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CARROT CAKE

250g/9oz unsalted butter
350g/13oz caster sugar
rind of 2 oranges, grated
4 eggs
450g/1lb carrots, grated
150g/5oz almonds or pecans, chopped

1 tbsp vanilla essence
juice of 1 orange
250g/9oz plain flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp salt
For the icing:
225g/8oz full fat soft cheese (I use mascapone), at room temperature
65g/2½oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbl icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla essence
PREPARATION TIME: less than 30 mins COOKING TIME: approx 1 hour


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Grease a large cake tin. Beat the butter, sugar and orange rind until they are light and fluffy.
Slowly add the eggs, beating well to incorporate each addition fully before adding more.
Fold in the grated carrot and roughly crushed nuts. Add the vanilla essence and orange juice.
Finally, mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, spice and salt together, then fold into the cake mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 50-80 minutes. The sides of the cake should be coming away from the sides of the cake tin and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.


To make the icing, cream the cheese and the butter together until smooth. Add the icing sugar and vanilla essence, and beat until smooth. This frosting is rich thick and delicious. Spread the icing generously over the top of the cake.