So after a lot of sugar and fattening stuff lately, this is supposed to be a slightly healthier cake, but not by much. My tasters were not bowled over by it, but I liked its slight heaviness from the whole meal flour and the tart cheesiness of the topping suited me too. Most would prefer a sweeter icing, in that case use the icing from my apple spice cake recipe. I hope some of you will give this a go; I especially love the tartness of the apricots and the earthiness of the pecans. Next time I might add a few raisins for nostalgias sake as that’s what my Gran always put in Carrot Cake
200 g wholemeal flour
1 tbs ground mixed spice
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150ml sunflower oil
175g soft dark brown sugar
3 eggs beaten
Grated rind of 1 orange
125g pecan nuts chopped
125g dried apricots chopped
200g grated carrots
225g cream cheese
2tbsp clear honey
1 orange (1/2 zested, ½ thinly pared rind
1) Mix the flour, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda in a large mixing bowl.
2) Measure the oil into a jug, add the sugar and eggs and stir together till smooth.
3) Beat the egg mix into the dry ingredients until well combined, then fold in the orange rind, nuts, apricots and carrots.
4) Pour the mix into a greased and lined 900g loaf tin and bake at 150° C for 1hr 20 min, until well risen and firm to the touch. (I reduced the cooking time from 1 45 – 2 hours)
5) Allow to cool a few minutes before turning out and cooling on a wire rack. When cool strip off the baking paper.
6) For the topping stir together the cream cheese, honey and orange zest till smooth.
7) Pile on top of the cake and spread evenly. Garnish the cake with strips of orange and lemon rind and a couple of lavender flowers or pecans if you prefer.
This cake keeps well for up to two weeks.