It's spring time and that means warmer weather, picnics, blood oranges and cake (although cake features in all seasons)! This moist carrot and blood orange cake is everything that I love in a cake. It has some of my favourite ingredients: coconut, blood orange, spices and cream cheese frosting plus the goodness of carrot to keep the texture super moist! I called her Amaryllis.
I love blood oranges for their beautiful colour inside. It also makes for a fabulous simple icing shade that ends up a slightly melancholy pink-not a bright, vivid or rosy pastel pink but it has a slight tinge of grey to it too. I once looked at a friend's new Gucci jacket and described it as blood orange icing pink and because she's a foodie she knew exactly what I meant.
I've done so many blood orange recipes I'm sure you're going to think I'm a bit obsessed with them (and you'd be right). There's the blood orange upside down cake (that was shamefully copied by a food magazine without any credit!), blood orange chiffon cake, Middle Eastern blood orange cake, blood orange mini bundt cakes, blood orange friands, Greek blood orange filo cake, blood orange roast chicken and a blood orange and prawn salad.
So it was tough to think of a new one. Then one day I had all of these ingredients that needed using and I decided that and that included 2 carrots, some coconut, a tub of cream cheese and a packet of spice. I had never had a citrus flavoured carrot cake - how would it taste? It turns out carrot cake and citrus make for perfect bedfellows.
I made this cake for Ivy and Ryan. They recently had to say goodbye to one of their beloved sausage dogs Trevor. He was such a sweet little man who was blind and lived out the best years of his life with them. If you want to talk about people that adore their dogs Ivy and Ryan are it. Their pups even have an air purifier in their bedroom and get the best of everything.
Trevor was so sweet and gentle and just slept most days. But Ivy knew that it was his time. Trevor's appetite had started to really wane so that even treats lost their appeal (where they'd be cheekily pinched by his younger brother Thor). One night Ivy was woken up a dozen times as Trevor had wandered around their house getting stuck in corners not able to get out. Her other beloved dog Mimi came to her in dreams letting her know that she'd be waiting for Trevor to help him across.
I dropped the cake by that afternoon because I wanted to say goodbye to Trevor. I love my friends' fur babies as if they are my own. I thought that this slightly melancholy pink cake might suit the occasion. It wasn't bright or happy, it was a bit sad but wholesome and comforting. Trevor slowly padded out of his room on the soft rug and lay down on his bed and snoozed away.
They booked a vet to come to their home so he'd be comfortable when he passed. When they gave him his first of three shots, Trevor sprung up and ran around which he hadn't done in a long time. It was as if he was reminding them of how he had been, how he was when he was young and how he wanted to be remembered.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a favourite shade of pink? How do you say you care to a friend? Cake? Flowers? Company? Have you ever tried a carrot citrus cake?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Blood Orange, Carrot & Coconut Cake
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
- 2 cups cake flour*
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch ground clove
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Finely grated zest of 2 blood oranges
- 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
- 1 cup oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup blood orange juice
- 1/3 cup milk
- 4 eggs, room temperature
Blood Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- 250g/8.8ozs. cream cheese
- 85g/3ozs. butter, softened
- 3 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup blood orange juice
- Finely grated zest of 1 blood orange
- Baby pink edible colouring gel
To make 1 cup of cake flour, replace 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons cornflour/fine cornstarch
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 150C/300F and line 2x18cm/7.2inch round springform tins on the base and sides. In a large bowl whisk the flour, brown sugar, coconut, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, vanilla, blood orange zest and carrots.
Step 2 - In a jug measure the oil, maple syrup, blood orange juice and milk and whisk in the eggs. Pour into the dry mix and mix until it just comes together. Divide this mixture among both tins and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the centre springs back when pressed. Cool in tin for 10 minutes and then unclip and cool completely.
Step 3 - Make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth in texture. Mix the icing sugar and blood orange juice together with the zest and add into the buttercream with a little pink colouring. Beat until just combined (do not overbeat). Store in the fridge to firm up a little.
Step 4 - Slice cakes in half horizontally (I left it as two layers but there is enough frosting to ice four layers). Place one layer on a cake board and layer with buttercream. Repeat with all other layers and spread cream cheese frosting around the edge. Refrigerate to firm and scrape with an acrylic frosting scraper. Decorate with flowers, leaves and dried blood oranges.