Are you looking for a LUSH treat for afternoon tea, after dinner, at a weekend bbq…the list for places a beautiful wholesome cake would be welcomed with open plates is long! This cake utilises gorgeous whole foods to make a yummy, nutritious and satisfying sweet treat. You may need to exercise a bit of this off- but what a wonderful cycle- eat yummy seasonal food then move your body! What’s not to love!
Inspired by Nigella Lawson, this cake has a super moist, dense and rustic texture. Not a high tea dainty, think more of a country Sunday lunch stunner. A journey in every bite, it gives the satisfaction of chewing into a baked walnut, then hits you with a zip of soft ginger and finishes with a moist cake crumb. Delish!
Makes: 8-12 slices
200 grams plain flour (self raising gluten free flour can be substituted)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger (you can substitute some for cinnamon, ground clove and/or nutmeg)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
175 grams soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
200 millilitres vegetable oil (plus more for greasing)
200 grams carrots (peeled and coarsely grated)
100 grams walnut pieces (roughly chopped or crumbled)
75 grams crystallised ginger (finely chopped)
100 grams unsalted butter (soft)
100 grams icing sugar (sieved if lumpy)
1 teaspoon cornflour
100 grams full-fat cream cheese (fridge-cold)
1 x 15ml tablespoon fresh ginger (coarsely grated)
25 grams walnut pieces (roughly chopped or crumbled)
25 grams crystallised ginger (chopped)
You will need 1 x 20cm/8 inch springform cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F and grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking parchment.
Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and salt into a bowl and fork well to mix thoroughly.
Beat the sugar, eggs and oil in another large bowl until they are completely mixed together, then gradually add the flour mixture, scraping the bowl you’re beating them in to rescue and incorporate any flour clinging to the edges. At this stage the mixture may seem alarmingly stiff, but the carrots will loosen it up. So, beat in the carrots and then fold in the 100g / 1 cup of prepared walnuts and 75g / 4½ tablespoons of crystallised ginger, until everything is evenly combined.
Spoon and scrape into the prepared tin. Don’t worry if it looks as if you haven’t got nearly enough batter, as the cake will rise well as it bakes. Smooth the top and pop in the oven (this is when to make the icing, see step 5) for 45–55 minutes. When it’s ready, the cake will be set and golden brown on top, beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out with just a few crumbs stuck to it. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool in its tin.
As soon as the cake’s in the oven, get on with the icing. Beat the butter and icing sugar together and when creamily combined, beat in the cornflour, followed by half the cream cheese. Once that’s incorporated, beat in the remaining half. Be careful at all times not to over-beat or the icing will get too runny. Starting with the grated ginger on a plate, get out a piece of kitchen roll and, moving quickly, spoon the grated ginger into the centre, bring up the edges of the paper, holding them together to form a little swag bag, and press on it over the bowl to squeeze out the intense ginger juice. Beat this into the frosting in its bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate.
When the cake is completely cold, take the icing out of the fridge for about 20 minutes, by which time it will have softened to a still thick but spreadable consistency. Beat briefly to help this along, and make sure it’s smooth. Unclip and release the cake from its tin, unmoulding it, and sit it on a cake stand or plate. Spread the frosting on top, swirling it a little, then sprinkle the chopped walnuts and ginger on top.
As a double trick- I made a bit of extra batter and tried this cake as a nut and crystalised ginger free version in school-lunch friendly sized donut shaped tins. Winner! The batter worked perfectly and gave me two dishes for the trouble of one!