A celebratory carrot cake with a super decadent cream cheese topping.

Now here's a weird thing for you. Just recently I made this(again and again as it happens).

So often in fact that I had almost run out of Brandy. I really couldn't face going back to the shops but all was not lost. Tenants had recently left a whole pack of Canadian Club dry cans, something I had never before seen in my life. 

Well, I'm not proud. I made up the shortfall(about half as it goes) with the fizzy, alcoholic drink and I swear, but I swear, that it worked incredibly well, in fact adding to the lightness of the cake. Far be it from me to push you in that direction but just shows what a little impro can do.

 

Ingredients

 

200 ml Maple Syrup

Juice and zest of 1 orange

120 ml Brandy

150 ml water

180gm carrots, peeled and grated

100 gm butter

90gm raisins

90 gm dates, chopped

2 tbs coconut, desiccated

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ freshly grated nutmeg

225 gm self raising flour (can use half or even all wholemeal but in which case, sift and lightly fold bran back in)

2 tsp bicarbonate soda

120g walnuts, shelled weight

 

For the Topping

 

150 gm cream cheese (Philadelphia)

150g Crème Fraiche

2 - 3 tbs icing sugar

a few drops vanilla essence, optional

or zest of 1 large lemon

 

Fresh flowers to decorate.

 

Use only edible flowers and make sure they are clean, pesticide free

eg

Daisies, roses, calendula, cornflowers, marigolds, dandelions, carnations, pansies, citrus blossom, hibiscus, honeysuckle, sunflowers, violets, nasturtiums, lavender, elderflower, sprigs of fresh rosemary, mint leaves

 

Method

 

Preheat the oven to 180C

 

Lightly butter and baking parchment line a 22 cm tin.

 

Put all the ingredients, except for the self raising flour, bicarbonate of soda and walnuts into a medium saucepan placed over a medium heat and once boiling, keep going for 1 minute, stirring to prevent burning.

 

Allow the mix to cool till lukewarm and then fold the sifted flour through with the bicarbonate of soda.

 

Finally add the chopped walnuts.

 

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 1 hour, or till a skewer comes out clean.

 

Allow to cool in the tin for the first 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before adding topping.

 

Beat cream cheese together with crème fraîche, icing sugar and lemon zest or vanilla, chill again and use an offset spatula to either spread generously over top or more thinly all over for a “naked” cake look and serve the rest in a separate bowl by the side.

Decorate with flowers from the list above and serve.