What is everyone doing this Easter holiday? Me and Scott are travelling up to the midlands (north of the Watford gap so I say we’re going up north 😉 but its technically the midlands!) to visit his family which I’m really looking forward too. I wanted to take something a bit more personal than the usual Easter eggs so I decided to bake cakes! (although we still have plenty of brightly coloured chocolate eggs for the kids, somehow I think a gluten free Venetian carrot cake may be disappointing to them!) Scott’s mum has celiac disease which means she cannot eat wheat and gluten so this was a perfect time to have a go at some gluten free baking.
Carrot cake feels very easter friendly and I found this Nigella Lawson “Venetian Carrot Cake” recipe when I was browsing online. I decided to try it because it was so different to cake recipes I had seen before. It uses ground almonds, carrots, sultanas soaked in rum and olive oil instead of butter!
The problem with baking a cake as a present is that you can’t cut it open or taste it without ruining the look of it. Because this recipe was so different to anything I’d tried before and i really wanted it to be perfect I actually made two. The cake pictured here is my first attempt which, although delicious, had its flaws. I found that my oven was too hot so the top darkened too far and the middle was a little dense. Also I felt it could do with a little more carrot.
For my second cake I turned the oven down from 180c to 160c because mine is a fan oven and I think that is why my first cake cooked too quickly. I also checked it after 25 mins, 30 mins and finally took it out after 35 mins. Maybe I was a bit paranoid but it was a much lighter golden colour and it felt cooked through.
I found some parts of the recipe really frustrating as it was not very descriptive, for example at one point it says “…when well whisked, fold in the ground almonds…” As someone who is unfamiliar with using olive oil in a cake I had no idea at what point my mixture would be “well whisked’. I kept whisking but it never turned the fluffy pale cream a cake with butter would so I just went along with it.
A part from that each stage was quite simple to follow and I felt I was getting each stage done quickly and correctly. Which is a change from the often messy rush my baking can turn in to 🙂 the end result is a deliciously sweet, crumbly, carrot cake which is completely different from any other carrot cake I have ever tried.
What’s your favourite baked good for Easter? I can’t resist hot cross buns freshly toasted with lashings of butter 🙂