Modern Carrot Cakes (also known as Passion Cakes) are American and came to Britain in the 1960s. However, the use of sweet root vegetables in place of fruit has been a common cooking practice in Britain since Elizabethan times. The Victorians were very fond of using root vegetables in this way. Sometimes they were used for their sweet taste, sometimes for the glorious orange colour.
The recipe presented here is from the 1910s and is a much lighter cake than American carrot cake. The carrot being used both for its sweetness and its glorious colour.
Below is the classic British recipe for cream sauce.
Carrot and Hazelnut Cake Recipe
For the Cake:
4 medium eggs, separated
125g golden caster sugar
60g lightly-toasted hazelnuts, chopped in a food processor (do not make too fine)
125g carrots, finely grated
125g fine plain flour, sifted
icing sugar, for dusting
For the Filling:
250g cream cheese
150g unsalted butter, softened
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk together until pale, thick and frothy. Fold the nuts and finely-grated carrot into the egg yolk mix then stir in the flour.
Add the egg whites to a clean and dry bowl and whisk until stiff and glossy. Carefully fold the egg whites into the carrot mix. Divide the batter between two 23cm diameter springform cake tins that are liberally greased and lined with baking parchment.
Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 190ºC and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when pressed and a skewer inserted into the centre emerges cleanly. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
In the meantime, prepare the cream cheese filling. Cream together the cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Add the icing sugar and work into the mixture then work in the vanilla extract.
Use the cream cheese filling to sandwich the two halves of the cake together. Dust the top with icing sugar and serve.
Find more British recipes on the Recipes from the British Isles page of this blog.