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Simnel-spiced carrot cake

Simnel-spiced carrot cake

PT1H20M

With Easter just around the corner, it’s time to turn thoughts to how to feed a crowd of family or friends over the long weekend. While Simnel cake topped with twelve marzipan balls to represent the apostles is traditional festive fare, this year I’m keeping the Easter bunny sweet (and hopefully generous with the chocolate supplies) by baking this beautifully simple carrot cake inspired by the same flavours.

Adding orange juice-soaked sultanas and ground almonds to the batter makes this little loaf cake moist and delicious, with crunch from the walnuts and flaked almonds and a rich cream cheese icing on top. For a dairy-free version, replace the icing with sweetened whipped coconut cream or serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt on the side.

Ingredients

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1
In a small bowl, combine the sultanas, orange juice and zest and leave to steep for 1 hour
2
Preheat the oven 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease a 1kg loaf tin with sunflower oil and line the base and sides with baking parchment
3
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and spices into a medium bowl. Stir in the ground almonds and walnuts
4
In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs until pale and thick
5
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet, followed by carrots and soaked sultanas
6
Scrape the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 1 hour or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
7
Remove from the oven, run a knife round the edge of the cake then leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
8
To make the icing, beat together the mascarpone, icing sugar and orange zest. Spread over the top of your cooled cake then sprinkle over the flaked almonds
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9
Un-iced, the cake will keep in an airtight container for 4–5 days. Once iced, store at room temperature for 24 hours or transfer to an airtight container in the fridge
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