Ottolenghi Carrot Cake

“Gilbert reached across the aisle, picked up the end of Anne’s long red braid, held it out at arm’s length, and said in a piercing whisper:“Carrots! Carrots!”

Then Anne looked at him with a vengeance!….Thwack! Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert’s head and cracked it – slate, not head, clear across”

L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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I do love a good dollop of nostalgia. Passages from childhood favourites make me laugh again, and I once again become enveloped in a tiny world where all that matters is becoming Top Swot of the class, having a dress with the puffiest of puffed sleeves, and beating that Gilbert Blythe.

Whilst Anne Shirley might not have been a big fan of carrots, I most certainly am. Carrots in cake? Even better.

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I must own around ten or eleven different recipes for carrot cake, all so varied and manifestly separate – from the easy children’s cookbook recipe, to the fruity slabs from Geraldene Holt’s book, the trendy Ottolenghi version, the triple layered offering from the Hummingbird Bakery, then Peggy Porschen, and Dan Lepard’s Arabian Nights version to name but a few.

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With so many carrot cake recipes, seriously, how’s a girl going to choose? I fancied something airy rather than dense, yet still full of flavours, chopped nuts, and shreds of finely grated carrot.

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So Ottolenghi it was.  It looked straightforward, airy, and more importantly, everybody online raved about how good it was. Although many Ottolenghi cake recipes in that cookbook have been hit-and-miss for me, I knew that I had to give it a go.

Others online commented how easily it sank in the oven, but thankfully, this one didn’t! I piped on some dots all over the top at first, but it didn’t look quite right, so away with the palette knife, and sweeping swirls was the icing order of the day.

I was tempted to adapt the recipe, but stuck to my guns and followed it exactly as written. I’m extremely pleased at how it turned out – both light, fluffy, and satisfyingly substantial.

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I’m in a really spring-ish frame of mind, now that the snowdrops are everywhere, the daffodils are blooming, and I’m actually seeing a spot of daylight during the morning and evenings! Being my favourite season of the year, I’m going to relish it and make the most of it.

Just for fun, here are some other great spring-themed baking bits and bobs to get you into the mood:

This amazing bee-hive shaped lemon cake, complete with cute marzipan bees

Duck egg-blue, egg shaped measuring cups from Anthropologie

Creme egg brownies, perfect for Easter

Currant-dotted Easter biscuits perhaps using this rabbit-shaped cookie cutter?

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