Ruby Tandoh's Caraway Carrot Cake with Poppy Seeds

Adding vegetables into baking is a great way of using up those last few carrots, courgettes or beetroot. I made this recipe with the intention of creating a classic carrot cake with a twist. It definitely has the element of surprise...but without the classic carrot cake flavour people are familiar with. Flicking through Great British Bake Off Contestant, Ruby Tandoh's book 'Crumbs', I came across this delicious looking cake and as I love the combination of lemon and poppyseed, I thought it would be a nice addition to the carrot cake flavour.

150g unsalted butter, softened
150g soft light brown sugar
125g grated carrot (from approx 2 medium carrots)
2 large eggs
30ml milk
150g plain flour
pinch of salt
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1½ teaspoons caraway seeds, coarsely ground or crushed
25g poppy seeds

300g full-fat cream cheese
75g icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
25g poppy seeds

1 . Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4 and grease the tin.

2 In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the carrot, eggs and milk along with a tablespoon or two of the flour. Mix the remaining flour, salt, baking powder, coriander seeds, caraway seeds and poppy seeds in a separate bowl then add all to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined.

3 Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out with no more than a crumb or two stuck to it. Let cool for a few minutes in its tin before unmoulding and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

4 For the icing, strain any excess liquid from the cheese – this is to avoid a runny icing. Stir the cream cheese until smooth then add the icing sugar, lemon zest and poppy seeds, mixing just until combined.

5 Halve the cooled cake horizontally, using a large, serrated knife. Perfectly even layers aren’t always easy to achieve – I tend to just remedy the inevitably wonky cake with extra icing to balance it.

6 Dollop half of the icing on the bottom circle of cake and spread gently to cover the layer. Sandwich with the upper layer, and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides.

Even though the cake that came out wasn't the classic carrot cake that I was expecting, I really enjoyed this fragrant cake...and it didn't last long. The typical cinnamon flavour is replaced with caraway, which I would definitely recommend!


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