Cake or diet? Cake or diet?


Its January, everyone is on a diet, and my thighs are looking more wobbly and spam-like on a daily basis! So really I should be doing a recipe feature on salads or possibly ‘dust” (a Little Britain reference for those who remember!), but bugger it! I like cake, and I really like carrot cake and the fact it contains carrots makes me feel slightly better! It is after a vegetable!

Carrot cake is generally pretty easy to make, grated carrot being added to the cake batter, its normally holds up pretty well and is a good option for those whose sponges sink (mine too often do), as it tends to be a pretty sturdy cake, which produces good results. Normally covered in a topping of sweetened cream cheese, they are often moist enough to become a delicious if sometimes heavy dessert.

So this week I have been making carrot cakes by the oven full, and here are my best online recipes!

Carrot and Sultana Cake

The Hairy Bikers Carrot and Sultana Cake

BBC Food 

Starting with one of the absolute best, and unfortunately one of the most expensive, this recipe is gorgeous, and being from those lovely boys the Hairy Bikers, it is of course very indulgent! This cake as well as the obligatory carrots has sultanas and pecan nuts, giving it a luxurious scrummy taste. It is very moist and sweet, the topping of course is made from cream cheese (the full fat version in this recipe) and a little orange juice, which works perfectly with the cake which also has a hint of orange. I adored this recipe and the cakes that ensue from it, indulgent enough for a family treat, they really are very good.

Low Fat Moist Carrot Cake

Low Fat Moist Carrot Cake 

Delia Online

We can always trust Delia to come up with the goods!, and this low fat carrot cake most definitely ticks all the boxes. A good portion of ‘cake guilt’ is removed in the knowledge of those words ‘low fat’, and the taste is super enough to ensure you still feel like you are enjoying a treat! This version of carrot cake is very light tasting and the topping, made with Quark (a low fat skimmed milk soft cheese) is flavoured with vanilla, which gives the whole cake a delicious warm sweetness. Unusually for a carrot cake, it uses a sugar syrup (whereby the cake is stabbed whilst still warm and the syrup drizzled over), I had thought this sounded a little like overkill for a carrot cake which can always be counted upon to be moist, but the sugar syrup really works, the cake is sweet and moist but still light!!

Carrot Cake

A Rather Pleasing Carrot Cake with Lime Mascarpone Icing

When Jamie Oliver describes this cake as ‘rather pleasing’, he isn’t fibbing! It has a lovely tangy topping made with mascarpone and lime, and the cake itself is dense enough to be a real treat without being like a brick!  It doesn’t have the cheapest of ingredient lists, but it wont break the bank when made as a treat now and again. I think it was the easiest of all the cakes to make, with the absolute minimum of fuss.  As a rule, however annoying one might find Mr Oliver (and as a fellow Essex native I am absolutely allowed to say that), his recipes normally come up trumps.

Copyright © David Loftus

and finally…..the big cheat

Wrights Carrot Cake Mix!! 

If you are not into baking but want to have a ‘go’ then this is a great alternative, first off, its not as good as the recipes above. Hands down, you cannot beat a home baked carrot cake using fresh carrots, but if you are not a baker, but would like a fresh baked tasty cake, the very easy way, then this mix does a pretty good job! All you will need to add is water and some vegetable oil. The mix does not include any frosting or topping, but the yummy soft cream cheese topping that normally accompanies carrot cake can easily be made with a tub of cream cheese and some icing sugar, just add the icing sugar slowly until you get the required sweetness, and pop it atop your cake! The cake that this mix produces doesn’t have that delicious moist texture which carrot cake made with fresh carrots has, but I actually really liked the cake it did produce!