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Sugar-free baking chocolate Masala Chai Carrot Cake

I always find cooking for people satisfying, but there is something particularly – and instantly – rewarding about that moment of bliss that you see when someone bites into something sweet and delicious. But, giving into your sweet tooth these days seems rather illicit, what with sugar cast in the role of Public Enemy No.1.

I absolutely LOVE carrot cake and this is the ultimate healthy carrot cake! It’s packed with carrots, warming spices and almonds to create a wonderfully light cake to enjoy with your afternoon tea. The cashew icing is optional and completely unnecessary if all you're looking for is a healthy sweet treat but if your going for a bit of tradition and wow factor then the icing finishes this cake off perfectly.

Makes 1 large 26cm (10in) cake

Masala Chai Carrot Cake

:: Ingredients ::

  • 60ml (2fl oz/1⁄4 cup) boiling filtered water
  • 1 Masala chai tea bag
  • 10 eggs
  • 150ml (5fl oz/2⁄3 cup) extra virgin olive oil
  • 340g (12oz/1 cup) raw honey, or normal honey is fine too
  • Grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 1⁄2 vanilla pod (bean), seeds scraped out or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 800g (1lb 12oz) carrots, grated or processed in food processor
  • 200g (7oz/2 cups) walnut halves, slightly crushed, plus extra to decorate (optional)
  • 525g (1lb 3oz/51⁄4 cups) ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • :: For the frosting (optional) ::
  • 300g (11oz/2 cups) cashews, soaked in filtered water for 3–4 hours
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 80ml (23⁄4fl oz/scant 1⁄3 cup) pure maple syrup

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/400°F/ Gas 6. Line a 26cm (10in) spring-form cake tin (pan) with baking paper (parchment paper).
  2. Pour the boiling water over the tea bag in a cup and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and set the tea concentrate aside until ready to use.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs together until they are light and fluffy, then add the olive oil, honey, orange zest, masala chai tea and vanilla seeds and whisk generously again until combined.
  4. Now add the carrots and walnuts and mix again. Finally, add the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine everything together.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour until risen, golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely in the tin. This should take about 2–3 hours.
  6. If you wish to add frosting, use a sharp serrated knife to cut the cake in half horizontally. Wrap the cakes separately in clingfilm (plastic wrap), then chill the cakes for at least 2 hours before frosting.
  7. To make the frosting, blend all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour while the cakes cool before frosting.
  8. Place the bottom cake half on a serving plate. Spread with half of the cashew cream frosting using an offset spatula, if you have one. Place the second cake half over it and spread with the remaining frosting. Decorate with chopped walnuts and serve.


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