To me this cake is impossible to resist. Moist and gooey, it can very well be eaten with nothing except a fine sprinkling of icing sugar on the top, or you can sandwich it, top it or ice it completely with cream or curd cheese, softened and sweetened with icing sugar. Grated parsnips are an excellent alternative to carrots, using ground mace and whole caraway seeds as the spices instead of cinnamon.
Carrot cake keeps well in an airtight tin, or wrapped in foil, and can be made several days before eating. The addition of chopped nuts is optional, but I think it makes all the difference to the taste as well as the texture.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4. Have ready a buttered 20cm (8in) deep round cake tin lined with a disc of greased greaseproof paper or baking parchment. If the top of the cake begins to look a little too brown before it is completely baked, lay a piece of foil lightly over the surface and continue baking.
Beat 175g (6oz) caster sugar with 2 rounded tablespoons honey and 250ml (8fl oz) sunflower oil until well mixed. Beat in 3 large eggs (size 1), one at a time, beating well after each addition until pale and frothy.
Stir in 175g (6oz) self-raising wholemeal flour, alittle at a time, then stir in 2teaspoons ground cinnamon, ½teaspoon salt, 300g (l0oz) grated carrots, and 150g (5oz) chopped pecans or walnuts. Stir until well mixed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 1½-1¾ hours until a thin skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, heave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the tin and peel off the base paper. Put the cake base-side down on a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the top with icing sugar or fine demerara sugar just before serving, if you like, or ice as suggested above.