Progress has been made in the world of cake. It is no longer what our ancestors witnessed it as back in the day, but more an adaptation to modern day society’s preferences, dietary needs and wants. Frequently consumed on special occasions, cake is no longer a rarity, but has become part of our daily routine, fixed into our everyday dietary pattern. This may well explain our direction towards the ever expanding bodies of human beings around the globe (AKA obesity), but who can blame us? They taste too good to make appearances just on birthdays and Christmases. So as the saying goes, let them eat cake.
Traditionally classed a baked good that originated from bread, the nature of cake has now evolved to resembling pies, custards, cheesecakes, pastries, biscuits and meringues, just to name a few, and can be prepared using simple techniques or more complex methods- the choice is yours.
I’m no pastry chef, nor an expert baker, but I do have a sweet tooth and am an avid lover of all things cake, so as a kitchen enthusiast, I tend to experiment. Sometimes these so-called cakes turn out to be rather strange, to the point where I would no longer consider them cake-like, but more a monstrosity that could be classed as gruel or mashed potato, who knows, there’s no category that they could probably even fit in. But I don’t like to give up, most likely due to my desperation to have cake in my life, so I continue to plod on, generating ‘cake’ after ‘cake’, hoping for the best.
Carrot cake is a real classic- ridiculously moist, filled with plump raisins, bursting with warming sweet spices and each bite sparsely scattered with smooth carrot shavings. This is nicely rounded off with a citrusy velvety buttercream and if you’re lucky, some crushed walnuts for that added diverse crunch. Since this recipe is perfected to the extent to which it could definitely not progress further, I had no choice, but to search far and wide – in my fridge, kitchen cupboards and distant memories – to chop and change it a little (or potentially fuck it up).
My memories gave rise to this recipe, stemming from my grandmother who would make an Indian style carrot dessert, which she would translate as carrot cake. The initial stage of engulfment wasn’t short of a cardamom kick, which hit heavy, like the sugar and buttery cream. This was shortly followed by a crunch that came from a multitude of nuts, each contributing their own unique flavour and crunch level, coupled with juicy white sultanas, both sweet and tart. It was normally served during family get-togethers and times when everyone actually liked each other and those are the memories I want to retain.
- 3 medium carrots grated
- 80g ground almonds
- 30g crushed pistachios
- 30g cashews roughly chopped
- 30g blanched almonds roughly chopped
- 50g sultanas
- 10 cardamom pods ground
- 500ml almond milk
- 100g sugar
- 80g vanilla protein powder (optional)
- In a saucepan, heat the milk and sugar.
- When the sugar has dissolved, add the carrots and simmer until the milk has reduced to give a thicker, creamy textured pudding.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients (except the pistachios) and heat gently for a further 2-3 minutes (you may need to add a dash more milk at this point according to your texture preference).
- Spoon into cups, sprinkle with the pistachios and serve either immediately or chilled.
Whether warm or cold, enjoy each mouthful with a cup of milky, sweet Indian masala tea.