Carrot and Coconut Cake

Although I used to abhor desiccated coconut on the luridly coloured little cakes we had for tea at school, I later discovered that its use in baking need not always be scorned.

The tropical island of Bali is the last place you would expect to find carrot cake, but in a little tea house in the hills I ate a memorable one, made with coconut. When I tried to reproduce it I developed the best carrot cake I have made to date.

Ingredients

  • 175 g/6 oz caster sugar
  • 2 rounded tablespoons clear honey
  • 225 ml/8 fl oz sunflower oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom or mace
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 175 g/6 oz self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 275 g/10 oz carrots, grated
  • 100 g/4 oz unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 100 g/4 oz walnuts, roughly chopped

Method

Butter a 19-20 cm/7½-8 in cake tin (not one with a loose base) and line it with a disc of greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Put the caster sugar and honey into a bowl, add the sunflower oil and whisk until well mixed. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until amalgamated. Continue whisking until the mixture is pale and frothy. Mix the spice and salt into the flour and then whisk the flour into the egg mixture a little at a time until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the carrots, coconut and chopped walnuts and pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Cook in the centre of the oven for 1½-1¾ hours, until a small, sharp knife stuck into the centre comes out clean. If the top of the cake begins to look too brown, lay a piece of greaseproof paper or foil loosely over the top. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool.

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