Carrot Cake Take 2 or Eat It and Weep

Happily, the price of creating edible failures in the kitchen is having to make them again. After all, there’s no way to tell what lessons have been learned without repeating the exercise. I knew when I finished my novel, that even if it wasn’t picked up by a publisher, I would still have to write another, to prove what I had learned.

Bearing in mind the vast quantity of walnuts I ate during the failed experiment, I had to give it a few days before restarting the investigation.

I knew this particular recipe would work, since it is based on the one used by the famous author, Jane Isaac in place of Christmas cake (buy her book, An Unfamiliar Murder, here). She has clearly been through many recipes over the years, in an attempt to find the best ever rendition of her favourite cake, and has taken a combination of Delia’s cake (thank you, Delia) and someone else’s topping. And, quite frankly, if it’s good enough for the elegant Ms Isaac, then it’s damn fine for me!

Except that I can’t use a recipe without altering things. I expect it’s a pathological symptom of some personality malfunction. Dysfunction. Whatever.

Here goes:

The Bastard Child of Jane Isaac’s Carrot Cake.

The number of eggs that gets you as close as possible to 200g eggs (without shells).

The same amount of sugar  (my eggs came to 221g so that’s how much sugar I put in). I used two thirds molasses, one third white. Is supposed to be soft brown.

120ml melted butter (should be sunflower oil).

Whisk the above till you have a smooth batter.

Sift in 175g white self raising flour (should’ve been wholemeal), and make the 221g up with bran. Didn’t have wholemeal.

Also add 3 rounded tsps mixed spice at this juncture.

You’re supposed to add 3tsp bicarb too, but I don’t like the taste, and with the balance of eggs to dry ingredients, it ought to rise anyway.

Fold in and beat like … Like … Well just beat it really hard, you need lots of air in there.

Add in 200g grated carrot, 75g sultanas soaked for so long in brandy, a tablespoon of marmalade and 100g chopped walnuts (should be 175g sultanas, some orange zest and no nuts).

And again, beat like you know what.

Pour into two lined, greased tins and bake for 35-40 mins on a mere 170deg C.

Make a syrup (Jane recommends using juice from half an orange, a tblsp lemon juice and 40g dark brown sugar) out of a scant tablespoon of marmalade, some extra sugar and some water.

When the cakes come out of the oven, stab some holes in ’em and scopp the syrup over.


Take one tub of philly, sift about 4 tablespoons of icing sugar in there and about a teaspoon of marmalade. Whip up about 4 tbsp double cream, and fold that in.

Some for the middle, some for the top, not too much (it’s really sweet) and you’ve got a perfect gorgeous example of what carrot cake should be. Not too sweet, not dry, lovely and moist and moreish.

Now feast your eyes:

Carrot Cake









And the lessons learned regarding the other carrot cake? We … ell … okay, I would guess that flour was the main issue. But that was hardly my fault! Ha. No lessons learned here today!