Melissa’s Life-Changing Carrot and Olive Oil Cake
Happy March Sybarites! The weather might be baltic with temperatures struggling to creep over 0°, but The Sybarite is super excited to welcome British springtime with open arms. The Easter weekend falls at the end of the month, so we have the perfect healthy carrot cake recipe from Modern Baker to get you excited about the upcoming celebrations.
“Sorry for the melodramatic title of this cake but to be honest it was life-changing for me, so please just go with it. It’s the complex play of the spices that really brings this cake to life. Cloves, cardamom and cinnamon combine to heighten the flavours and aromas to an almost intoxicating level. With 500g of grated carrot in this cake, there’s no getting away from its presence, though it’s surprising how the cake doesn’t really taste of it. Its purpose is to bind in the flour – in this case spelt, that is higher in protein and fibre than wheat. The fruity olive oil unifies all the other flavours. This recipe is so forgiving. Even overcooked, it’s still moist and delicious!” – Melissa Sharp
Makes: 1 x 23cm round cake
Equipment: 23cm round, deep, loose-bottom cake tin
DF – Dairy-Free
- 215 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 250g coconut sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 250g spelt flour
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 tsp salt
- 125g pecans, coarsely chopped
- 500g carrots, grated
- Vanilla cashew nut icing or Maple cream
cheese icing (see below)*:
- Roughly chopped walnuts, for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/Gas mark 5. Line a 23cm round, deep loose bottom cake tin with baking parchment.
2. In a bowl mix together the olive oil, sugar and eggs until well combined.
3. In a second bowl combine the flour and the other dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add the egg and oil mixture and
stir thoroughly until it is all blended. Finally, add the pecans and carrots and mix again.
4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 1-hour 20-minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
5. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10–15 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Once it’s completely cool, top it with
either vanilla cashew nut icing or maple cream cheese icing.
The olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats that are better for your heart than the saturated fats in butter.
Vanilla Cashew Nut Icing
“We have to get really creative when it comes to ‘icing’ our cakes as we don’t use icing sugar. This recipe is one of our go-to icing recipes, it’s really easy to make and absolutely delicious. The basic recipe is for a vanilla icing, but it can easily be adapted to different flavours – we particularly like to add matcha for a vibrant green colour!” – Modern Baker
Equipment: High-speed blender
GF, DF, V+
- 150g unsalted cashew nuts, soaked for At least 4 hours but preferably overnight.
- 300g full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 75g maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g coconut oil, melted
- Drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts.
- Put the nuts in a blender with all the other ingredients and blend until completely smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a container and chill in the fridge until firm.
Tip: We usually leave the icing in the fridge overnight, but around 4-hour should do the trick.
Maple Cream Cheese Icing
“This is our take on classic cream cheese icing. It’s a lot less sweet and totally delicious.”- Modern Baker
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 225g organic full-fat cream cheese, straight from the fridge.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted.
1. Stir the maple syrup into the chilled cream cheese until completely combined.
2. Add the melted coconut oil and mix very quickly to prevent lumps from forming.
‘Modern Baker: A New Way To Bake‘ by Melissa Sharp with Lindsay Stark is out now (Ebury Press, RRP £26) and Modern Baker’s range of healthy baked goods are available in Selfridges (London, Birmingham, Manchester Trafford and Manchester Exchange), Planet Organic and their Oxford-based cafe-bakery at 214 Banbury Road, OX2 7BY.