Carrot cake is carrot cake is carrot cake, isn’t it? The sweetness of the carrots, the tooth-aching sugariness of the buttercream on top. This carrot cake is not like that, that’s why I decided to make it after seeing Nigella Lawson make it on television. She calls it Venetian Carrot Cake, I don’t know the logic behind the name, but it is certainly different from any other carrot cake I have eaten. Less cakey, more fudgy I think because of the presence of ground almonds, crunchy rather than silky carrot, and accompanied by the supposedly-optional mascarpone cream but which you would be a fool to ignore.
For the cake:-
½ cup regular olive oil [not extra virgin]
3 tbsp pine nuts
2 medium carrots
½ cup sultanas
¼ cup rum
¾ cup sugar [she specifies caster sugar but I didn’t have any so used ordinary granulated]
1 tsp vanilla extract
2½ cups ground almonds
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg [below]
½ lemon, zest and juiceFor the mascarpone cream:-
1 cup mascarpone
2 tsp icing sugar
2 tbsp rum Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base of a 9 inch springform, or other round cake tin, with a non-stick silicone layer or baking parchment. Grease the sides of the tin with a little oil.
Heat a small frying pan without oil, and dry toast the pine nuts very lightly [do not let them darken, as they will cook again on top of the cake in the oven].
Grate the carrots in a food processor, then leave them to rest on kitchen towel [above] to soak up any excess juice. Put the sultanas in a small saucepan with the rum, bring to the boil over a medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Leave to stand off the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and ½ cup of olive oil until creamily mixed together.In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla essence until lightly combined.Add the eggs to the sugar and oil mixture. Fold in the ground almonds. Nutmeg, carrots, sultanas and any remaining rum, lemon zest and juice. Fold gently together.Scrape the mixture into the cake tin and level the surface. Bang the tin on the worktop to eliminate any large bubbles. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top.Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out sticky but more or less clean. This is a dense, fudgy cake and will not rise high in the tin. Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Cool before serving.To make the mascarpone cream, simply combine all ingredients together in a bowl, and serve with the cake.
5 to remember
veneciano/a – Venetian
la lógica – logic
crujiente – crunchy
sedoso/a – silky
el ron – rum