A delicious carrot cake, lighter than most because it’s made with sunflower oil rather than butter, this beauty is rich with the flavour of spices and lip-licking good with its creamy frosting topping: perfect with a cup of tea!
This is my Auntie Loulla (Loulla Astin)’s recipe and cake, baked for a recent family gathering (and gobbled in seconds)-just for me, she omitted the nuts too but I’ve included them in her classic recipe below marking them optional.
Auntie Loulla is my mother’s sister and the award winning restaurateur of the famous Kosmos Greek Taverna in Manchester. Her career has seen her cook on TV many times, including presenting her own cookery series on SKY and she was even invited to meet The Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Check out her recipe below:
For the cake:
- 325 (10oz) Gluten-free self-raising flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 3 large free-range, organic eggs
- 300 mls (1/2 pint) sunflower oil
- 225g (8oz) brown sugar
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 75g (3 oz) chopped walnuts (optional)
- 75g (3 oz) dessicated coconut
- 75g (3 oz) chopped dates or glace figs or sultanas
- 225g (8oz) roughly grated carrot
For the Frosting:
- 100g (4oz) unsalted butter, soften
- 175g (6oz) cream cheese
- 100g (4oz) icing sugar
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon or 2 ripe (wrinkled) passion fruit
- 40g (1 1/2 oz) walnuts lightly toasted, to decorate
- or/ 2 long thin carrots, sliced and cooked with 100g sugar and 75ml water until caramerlized, approx 1/2 hour
You will also need:
a 24cm (9in) loose-based cake tin, greased and the bottom lined with baking parchment.
Preheat the oven to 180 c, 350f, gas mark 3.
Sift the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and spices.
Using a mixer or an electric hand whisk, beat together the oil and sugar, slowly adding the eggs one at a time. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the brandy, walnuts, coconut and carrot and then the sifted dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre. Let the cake cool completely, then remove from the tin (you can freeze it at this stage if you like).
For the frosting, beat the butter and icing sugar in a mixer or with an electric hand whisk until light and smooth, then beat in the cream cheese lemon zest. If you are using passion fruit, cut the fruit in half, squeeze out the seeds and juice into the cheese mixture and fold gently. Finally, spread in top of the cake and decorate with your choice of topping.