A holiday and a carrot cake.

(Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting)

The boy and I are both on holidays this week. It’s one of those unusual occurances normally reserved for a handful of days over the Christmas period. A rarity, in other words. Which also meant that I had really been looking forward to this week.

Unfortunately, I have not been feeling well – one blood test and a CT scan later, and it still remains a mystery. Due to the visits to the doctor etc, we had to shelve plans to do a bit of travelling. This was disappointing not only because I love road trips, but also because I was harbouring daydreams of the two of us renting a little cottage somewhere, walking around in our jammies all day and eating steak with our fingers. Not that we couldn’t have done that at home, but like they say, it’s all about location, location, location!

Still, we are having a ball, lazing around at home. Yesterday we spent the evening watching old episodes of 30 Rock, eating large slices of mince tart and talking general rubbish, as we’re prone to do. All washed down with hot cups of bancha. The mince tart was inspired by the cold weather and some dried fruit marinated in leftover Guinness. The general rubbish was inspired by non-leftover Guinness. Or perhaps not.

This had been a vacation not just from work, but from the things I normally bake too. I’ve been embracing more time-consuming recipes such as puff pastry and breads which we’ve been enjoying for breakfast. Maybe more on those, in a future post. I also took a holiday from my favourite carrot cake recipe, to make Claire Clark’s very carroty and very delicious carrot cake. Worth going on holiday for!

Carrot Cake :
(from Indulge by Claire Clark)

250g wholemeal flour
25g baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
125g dessicated coconut
5 medium eggs
250g muscovado sugar
185ml vegetable oil
500g carrots, grated
125g Californian raisins

For the cream cheese frosting :
125g cream cheese
375g icing sugar, sifted
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
a capful of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180’C. Grease a 25cm deep, round springform cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together, then stir in the coconut so it does not clump together. Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar and oil together until the mixture becomes pale and has doubled in volume. Gently fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix and lose volume. Finally fold in the carrots and raisins. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin.

To make the frosting, simply beat all the ingredients together until pale and fluffy.

Turn the cooled cake out of the tin and using a long serrated knife, slice it into 3 layers. Sandwich them together with the cream cheese frosting and spread a third of it over the top.

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