to cool slightly.
Whisk the eggs, and mix the lemon juice with the milk.

Then add all of the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mix quickly (it will be quite a liquid batter), flatten the top and pop into the preheated oven.
Bake for 45 minutes (a skewer inserted into the centre of the tin should come out clean.

Leave the cake in the tin to cool.

When completely cool, remove from tin and put on display plate.

Mix all of the icing ingredients together until well combined and spread evenly over the cake, using the nuts to decorate as desired.

JANINE'S TOP TIP - CARROT CAKE MUFFINS - use half of the quantities above (2 eggs) and spli the mixture between 12 muffin cases to make perfect carrot cake muffins.  Bake at the same tempriture but for around 25 minutes (check they are donw with a skewer - if it comes out free of batter, the muffins are cooked).

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