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Carrot Tops Cake

Spiced Carrot Tops Cake with Cream Cheese Icing.

Carrot tops can be used for stir-fries, pesto and stews…but they can also be used in CAKE! This cake is quite simple to make, it’s green and it tastes very good! For a quicker version, make cupcakes, skip the syrup and go straight for the icing.



Equipment:

· A high-speed blender (like a Nutri Bullet) or liquidiser to make the carrot top puree.

· A 9” cake tin, lined. Grease and flour the sides. A slightly smaller or large tin can be used; it will just affect the cooking times.

· Alternatively, make cupcakes or mini loaves (reduce the cooking time)


For the cake:

The puree

· The tops of around 8-12 carrots (one large bunch)*, chopped roughly. Washed and drained well.

· 260g vegetable oil


Dry Ingredients

· 180g Plain flour

· 2 tsp baking powder*

· 380g caster sugar (although brown sugar is probably fine!)

· 1 tsp salt

· Around 1 tbsp flavouring: a mix of herbs and spices to flavour the cake. I used a mix of fresh thyme leaves, ground ginger, cinnamon and mixed spice. Adapt it to suit your taste (you can taste the batter and adjust)

Wet Ingredients

· 4 eggs

· 1 tsp vanilla extract

Syrup:

· Zest and juice of one lemon

· 5 cardamom pods, crushed

· Water

The icing

· 100g softened butter

· 100g icing sugar, sifted

· 200g cream cheese

· A flavour: I used cinnamon to taste. Try orange zest, mixed spice, ginger or cardamom.



*The number of carrot tops used will change how fibrous the oil mixture is. If it’s thin, then 2tsp of baking powder will be fine. If it’s very dense, add another teaspoon of baking powder.


Instructions

1. Pre-heat an oven to 180°C

2. Make the puree by blending oil and carrot tops to a smooth, consistent puree. Start with a handful of tops in the oil and add more as it blends. It will look like a horrible green smoothie!

3. Whisk the dry ingredients together to remove any lumps.

4. Whisk together the puree with the wet ingredients (egg and vanilla).

5. Slowly mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Make sure everything is thoroughly combined, with no lumps of flour.

6. Pour the batter into the lined cake tins.

7. Bake for 30-40minutes or until cooked (check after 30). It may be hard to tell when it is cooked due to the dark colour. Use a toothpick or small, sharp knife to check. It’s better to over-bake than under-bake this one!

8. Leave to cool completely, preferably overnight

9. When the cake is cool, slice it in half to make a sandwich cake.

10. Make the syrup: crush the cardamom pods and add to a small pan with the lemon zest. Add the lemon juice and an equal quantity of cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until slightly syrupy. Sieve the syrup into a jug and allow it to cool to room temperature. Drizzle the syrup onto the cake halves using a spoon, to moisten the cake. Don’t use all the syrup if the cake looks too wet. Leftover syrup can be used as a cordial for a refreshing beverage!

11. Make the icing. Beat the butter with a hand whisk or in a stand mixer. Or by hand, if you can be bothered. When the butter is very soft and whipped, add the icing sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Beat until it is pale and fluffy. Add any flavourings at this stage. Fold in the cream cheese with a spatula or wooden spoon, until combined. Taste and check for flavouring.

12. Ice the bottom half of the cake and replace the top. Finish the top with more icing.

The cake should keep for around 3 days in a cool, dry

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