venetian carrot cake
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This is a lovely cake, squidgy and wet (‘wet’ being the word I’m campaigning for to replace the hateful ‘moist’). I call ‘dog’s breakfast’, after the perfectly logical (to me) train of thought: Venetian Doge – dog – dog’s breakfast.
I stumbled upon this recipe recently and I was amazed to find I didn’t know everything yet about carrot cakes. It featured in Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home and she alleges it was a carrot cake version ‘made by Venetian Jews in the original ghetto’ which preceded the modern day, cream cheese frosted American beauty.
I’m very suspicious about it: google it and the only hits are Nigella’s and copycats’. Also it quite beats me why there are carrots in it: they somehow seem totally non-Venetian foodstuffs. Plus, the Carrot Museum makes no mention of Venice on the page dedicated to the cake and you’d think they’d know a thing or two.
I bet she just made it up, both the recipe and the story. And I don’t blame her at all – it’s absolutely good and gluten-free which might be a plus for some.
venetian carrot cakeServings: 8Time: about an hour
- 200-250g (2 large) carrots
- 3 tbsp. pine nuts
- 75g (3oz) sultanas
- 60ml (¼ cup) rum or sweet wine
- 150g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 125ml (½ cup) olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g (2 cups) ground almonds
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- zest grated from ½ lemon
Prepare a 23cm round cake tin by lining it with parchment and brushing the sides with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
Grate the carrots on a medium grater and squeeze excess liquid with double layered paper towels.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until browned and fragrant.
Bring the sultanas to the boil with the spirits or wine in a small saucepan, simmer for 3 minutes and take off the heat.
Beat the oil and sugar in a large bowl. Add the eggs one by one and beat them well in. Fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg and the lemon zest. Transfer to the prepared tin; sprinkle the pine nuts over the surface of the cake.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes in the tin, unmould and cool completely on a wire rack.