I have had a recipe for healthy carrot cake floating around the vacant spaces of my mind for a while and yesterday I decided to put it into action. The cake has no butter, no sugar, is high in fibre and contains vegetables and fruit. It was one of those rare occasions where a somewhat experimental culinary endeavour works the first time and I was a happy bunny (which is good as it’s Spring time and I was making carrot cake!). It was indeed, better than I expected and this was supported in no small way by ringing endorsements from my chief taste testers, Cormac and Danny (the husband, strange creature that he is, is not a big eater of cake making him defunct as a subject for this experiment). Anyway, small children are honest if anything. They are also hardwired to love cake so If I could impress them then mission accomplished. They ate the cake and then they looked for more. Happy Days. My Parents and siblings also had the cake foisted upon them and they really liked it too so there you go, healthy cake can be delicious. This recipe would be lovely at Easter time as a wholesome alternative to chocolate eggs. In fact it is best enjoyed skipping barefoot along a daffodil strewn meadow with bunny rabbits hopping around and a flowery bonnet on your head*.
*Flowery bonnet, daffodils and bunny rabbits are optional. This blogger accepts no responsibility for bouts of double pneumonia sustained as a result of going barefoot at this time of year.
200g xylitol (this is a natural sugar substitute available in health food shops. If you want you can just use 200g caster sugar instead)
150 mls sunflower oil
Juice of 2 medium sized oranges
250g wholemeal flour
50g coarse wheat bran
50g porridge oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
2 grated medium sized carrots
150g sultanas or raisins
For the topping:
75g Creme Fraiche
75g reduced fat cream cheese
2 tsp xylitol (or icing sugar)
A good pinch of mixed spice
Finely grated zest of the 2 oranges used in cake recipe
This recipe will yield enough for a 2lb loaf of cake and 10-12 cupcakes.
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan oven, a little more for non-fan). Grease and line a 2 lb loaf tin and place a dozen or so bun/ cupcake cases in a bun/cupcake tin.
2. Squeeze the juice of the 2 oranges into a bowl and add the sultanas/ raisins to soak them for a little while.
3. Whisk the eggs, oil, xylitol/sugar and milk with a hand mixer until pale, very frothy and a little thicker.
4. Fold in the oats, flour, wheat bran, mixed spice and salt. Next, add the grated carrot and sultanas/raisins along with the orange juice they have been soaking in and gently mix through.
5. Spoon the batter into the lined loaf tin and bun cases.
6. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes for the cupcakes and about 40-45 minutes for the cake (or until a skewer comes out clean).
7. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the tin before removing from tin and removing baking paper. Place on a wire rack to cool fully.
8. To make topping: in a bowl combine the Creme Fraiche, xylitol/sugar, mixed spice and orange zest. Drizzle over the cupcakes and main cake and serve.