Before anyone keels over at the thought of having to make the topping on this cake, I don't do it, but have included it in the recipe anyhow. I don't make it partly as neither of us is too keen plus the 'two-legged mouse' demolishes this loaf so quickly there's no time for fancy stuff! It's a quick and easy bake - and always a real hit.
Carrot and raisin cake
For the cake:
200g (7oz) self-raising flour
175g (6oz) soft light brown sugar
150g (5oz) raisins
2 level tsp ground mixed spice
Pinch of salt
150ml (¼ pint) sunflower oil
3 medium eggs
250g (8oz) carrots, peeled and grated
For the topping:
200g carton cream cheese
3 level tbsp icing sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Sugarpaste or marzipan carrots, for decoration, optional
1kg (2lb) loaf tin, buttered and lined with a strip of baking parchment. I use those pre-formed greaseproof paper 'loaf tin liners' - you can buy them in Lakeland and I also spotted them in The Range last week.
Set the oven to gas mark 4 or 180°C.
To make the cake: Tip the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar, raisins, mixed spice and salt.
Beat the sunflower oil and eggs together and add to the dry ingredients and carrots, then stir until well mixed. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin.
Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for about 1 hr, until it is just firm to the touch in the centre, and a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the cake.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for about 10 mins.
Turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the topping: Beat together the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon zest. Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate with the sweet 'carrots', if liked.
How to freeze: The undecorated cake may be wrapped in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 3 months (as IF, in this house!!). Allow the cake to defrost before decorating it with the cream cheese topping.
Things I do: I use large eggs and it works just fine by the way, I do use a whisker less than the quantity of sunflower oil though. It's a lovely moist cake and isn't at all oily - although I do wait until Len's out of the way when I'm measuring out the ingredients . I suspect his eyebrows would shoot up at the sunflower oil but what he doesn't see won't harm him :)