It was a cake day, the first in a long time. It ended up a bittersweet cooking effort, since the cake tasted fantastic, but it was a bit undercooked in the centre and the icing was lumpy – my own fault, since some of the lemon zest bits were larger than they should have been.
It didn’t stop the cake disappearing in almost record time, but I’m keen to try again and see if I can fix the problems.
The cake comes from The New Nordic, which I am continuing to explore since the flavours and ideas it has offered so far have been exactly to my taste.
The undercooked issue is probably related to me using the wrong sized baking dish (8-inch, not 9-inch), though I did cook it longer to compensate. It may also relate to my decision to use coconut oil, which is obviously a much different weight and texture to the sunflower oil that was listed in the recipe. A third possibility is that my oven seems to run a little cooler than it ought to, and I consistently have to use slightly higher temperatures. There’s obviously room for me to experiment a bit further and see exactly what went wrong.
There is a quote from physicist Niels Bohr (a hero of mine, and a Nobel Laureate) that seems appropriate here: “An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field.”
In that case, I’m well on my way, since I’m piling up the mistakes at a good rate of knots. Don’t blame the cake, all the faults here are distinctly of my own making.
Carrot & cardamom cake
On highest setting, use electric whisk to beat, for about 5 minutes:
225ml oil (the recipe said sunflower, which I don’t use any more in cooking. Given the flavours involved, I thought coconut oil would work, so I used that).
310g caster sugar
Keep beating while you add:
170g grated carrot (was about 2 medium)
3 eggs (one by one), then:
240g plain flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp crushed cardamon seeds (if you like cardamom, you could use a little more, it was quite subtle)
1 tsp bicarb
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix well, then add:
40g chopped walnuts
Grease a 9-inch cake tin and pour in the batter. Cook at 200C for 30-35 minutes. Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then put it on a site rack to cool completely. My decision to use an 8-inch pan probably affected the outcome and I won’t do it again!
200g cream cheese (I used low fat Philadelphia)
200g butter (I used only 100g, which seemed like enough to me and tasted good)
180g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon (it kept slipping off the grater without effect, so I used a potato peeler to take off a fine layer and then chopped it as finely as I could be bothered. Consequently, the icing was not as smooth as it should have been).
Don’t ice until the cake is completely cold.
Verdict: Certainly one I will cook again, since the flavours were divine.