FRUIT IN YOUR CAKE
Amazon is a wily and intelligent company that always manages to bring to the fore my compulsive cookbook-buying nature. It must be waiting just below the surface and it is waiting for me to switch on my computer to come raging out. Sometimes I don't even need to go into their homepage to get tempted. I receive emails reminding me exactly of all the things I like, cookies appear as soon as I open the explorer window, again, filled with exactly all the books I want. How can they know what I want before I do? I tell you, marketing is a dangerous science because even when you feel steered into what they want you to buy, the necessity is already created and in 5 minutes, there you are, with your screen filled with your shopping basket and the "1 click buy it all" button about to be pressed.
A couple of weeks ago I decided that I needed a treat and so I decided to buy David Lebovitz's "My Paris Kitchen", which incidentally I have LOVED and have already made three dishes from. Ok, so there I am, selecting David's book when I suddenly spy (probably in the "customers also bought - which is another dangerous tool) the Honey & Co cookbooks. They have two, so double the usual temptation. I had been hearing lovely things about them, I had read some of their Guardian cook residencycolumns and apart from being intrigued about what they cooked I just felt like I really liked them without even knowing them. They are a couple who both come from Israel but who now own a small restaurant in London and they seemed both so down to earth and so into food and cooking, that I loved them from the start.
All this was going through one side of my head (the chimpanzee part), while the other rational part of my head was reminding me of all the cookbooks I already owned, some of them which I still hadn't read cover to cover, when, suddenly, Amazon managed to tip the scales onto the buying option in a second. These books were 6.99 and 12.99 pounds each. The price of a paperback! I was lost. I clicked the one-click buy it all button and added Nigel Slater's last book to the pile for good measure (in my defense, it was also quite cheap and I will buy no more cookbooks this year).
Usually I am the happiest person on earth when I spy an amazon brown box headed to my doorstep, but this time (oh Amazon how I love you), they knew that 4 books at once would be too much even for me and they decided to spread things out. I got David's first, so it got my undivided attention for a couple of days and then, as any child would do, as soon as the box with the other 3 came along, I was so excited that I didn't know where to begin. I went through all the pages quickly, as I always do, just getting an idea of what is in each book, probably reading some introductions and now I am at the point where I have bookmarks on all 4 books with the point I have reached in the extensive careful reading.
Today's recipe comes from a section of Honey & Co's baking book called "5 a day". As soon as I saw that a section of the book had that title and contained recipes for everyday cakes with fruit or vegetables in the batter, I felt like Amazon had been right, I just had to get a book with exactly the kind of baking I need. There are also some guilty pleasures in there and I am not saying this cake will make you thinner, but adding carrots and an apple make me feel better with myself than adding 250gr butter followed by 250gr refined sugar. You also get the option of doing what you like with the cream cheese icing. You are given the recipe at the beginning of the chapter but, at the same time you are told that even among the couple that Honey & Co is, they have their different opinions. She likes it without the icing and he adds it to everything. I am going with her option because this is a cake I want for breakfast or as a snack in the afternoon, not a birthday cake.
The addition of the apple to a quite traditional carrot cake is something I have not seen before, but judging by the end result, it is all to the good. Everyone who tried it loved it, so I am not being biased here when I tell you it is quite the perfect cake.
Oops, I realized that if you just resisted the emails and the cookies, here I am, reminding you that you should spend your money in a company that is not hiring me! Forget everything I just wrote and make this cake!
• 80g walnuts
• 100g plain flour (I used rice flour)
• 75gr wholemeal flour
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground ginger
• a pinch of table salt
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 3 grated carrots, peeled and grated (175gr)
• 1 large apple, peeled and grated (50g)
• 250gr brown sugar (I used a little less)
• 175g/185ml vegetable oil (such as sunflower or rapeseed)
• 2 eggs
1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Butter a 1kg loaf tin and line the base and sides with a sheet of baking paper, leaving a little overhang at the sides. Once the oven is hot, roast the walnuts for 10 mins. Leave to cool a little before chopping roughly.
2. Mix the flours, spices, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the grated carrot, grated apple and chopped nuts.
3. Place the sugar and oil in a large bowl (or you could use a mixer with a whisk attachment) and whisk together until combined. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and keep whisking until you have a lovely emulsified texture, a little like mayonnaise. Get rid of the whisk. Use a spatula or large spoon to stir in the carrots, apple and nuts. Fold in the remaining ingredients and combine to an even concistency.
4. Transfer the batter to the lined loaf tin and bake for 35 mins. Turn the tin around for an even bake and leave for a further 20-25 minutes. The end result should be lovely and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven when a toothpick/knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
5. Allow to cool in the tin before removing. This will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Adapted from "Honey & Co. The Baking Book"