Donal Skehan's Carrot and Courgette Cake
Grated carrots and courgettes in a cake might sound like a strange thing but they make for a deliciously moist and tender bake. For that extra special touch, you can add the delicious rosemary and orange crème fraîche. Wrapped, this cake will keep in the fridge for three to five days.
You will need
250ml rapeseed oil, extra for greasing
275g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom pods, split and seeds ground
275g golden caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
200g carrots, peeled and finely grated
200g courgettes, trimmed and finely grated (squeeze out any excess moisture)
For the rosemary and orange crème fraîche:
Juice of 2 oranges
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 small fresh rosemary sprigs
400g crème fraîche
Orange zest and rosemary flowers to garnish, if available
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Lightly oil 2 x 23cm (9in) spring-form cake tins and line the bases with parchment paper.
To prepare the rosemary and orange crème fraîche, pass the orange juice through a sieve into a small pan with half of the caster sugar and rosemary and simmer until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then remove the rosemary sprigs and discard. Fold into the crème fraîche, then cover and chill until needed.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and cardamom with a wooden spoon. In a stand-alone mixer (or in a large bowl, using an electric hand-held mixer), whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy. With the mixer still on, pour the oil into the bowl, in a steady stream, and mix until it is completely incorporated, then mix in the vanilla extract.
Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and fold in with a spatula until just mixed through. Add the finely grated carrot and courgette and fold through until completely incorporated.
Divide the batter between the two lined cake tins and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack. When the tins are cool enough to touch, gently release the cakes and return them to the wire rack, removing the base and parchment paper. Allow to cool completely.
If one of the cakes has risen more than the other, simply cut off the excess with a bread knife so that you have a flat surface to work with.
Assemble the cake by spreading one of the layers with half the rosemary and orange crème fraîche. Place the second layer on top and spread with the remaining crème fraîche.
Garnish with orange zest and rosemary flowers if available. Cut into eight slices and serve on plates.
Hotspot No. 1: Green Door Market
The newly-opened Green Door Market in Dublin 8 is an indoor food market where you can buy top-quality food whilst getting to know the suppliers. visit: Open Thursday and Friday, 12-7pm, and Saturdays, 9.30am-4pm,
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Not content with providing Dublin with three great food spots, brothers Paul and Barry McNerney — the guys behind Juniors, Paulie’s Pizza and The Old Spot — are now transforming the way you do your food shopping. Their grocery store,
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south side of the city. In Lotts & Co, you know the name of the grocer, the butcher and the baker. You know where the cheese is produced and the organic vegetables are grown. Paul and Barry are passionate about selecting the best when it comes to produce.
Hotspot No.3: The Dublin Food Cooperative
This is the perfect spot for buying organic, local, fair trade and sustainable products. The co-op goes back to the early 1980s when a group of friends decided to bulk-buy organic products to save money. It’s similar in set-up to a farmers’ market, with its stalls and tables laden with homemade and home-grown products, but there is one main difference: the co-op is solely run by its members for the members, with any surplus profits being put back into the initiative. It trades four days a week in New Market Square, Dublin 8, and is a vibrant community that goes beyond just food.