Deliciously tender mini spiced carrot cakes, topped with a zesty lime cream cheese icing and pistachios. A recipe from Kate Doran’s beautiful new book, Homemade Memories.
One of the first food blogs I ever read was A Little Loaf. I remember the first time I stumbled upon it. I was clicking through Poires Au Chocolat, and found Kate’s blog recommended in the side bar. I’ve been a reader ever since, and was very excited when Kate announced she was writing a book. I love the way Kate writes, bringing a story to every recipe. Showing how deeply food and memories are linked, and the power of food to bring people together, sharing moments, sharing life.
The recipe today comes from Kate’s new book Homemade Memories. It is a gorgeous book, a real inspiration. Each recipe is a memory of childhood, of children’s party and ice cream vans. Of teatime treats, packed lunches and cakes baked by little hands in messy kitchens. The recipes are exactly the type of recipes that I always want to cook. Twists on classic sweet treats. Homey, comforting recipes that get catch people’s excitement. The book itself is visually stunning, full of gorgeous typography, and beautifully styled full page mouth watering photographs.
Homemade Memories is the type of cook book that could easily become a classic on the family shelf. One thats dipped into for birthday parties and special events. Becoming a treasured possession, like the books my Mum used to bake our birthday cakes from as children, or the ones that contain Christmas recipes brought out year after year for decades. Becoming floury, butter-stained and book marked, the way the very best cook books do.
It was hard to decide which recipe to try out first. I am (naturally!) very taken with the look of the whole chocolate section. I’ve never really made many of my own chocolates, so i’d love to give the caramel-filled chocolates a go soon. My mum is very keen for me to make the Blueberry Almond and Plum Crumble, and of course who could possibly resist the Triple Chocolate Caterpillar Cake? The true epitome of childhood memories!
I finally settled on these mini carrot cakes. I was taken by the unusual flavours, the lime and coconut flavours sounded absolutely perfect with the spiced carrot cake, and the pretty with a sprinkle of pinky-green pistachios.
They are really delightful little cakes, a beautiful twist on a classic recipe. I stuck almost exactly to the original recipe, only using plain flour instead of wholemeal based on what I had in the cupboards. They’re wonderfully moist carrot cakes, the damp, carroty sponge is lifted with the cinnamon and tropical hint of coconut. The desiccated coconut brings texture too, giving a little bit of bite to the cakes.
The zesty lime cream cheese icing is delicious. Its an icing I can see myself making again to top deep, dark chocolate cakes, or to pair with strawberries. Its wonderfully creamy and smooth, but the lime keeps it light and fresh. The pistachios are the perfect way to finish the cake. Not only are they so pretty, but they bring a lovely crunch to the cakes. If you don’t like nuts, I think a few flakes of toasted coconut would also work very well as decoration.
– once iced, the cakes should be eaten within 2 days.
- 125g plain flour (the original recipe calls for wholemeal)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch fresh grated nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 2 eggs
- 110g dark muscovado sugar
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- 90ml groundnut or vegetable oil (I used vegetable)
- 175g carrots peeled and grated (about 2 medium, or 3 small carrots)
- finely grated zest of half an orange
- ------ for the icing
- 100g butter, softened to room temperature
- 100g cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 250g icing sugar
- finely grated zest of a small lime
- 30g pistachio nuts, finely chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C fan/ 350F. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and salt. Stir in the desiccated coconut. If you are using the wholemeal flour as per the original recipe, at this stage you will need to sieve the dry ingredients and dispose of any bran remaining in the sieve.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, golden syrup and oil together until thick and almost doubled in volume. Using an electric hand or stand mixer this will take about 4 minutes, but you can do it by hand if you prefer.
- Gently fold the beaten egg mixture into the dry ingredients, taking care not to knock out too much of the air. Fold in the grated carrot and orange zest.
- Fill the prepared cases until about two thirds full. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cool, make the icing. Beat the butter until smooth, then beat in the cream cheese until light, smooth and well combined.
- Sift in the icing sugar, and gently stir together, then beat until the icing is really light and fluffy. Fold in the lime zest. Pipe or spoon onto the top of your carrot cakes. Sprinkle over the pistachios to decorate.