Long before sweet potatoes became brownies and avocados became chocolate mousse, there was carrot cake. The original vegetable dessert. This treat has won over generations without ever having to justify itself as guilt free or free from. It never demonised lemon drizzle or tried to replace coffee cake. It was a beautiful entity in its own right and stood tall and proud alongside its peers on the cake display. I rather like carrot cake for this reason. It has never claimed to be anything it’s not and, as a result, it has been wholeheartedly embraced and enjoyed by many in a way I think courgette cupcakes never will. Perhaps the new outlandish health desserts should take note of carrot cake’s humility. Who knows. One day we may just find cauliflower rice pudding at our local Starbucks. Although on that horrific thought, I rather hope we don’t!
Of course, I do love a twist when it comes to dessert but rather than swapping or substituting, I wanted to create a fusion. Something that celebrates two incredible cakes in one. The equally divine concept of Victoria sponge with its raspberry jam sandwich makes the perfect additional element to the carrot sponge. Light sweetness meets sharp spices and each slice is full of surprise. It’s a treat that needs very little by way of promotion because you only need to imagine it to know it will taste brilliant. But, if you needed that extra bit of reassurance, you probably ought to make it for yourself to be certain!
- 2 1/4 cups wholegrain spelt flour
- 2 3/4 cups course grated carrots
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil (plus extra for greasing)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
For the raspberry jam
- 1 cup fresh or thawed raspberries
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
For the cashew cream (Double if you want to put cream in the centre too).
- 1/4 cup cashews (soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes then drained)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
- 4 tablespoons water
- Pinch of salt
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
Sift your flour, baking powder and baking soda into a mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk or blend your eggs, maple syrup and coconut oil until completely smooth. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt and mix again.
Add your egg mixture and carrots to the flour and mix well, ensuring there are no dry patches of flour left.
Grease two sandwich cake tins with coconut oil and distribute the cake batter evenly between them. Place in the over for 25-30 minutes, until you can insert and knife into the centre and it comes out clean. (While your cake is baking, make your jam and cream).
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before carefully flipping each cake out onto a plate. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
For the jam
Simply place the raspberries in a bowl and mash until smooth. Whisk in the chia seeds and let sit for at least 20 minutes. (The longer you leave it, the more set it will be. You can do this as early as the night before you make your cake).
For the cream
Blend the cashews, lemon juice, vanilla, water and maple syrup until smooth and creamy.
Assembling the cake
To assemble the cake, take one of the carrot cakes and spread a layer of the jam across the top, about 1/2 a cm from the edge. Place the second carrot cake on top of the jam and press down slightly. Spread the cashew cream across the top of the second cake and add an extra sprinkling of raspberries of leftover jam for decoration.
Slice, serve and enjoy!