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Carrot Cake

With Kim Evans

Carrot Cake

Studded with ginger, dates and chocolate, this Carrot Cake is thoroughly addictive.

1/2 cup walnuts
2 cups fl our
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
4 eggs
1 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups grated carrot
2 Tbsp chopped Candied Orange Peel
1 Tbsp chopped crystallised ginger
100g good-quality chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped dates

To decorate
1 recipe Cream Cheese Icing
Candied Carrots to garnish

Makes one 23cm cake

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease a 23cm cake tin and line the bottom and sides with baking paper cut to fit exactly.
2. Place walnuts on a baking tray and roast for 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. Sift flour, baking powder and spices into a large mixing bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until combined. Add oil and sugar and beat to combine.
5. Add grated carrot, roasted walnuts, Candied Orange Peel, crystallised ginger, chocolate and dates, and combine. Add to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
6. Spoon batter into prepared cake tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
7. Let the cake cool completely in the tin before turning out and peeling off the baking paper.
8. Ice the top with Cream Cheese Icing and garnish with Candied Carrots

Candied Orange Peel
peel of 10 oranges
3 cups caster sugar

1. Place orange peel in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover and bring to the boil.
2. Drain, then repeat this process.
3. Place orange peel and 2 cups sugar in saucepan with enough cold water to cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the peel is almost translucent. Keep checking water level to make sure it doesn't boil dry.
4. Remove from heat, drain and leave to cool. Transfer orange peel to a tray lined with baking paper and leave to dry overnight.
5. The following day, dip the pieces of orange peel in the remaining 1 cup caster sugar to coat. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Cream Cheese Icing
Makes 3 1/2 cups

125g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
500g cream cheese, cubed
1 cup icing sugar, sifted

1. Thoroughly cream butter in an electric mixer on high speed, continuously scraping down sides of bowl.
2. Soften cream cheese by squeezing through your fingers and add to butter. Continue beating on high until there are no lumps, scraping down sides of bowl frequently.
3. Turn mixer to slow speed and add sifted icing sugar. When icing sugar is fully integrated, turn up speed and beat until mixture is smooth. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Candied Carrots
3 carrots
3 cups caster sugar

1. Peel carrots in long strips as thick as you can get with a peeler. They need to be as long as the length of the carrot, and thick enough to stop them from breaking into smaller pieces.
2. Place strips in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover, add caster sugar and bring to the boil. Turn heat down and simmer until translucent - this can take up to 2 hours. Keep checking the water level to make sure it doesn't boil dry.
3. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Store carrot in sugar syrup in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Kitchen Notes
Candied fruits and vegetables should not be stored in the refrigerator, as we find this crystallises the sugar.

Reproduced with permission from Treats from Little and Friday by Kim Evans.
Published by Penguin Group NZ. Copyright © Kim Evans, 2012

(Broadcast: 26 Apr 2012)