Spiced Carrot Traybake

Carrot cake is one of my all-time favourite desserts and this traybake is no exception: bursting with juicy sultanas, tangy pineapple and, of course, the mighty carrot. When I was younger, the bakery at the top of my road used to keep a slice of carrot cake aside for me on Saturdays – nowadays my carrot cake affection is still going strong, though admittedly I don’t eat it quite so often! With finals well under way (and oh-so-nearly over), this is another bake to motivate me through to the end – the carrot cake recipe is adapted from one in The Farmyard Cookbook, and the frosting is adapted from this recipe by Delia.

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Recipe | Spiced Carrot Traybake 

Ingredients for the cake:

  • 125g soft dark brown sugar
  • 125g margarine
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 175g wholemeal flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Zest of ½ an orange
  • 125g grated carrot
  • 25g sultanas
  • 25g pineapple, cut into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

Ingredients for the frosting:

  • 250g mascarpone
  • ½ teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Zest of ½ an orange

Method:

  1. Begin by preparing the carrot, orange and pineapple. Grate the carrot and set aside. Zest the orange, and split the pile of zest roughly in half. Squeeze the juice out of the orange into a measuring jug or small bowl. Chop pineapple into small chunks (if your pineapple comes in small chunks, ignore this step).
  2. Next, cream the margarine and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Beat in the eggs.
  4. Stir in the flour, a little at a time (so you don’t end up with a wholemeal snowstorm in your kitchen); then add the ground mixed spice, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the sultanas, zest, pineapple and carrot to the mixture and mix thoroughly.
  6. Mix in the milk and orange juice (that you squeezed earlier, not the carton stuff).
  7. Line a 20cm x 20cm tin with foil and tip the mixture in; make sure to spread it around the tin evenly. Bake for 40 minutes at 175°C, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean; once baked, transfer immediately to a wire rack and leave to cool.
  8. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. First, drain any excess liquid from the mascarpone. Then put the mascarpone, ground mixed spice and sugar in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Blend in the zest and orange juice, then put it in the fridge until it comes to decorating.
  9. Once the cake is completely cool, smother the icing on top and cut into squares.
  10. Top with mini chocolate carrots (or nuts if you prefer) and enjoy!

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Tips:

  • Low-fat mascarpone/ cream cheese has no place here, and since it can change the consistency of the frosting it’s best left well alone.
  • If, like me, you buy ‘budget’ sultanas, it’s worth removing any pesky stalks before you tip them all into the mixture.
  • For British readers, the little chocolate carrots are available in Sainsbury’s.
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