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I’m always tempted by a slice of carrot cake when I take a seat in a coffee shop of café so I thought I would try making it myself. I chose Rachel Allen’s recipe from her book Cake as it looked simple and didn’t call for raisins (I’m not overly keen on little dried brown things for some reason!). I decided to half the recipe and make six cupcakes rather than a whole cake. The recipe was easy to follow. I had read online that it is a good idea to squeeze the raw grated carrots before adding them to the cake batter to get rid of any excess water. I did this and the baked cupcakes turned out perfectly moist but not too damp. I topped the cupcakes with a swirl of cream cheese buttercream (using the Lorraine Pascale recipe in my last post) which added a nice bit of richness. The cupcake got top marks from my taste testing other half who said “these might be the best yet … why did you only make six…”

Carrot Cake by Rachel Allen from Cake (makes 12 cupcakes)

150 ml sunflower or vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing

2 eggs

200 g soft light brown sugar

300 g grated carrots, (grated weight)

75 g pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)

175 g self-raising flour

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Line a muffin tray with paper muffin cases.

2. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then add the oil, brown sugar, grated carrot and chopped nuts.

3. Sift in the rest of the dry ingredients and bring the mixture together using a wooden or large metal spoon until well combined.

4. Pour the mixture into the paper cases so that they are three quarters full and bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool in the tin for about five minutes before removing. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping with icing.