I served this cake at my Harvest Vegetable Tasting Menu, October 2016. I’ve always loved carrot cake and was sure I could adapt the recipe to include the most October-y of all vegetables – the pumpkin.
Carrot and Pumpkin Cake
- 250g softened unsalted butter
- 150g light brown soft sugar
- 100g dark muscavado sugar
- 5 eggs, separated
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- 170 g self-raising flour (or GF self-raising flour)
- 1 slightly heaped teaspoon baking powder
- 50g shelled walnuts, blitzed in a food processor
- 100g ground almonds
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 150g carrots (125g for the cake and 25g to top)
- 125g firm-fleshed pumpkin or squash (Uchi Kuri works well)
- Pinch of sea salt
- 300g mascarpone cheese
- 100g icing sugar, sifted
- 25g candied carrots (see below)
- A handful of pumpkin seeds
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Grease and line a medium-large cake tin with greaseproof paper. Cream together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Beat the egg yolks with the orange zest and juice and add gradually while mixing. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and add the ground almonds, walnuts, spices.
Using a potato peeler, peel about 25g of “ribbons” of carrots, sprinkle with 3tbsp white sugar, and reserve in a small saucepan. Finely grate the remaining 125g of carrots and add to the cake batter. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp of the pumpkin and place to one side. Grate the firm flesh of the pumpkin and add 125g to the cake batter.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, then gently fold them into the cake mix. Scoop the mixture into the prepared cake tin and cook in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes until golden and risen. The cake is cooked when a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out on to a rack and rest for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, add a little water to the reserved carrot ribbons, place the saucepan over a low heat and stir gently until the sugar dissolves. Cook over a very low heat for about 5 minutes, until the carrots just barely start to lose their crunch. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
Pick the pumpkin seeds out of the pulp, rinse under cold water, and roast in a low oven (130C) for about 1hr, turning twice.
Mix the icing sugar and marscapone together. Apply generously to the top of the cooled cake with a pallette knife (or butter knife). Create a nest of candied carrot ribbons in the middle of the cake, and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.