I had a few questions about whether I was going to make an Easter-themed cake. Since this challenge is about cake recipes rather than decorations, I wasn’t inspired by most of the cute suggestions with icing chicks and eggs and so on. I was impressed by a crucifix-shaped cake featuring a marzipan Jesus but I am not a Christian and that would have been flat-out inappropriate. (I have a story about my religious ignorance and Easter which I will put down the bottom). A nutty, gingery, carrot cake seemed appropriate for this autumn lockdown holiday which has seen the first of the cold weather hit the city. Nigella to the rescue!
Once again, Nigella came through with a pretty simple recipe, written in that trademark sensuous style of hers. A good amount of grated carrot and not too much flour goes in there. Without the frosting it would be a reasonably healthy afternoon tea treat, or great during a long walk.
Now, I mucked something up here when I went to the supermarket. In my defence, the supermarket is a fairly intense place to visit at the moment and you have to really concentrate, because you’re only allowed around the store in a set order down the aisles, which are one-way only, so if you miss something on the list going back for it is complex. And everyone is trying to be as quick as possible and you really shouldn’t be picking things off the shelves and putting them back, so mistakes happen. Anyway, I wanted cream cheese for the icing and Nigella specifically says full fat, but I’d never buy anything else anyway, because light (sorry, “lite”) cream cheese is yuck. And I think the manufacturer knows this, because they try to trick you with “lite” written on the side in tiny writing, and I didn’t notice until I got home. So, the icing hasn’t really set as well as it should have and its gone a bit grainy. I won’t hold any of this against Nigella though – I blame this mishap on the sneaky packaging.
I like this cake. It is dense and not dry, and the nuts and ginger are pleasantly chunky without being overwhelming. There’s ginger juice in the icing – I think I should have put more in, but it was fiddly and I was tired – you grate ginger root and wrap the gratings in a paper towel and squeeze over the bowl of cream cheese. Depending on what your cupboards are like, its pretty much a cupboard cake, the only thing I had to buy especially was the aforementioned cream cheese. I also managed to use up some elderly walnuts that had been gathering dust in the back of the cupboard for some time (if you’re using old nuts, always taste test a few first, because they do have a tendency towards rancidity in old age).
- Deliciousness : This is a good cake. The ginger adds some real interest to the well-known combo of carrot and walnut.
- Recipe complexity: there are a lot of things to love about Nigella, and the simplicity of her recipes is one of them.
- Availability/price of ingredients: Even if you don’t have walnuts, crystallised ginger, or fresh ginger root at home, its all pretty easy to locate at the supermarket, and not particularly expensive. Don’t worry about fancy whole walnuts with this – you’re cutting them up anyway.
- Similarity of final cake to picture/description: Looks pretty good, even if the icing is a bit weird.
- Would I bake it again? Yes – this is going into the list of things to take camping and tramping (without icing).
I mentioned a story about me being ignorant about Easter. Well… I was scrolling through social media yesterday and came across a post from a friend which showed what I took to be Sunday brunch among friends (via zoom, because that’s how we get together in the lockdown). There was wine on my friend’s table, and the laptop showing his zoom friends, and some flowers and decorations, and pancakes. I was a bit taken aback because my friend is a good cook and the pancake looked rather bland and unappetising. Well thank goodness I didn’t write some comment about cracking out the wine early even if it was lockdown, because some hours later it dawned on me that my friend was taking communion. I feel bad about my ignorance but its also quite funny, and also, a great example about how we are all innovating so that we can continue on with the parts of our lives that are most important to us while we adjust to staying at home. Faith, love, hope, and worship, can happen wherever we are – we bring our selves and our ways of being with us wherever we go. Happy Easter, friends. xx