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Monday, 4 July 2011

the new best carrot cake...

I had a significant birthday recently and my lovely family clubbed together to get me a much coveted greenhouse for my garden (Thanks guys...best present ever!). It has sat in its box since June as it's very much a two person job to assemble, but yesterday it could not be put off any longer as the tomato & chilli plants etc. were getting far too big for the new sitting room window (& the carpenter was due first thing Monday morning to lay the wooden floor). Since watering plants and wooden floors are not a great combination, Sunday was given over to the construction project so that the veg plants could go to their more permanent home.

 Lunch: Lily's favorite, butternut squash and parsnip soup.

So I was up bright and early getting ahead of the curve. Children were eating their breakfasts while I made their lunch and prepped the dinner, so we could get a clear run at the job in hand. A Sunday, however is not complete without a sweet treat. So while the kids favourite vegetable soup was simmering and the chicken, bacon and mushroom roast was resting in the fridge, I cast my eye over twitter-town and blog-land to see what looked good for afters.

Dinner: Jointed chicken, a quicker way to a Sunday roast.

I came across a recipe on Paula's Sweet Treats, for a carrot cake that caught my imagination. I have been convinced for a number of years that I already have the best recipe for carrot cake in the world, but I now stand corrected. It turns out it was only the second best. 

Cinnamon syrup is the magic ingredient in this lovely cake, The sponge is very moist anyway, but the syrup makes it gorgeously gooey. And it has carrots in it - so it's super healthy as well *cough*! The top notes of orange and the syrup combine to conjure up the smell of Christmas and The Editor has already booked it into the festive menu, although I'd be more than happy to eat it anytime.

This is changed a bit from the original, as you do, depending on personal/family tastes. Here's what I did.

Cake Ingredients
1 orange (rind only, save the juice for the icing)
250 ml corn oil
225 gr muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
250 gr carrots grated (around 3 medium sized carrots)
225 gr self raising flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Thin orange rind strips to decorate

150 gr Philadelpia cream cheese
Juice of half an orange
50 gr icing sugar

Cinnamon syrup
220 gr muscovado sugar
200 ml of water
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick

To make the sponge
Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line two 8" sandwich tins. With a whisk beat the oil and muscavado sugar and eggs together. Stir in the orange zest and carrots. Sift the flour, cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of salt over the mixture and fold in. Divide the mixture between the two prepared tins and bake for about 25 minutes or until skewer comes out cleanly.

Put the tins aside to cool for a few minutes before removing the sponges onto a wire rack, peel the baking parchment from the backs and leave to cool completely.

To make the icing
Beat all the ingredients together until smooth. Sandwich the two sponges together using about a third of the mixture and spread remaining on top. Put a few orange peel ribbons on top for prettiness. 

To make the cinnamon syrup
Place all ingredients in small, heavy bottomed saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar is melted.  Simmer gently until mixture thickens, set aside to cool.

To serve, let each person drizzle over the syrup on their own individual slice according to taste. 

So not a 'day of rest Sunday', but  the greenhouse is ready for its new inhabitants and everyone still had a proper Sunday dinner. And I discovered a lovely cake that I will be revisiting in the future. Hurrah!


  1. I was dying to see a photo of the greenhouse!
    Sounds like a great day was had by all and how about the recipe for that soup?

  2. Ooh it looks fab!! That cinnamon syrup is a revelation, so glad you made it! :-)

  3. Hi Mona - soup recipe will be along soon, not cold enough for soup today. And I shall reveal the greenhouse in all it's glory, the last of the refuge tomatoes are going in tomorrow. It was a fun day, i've not seen the children that encrusted in dirt in a while.

  4. Paula, you are a culinary genius! I will be keeping a beady eye on you from now on. I really must think of some other things to use the syrup on as well! It's too good to keep for just the carrot cake.

  5. Lol! Us twitter bunch could happily live on cake I would imagine!! Syrup is fab on porridge, ice cream and pancakes I can confirm!! #cinnamonaddict :-)


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