I’m more a Nigel or Hugh FW man than a Nigella lover; but there she was in a seemingly endless run of her programs one afternoon. Playing in the background, really, as I sipped on a glass of Port and read the Hobbit on my Kindle. As Smaug flew over Long Lake down to a fatal coupling over Esgaroth I caught mention of the ‘original’ carrot cake; hailing according to the pouting lips of Nigella, from Italy.
A scrabble under the sofa and a pen and note book are retrieved to record this interesting sounding recipe. Two large carrots… grate by hand, not in a machine as this makes them too wet… 150g caster sugar… 125ml olive oil but not extra virgin “too grassy”… ok got all that… whisk in 3 eggs, add a teaspoon of vanilla, add the ground almonds… Ok, how much? I ask. Nigella ignores me. How rude I thought. But then she is on the telly and I’m lounging on the sofa spilling vintage port over a note book.
Oh the joys of YouView, where you can rewind live programs. I listen intently but no, Nigella steadfastly refuses to divulge the quantity of the ground almonds she adds to the mix. I assume this is a purposeful ploy to get all to buy her book
… but not me, oh no. Not falling for that one! No sir-ree.
As it happens I have all the ingredients in the store cupboard. A miracle in itself. And I cobble together from various opened packets – don’t look at the use by dates! – just under 250g ground almonds. Which seems about right to me, based on other ground almond type cakes at any rate. I therefore rustle up a version of Nigellas Italian Carrot Cake and hope for the best. The result is rather tasty.
Photos: Italian Carrot Cake
Italian Carrot Cake Recipe
- 2 Large Carrots grated, moisture drained
- 150g caster sugar
- 125ml ordinary olive oil
- 3 eggs
- 250g ground almonds
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- Pinch nutmeg
- half a lemon zest and juice
- 75g golden sultanas
- 60ml golden rum
- handful of pinenuts
- 250g double cream
- 2 tsp icing sugar
- 2 tbsp rum
- Oven to 180C. Line and grease a 23cm springform cake tin.
- Soak the golden sultanas in the rum (Nigella heated hers).
- Grate the carrots and drain off/squeeze out any access liquid.
- Lightly toast the pinenuts in a dry pan. allow to cool.
- Whisk together the sugar and olive oil until creamy.
- Continuing whisking and add the vanilla, the eggs and nutmeg.
- When combined fold in the ground almonds, the carrots, the sultanas and soaking rum, lemon zest and juice.
- Pour mixture into the tin, scatter over the pinenuts and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Once cooked allow to cool a little before removing from the tin.
- For the cream whisk until stiff peaks and add the icing sugar and rum. I believe Nigella used mascarpone cheese rather than double cream.