Monday, 10 June 2013

carrot, flax and spelt layer cake - a tea time treat

... we have a very quaint little health-food shop in our local town of Louth called the Louth Wholefood Co-Operative, tucked away on a side street in the shadow of the stunning church of St James and whilst you may have to hunt high and low to find it, once inside it's like a treasure trove of goodness... packed to the rafters with fabulous produce from herbal teas to organic soap and quite literally everything in between.  It's one of the those shops that you find yourself saying things like 'wow, I can't believe they stock this here...' in some kind of snobbish southern way, as though they'd never heard of gluten-free in the shires... so impressed am I by this adorable shop that I spend far too much money in there and now that I have an actual dietary reason to frequent the store and I don't have to find an excuse to go in to purchase halva, I may enquire about purchasing shares...

... the lovely lady who run's the shop was very good at persuading me to purchase a bumper selection of goodies including some flax powder, which is incredible at aiding digestion, as well as convincing me to try baking with spelt flour instead of regular flour... i'm now totally in love with spelt which has a wonderful earthy quality and quite an intense heady aroma... i'm very much enjoying this little voyage of discovery...

carrot, flax and spelt layer cake with a honey and cream-cheese frosting
I wanted to bake a 'healthy' cake for this months tea time treats bloggers challenge, the theme of which is layer cakes... now I'm well aware that there's really no such thing as a healthy cake but I think i've taken the essence of this traditional carrot cake recipe and deconstructed it so that each ingredient is a healthier option than the regular cake ingredient... the resulting cake is lovely, if not a little chewy... more like a giant health bar than a sponge cake but i'm really not complaining, it was fun to bake... tea time treats is hosted by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked

for the cake
2 large free-range eggs
5fl oz sunflower oil
4oz soft dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
200g spelt wholemeal flour
3 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda
1 teaspoon flax powder
200g coarsely grated carrot
grated zest of one orange
50g chopped dried apricots
50g chopped dried prunes
50g desiccated coconut
2oz pistachio nuts - roughly chopped

for the cream-cheese frosting
200g cream cheese
200g mascarpone
juice and zest of one orange
2 tablespoons honey

you will need 2 x 20cm cake tins - greased and lined.

in a large bowl beat the eggs, oil, sugar and honey for 3 minutes until all the sugar has dissolved.

add the flour and stir in, then stir in the remaining ingredients (half the pistachios) until well combined.

divide the batter between the two cake tins and bake on 180C for 25 mins or until golden and risen, set aside on a wire rack to cool for 10 mins before turning out of the tins and letting cool entirely.

to make the frosting simply beat all the ingredients together in a bowl until thick, add more honey if you like it sweeter, then spread half of it onto the bottom layer, place the top layer on top and spread with the remaining frosting... drizzle with a little more honey and a grating of orange zest then crumble the rest of the pistachio's on top.

eat and of course, enjoy!



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