|Une délicieuse recette pour un goûter de rêve
Ginger and Walnut Carrot Cake
This is very different from the richly sweet, loftily layered and aerated American original. While it is in some senses far more reminiscent of an old-fashioned, slightly rustic English teatime treat, it is, with its ginger-spiked cream cheese icing – only on top, not running through the middle as well – just right to bring to the table, in pudding guise, at the end of dinner, too. Before you chop the amber dice of crystallised ginger, rub the cubes between your fingers to remove excess sugar. Then chop them finely, though not obsessively so: you want small nuggets, not a jammy clump. And, for what it’s worth, I find it easier to crumble up the walnuts with my fingers, rather than chopping them on a board.
For the cake:
200 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
175 grams soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs (at room temperature)
200 millilitres vegetable oil (plus more for greasing)
200 grams carrots (peeled and coarsely grated)
100 grams walnut pieces (roughly chopped or crumbled)
75 grams crystallised ginger (finely chopped)
For the icing:
100 grams unsalted butter (soft)
100 grams icing sugar (sieved if lumpy)
1 teaspoon cornflour
100 grams full-fat cream cheese (fridge-cold)
1 x 15ml tablespoon fresh ginger (coarsely grated)
25 grams walnut pieces (roughly chopped or crumbled)
25 grams crystallised ginger (chopped)
You will need 1 x 20cm/8 inch springform cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C Fan/325°F and grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking parchment.
Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and salt into a bowl and fork well to mix thoroughly.
Beat the sugar, eggs and oil in another large bowl until they are completely mixed together, then gradually add the flour mixture, scraping the bowl you’re beating them in to rescue and incorporate any flour clinging to the edges. At this stage the mixture may seem alarmingly stiff, but the carrots will loosen it up. So, beat in the carrots and then fold in the 100g / 1 cup of prepared walnuts and 75g / 4½ tablespoons of crystallised ginger, until everything is evenly combined.
Spoon and scrape into the prepared tin. Don’t worry if it looks as if you haven’t got nearly enough batter, as the cake will rise well as it bakes. Smooth the top and pop in the oven (this is when to make the icing, see step 5) for 45–55 minutes. When it’s ready, the cake will be set and golden brown on top, beginning to shrink away from the edges of the tin and a cake tester will come out with just a few crumbs stuck to it. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool in its tin.
As soon as the cake’s in the oven, get on with the icing. Beat the butter and icing sugar together and when creamily combined, beat in the cornflour, followed by half the cream cheese. Once that’s incorporated, beat in the remaining half. Be careful at all times not to over-beat or the icing will get too runny. Starting with the grated ginger on a plate, get out a piece of kitchen roll and, moving quickly, spoon the grated ginger into the centre, bring up the edges of the paper, holding them together to form a little swag bag, and press on it over the bowl to squeeze out the intense ginger juice. Beat this into the frosting in its bowl. Cover with cling film and refrigerate.
When the cake is completely cold, take the icing out of the fridge for about 20 minutes, by which time it will have softened to a still thick but spreadable consistency. Beat briefly to help this along, and make sure it’s smooth. Unclip and release the cake from its tin, unmoulding it, and sit it on a cake stand or plate. Spread the frosting on top, swirling it a little, then sprinkle the chopped walnuts and ginger on top.
The cake can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Wrap in a layer of cling film and keep in an airtight container, ice before serving. Icing can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Remove from fridge and leave at room temperature until soft enough to spread. Store leftovers in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days.
Wrap un-iced cake in a double layer of cling film and layer of foil, for up to 3 months. To defrost, unwrap and put on a wire rack at room temperature for 4-5 hours. Top with frosting before serving.