I have this favourite carrot cake recipe which is full of glacé fruit and spices and all sorts of goodies. And then I have the Green Kitchen cookbook, which has a carrot cake recipe which is sugar-free and full of spices and even more fruit and all sorts of other goodies. I couldn’t decide which to make for (yet another) birthday party, so I decided to cross them and make them both at once.
A sensible person would probably have decided to do this by averaging the two recipes out somehow. Not me. I added the spices together to make it *extra* spicy (nobody ever puts enough spice in carrot cake), and then gleefully decided that if one recipe had dates and glacé fruit and raisins and pineapple and the other one had dates and banana, we should definitely have all of those things. The recipe narrowly escaped having hazelnut meal in it, too, even though I don’t like hazelnuts, just because there was an open packet sitting there, looking inviting.
Then, having filled the cake with glacé fruit and ginger, I virtuously turned around and made the batter sugar-free. Because that makes sense. I spent quite a lot of the cooking process, in fact, giggling and throwing up my hands, exclaiming “I have no idea what I’m making!”. This amused Andrew no end, which is probably why we are still married, because it’s an intrinsic part of my cooking process and I suspect it could get quite annoying…
My favourite bit in the whole process was the part where I looked at my date-banana-maple-syrup-oil-pineapple-spice-flour-egg mixture and realised I had created a really nice banana cake batter, to which I was about to add a world of carrots and fruit, potentially wrecking the consistency entirely. So this, O my readers, is an extra special recipe – it came from two cakes and it produces two cakes! You can stop the recipe halfway and make a virtuous and sugar-free banana cake, or you can continue the merry madness and have Carrot Everything Cake! The choice is yours.
Your Shopping List (which can basically be summarised as ‘all the edible things’)12 fresh dates 3 ripe bananas (no need for them to be over-ripe, but if that’s what you’ve got, that’s fine too) 4 tinned pineapple rings 1/2 cup canola oil, or any other not terribly strongly-flavoured cooking oil 1/2 cup maple syrup 3 eggs 3 tsp vanilla 3 cups plain flour 2 tsp bicarb of soda 1/2 tsp baking powder 2 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp mixed spice (I used the Gewürzhaus Apple Cake Spice mix, which is just heavenly) NB: stop here if all you want is banana cake 4 carrots 300 g mixed glacé fruit, such as apricots, peaches, pineapple, pear, orange, or really anything but ginger or cherries 75 g glacé ginger 125 g raisins For the icing 400 g cream cheese (half full-fat and half light makes your life easier, and also provides a modicum of virtue to the situation), or use a dairy-free mock-cream cheese such as tofutti 100 g honey zest of 1 small lemon; juice of half a lemon