Carrot cake is an absolute classic, with a wonderful combination of flavours and textures that really elevate it beyond the norm. This marvellous creation also lends itself well to some healthy twists. As well as making this free from added sugar we use a combination of self-raising flour and ground almonds which also improves the texture. In addition to lots of grated carrots, we also add in plenty of nuts and dried fruit. We recommend using rapeseed oil rather than sunflower or vegetable oil as it is much higher in monounsaturated fats (often called “healthy fats” because they help to prevent heart disease, inflammation and diabetes). Rapeseed oil is often produced from GM crops so we recommend using organic or UK produced oil.
For the carrot cake:
105g self-raising flour
45g ground almonds
1 tsp mixed spice
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
40g pecans, toasted and chopped
3 medium eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
120ml organic rapeseed oil
105g granulated erythritol
90g chopped dates
180g carrots, grated
Pinch of salt
For the mascarpone topping:
150g mascarpone or cream cheese
1 ½ tbsp powdered erythritol
Zest of 1 orange and a squeeze of juice
40g pecans, toasted and left whole
1. First prepare the dates by covering them with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes before draining and blitzing to form a smooth puree (adding in a little water if needed).
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
3. Toast 80g of pecans and set aside.
4. In a large bowl crack in the eggs, add the erythritol and beat together with a whisk.
5. Add the oil and vanilla extract and whisk well to combine.
6. Fold in the self-raising flour, ground almonds, bicarb, salt and mixed spice.
7. Grate the carrots and add them and the dates into the wet ingredients and stir well.
8. Finally add the raisins and 40g of the nuts (once chopped) and mix well to combine.
9. Pour the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for around 45 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (I find a piece of dried spaghetti works very well for this).
10. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
11. Meanwhile make the topping by putting the mascarpone into a large bowl with the powdered erythritol, orange juice and half the zest, and beat well until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
12. Once the cake is cooled, spread the topping on the cake and decorate with the remaining zest and pecans.