Venetian Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

Ingredients

3 tbsp pine nuts

2 medium carrots (approx. 200-250g/7-9oz)

75g/3oz sultanas

60ml/2¼fl oz orange juice

150g/5oz caster sugar

125ml/4½fl oz regular olive oil (or melted butter), plus extra for greasing

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 free-range eggs

250g/9oz ground almonds

½ tsp ground nutmeg, or to taste

½ orange, finely grated zest

For the mascarpone cream (optional)

250g/9oz mascarpone (or other cream cheese)

2 tsp icing sugar

2 tbsp orange juice

This is suitable for those with Coeliac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity, but everyone should have a go at this as it is so delicious! Based on a recipe by Nigella Lawson. Picture from the BBC Good Food website. All ingredients available from True Food except mascarpone.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the base of a 23cm/9in round springform cake tin with re-usable non-stick silicone liner or baking parchment and grease the sides with olive oil.
  • Toast the pine nuts by browning in a dry frying pan; the oven alone is not enough to scorch out the paleness. Set aside.
  • Grate the carrots in a processor (for ease) or with a coarse grater, then sit them on a double layer of kitchen paper and wrap them, to soak up excess liquid. Set aside.
  • Put the sultanas in a small saucepan with the orange juice, bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Whisk the sugar and oil until creamy and airy.
  • Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs and, when well whisked, fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, grated carrots, sultanas  and, finally, the orange zest.
  • Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very shallow in the tin.
  • Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the cake and put it into the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the top is risen and golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out sticky but more or less clean. Cool on a rack.
  • For the topping, mix the ingredients together well and serve on the side.