Ottolenghi’s carrot cake, fluffy yet flavoursome
I promise right now this will not become a blog dedicated to recreating Ottolenghi recipes. There, I wrote it, it’s published, you can remind me later when I’ve lost track of how many I’ve made.
About this carrot cake though – it has now bitten me in the behind, because a while back I harked on about how I wanted a carrot cake recipe that didn’t have a million ingredients, and carrot was the main feature. However, even though this does have a formidable ingredient list, it is unsurprisingly the best I’ve ever eaten. Not just made, but eaten. Of all the cafe carrot cakes, this takes…the cake. In my mind there is a gradient for carrot cakes. At one end is the super dense (let’s be honest, rock hard) cake, packed full of nuts and coconut thread and probably (god forbid) pineapple or some other fruit that shouldn’t be there. At the other end is my simple carrot cake recipe, with nothing but carrots and cinnamon as the stars. This sits bang in the middle, but it also has the added bonus of having that moist fluffiness that all cakes should aim for (except some chocolate cakes perhaps). It’s the marriage of carrot cakey flavours with that soft fluffiness that really does make this perfect for me. Rich and heady spices that aren’t too overwhelming, walnuts for added interest and a toasty nuttiness. It was so good I couldn’t bear putting any frosting on it, serving it instead with plain yogurt. Still tasted wonderful the next day, too.
Near perfection does come at a price however. Not only do you need to separate eggs, somewhere at the end of it you have an extra egg yolk banging around. Now that I know I can freeze them with a bit of salt it’s not a problem, but it’s not something that I’m about to celebrate necessarily.
The one drawback about this cake is that the edge is a little hard and dry on the day of baking. I didn’t really mind, and I probably overcooked the cake a bit anyway, but just a heads up in case you’re particularly antsy about that sort of thing.
Also, if the measurements in weights rather than volume has put you off, would it please you to know that scales are not actually that pricey if you get them off ebay? They are such a wonderful, wonderful tool, and so much better than using cups (more precise, with less cleaning!). I dare you to find someone with kitchen scales who would go back to life without one. Kgo.
I’m not going to re-post the recipe because I did actually follow it almost exactly. The only things I changed was using light brown sugar (only fine sugar I had, plus it tastes delicious) in place of caster sugar, and I added a few drops of tangerine oil. I couldn’t taste this at all however, but on the plus side I ended up with a very fragrant little finger. Mmm.