I think October might just be my favorite month of the year. With the leaves truly turning now and a crispness to the air, it is time for the full delights of Autumn cooking to come to fruition. With bold, deep flavors and colors, it is true Harvest Festival time, so this weekend we have an All Things Orange to celebrate this delicious time of year.
There is one cake that epitomizes Autumn: Carrot Cake. But I’m not going to make the original and classic carrot cake, I’ll make the carrot cake with orange glaze.
I know it’s tradition to smother carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, but for me, carrot cake is better and healthier when the true flavors of the cake are allowed to shine – the carrots themselves add sweetness, contrasted with deep, mellow spices. In short, carrot cake should taste Autumn, and Autumn to me does not taste over-sweet.
So, instead of icing, this carrot cake is finished with an orange marmalade glaze and topped with a sprinkling of orange-and-spice-drenched raisins and pine nuts.
It is also an almost guilt-free carrot cake with orange glaze recipe, reasonably low in sugar, and good for those with gluten or dairy intolerances, as it is free from both, but far from being dry and crumbly, it is squidgy deliciousness. To perfectly complement the flavors of autumn, you can pair this cake with a refreshing glass of Orange Martini.
Here is my simple carrot cake with orange glaze recipe.
Carrot Cake with Orange Glaze
- 150 ml sunflower oil
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 100 g light muscavado sugar
- 175 g gluten-free self-raising flour blend
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 200 g carrots grated
- 70 g raisins
- 1 orange – 2 tsp of zest, 2 of juice.
- A few pinenuts
- Preheat the oven to 180oC and lightly grease a round springform cake tin.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, and sugar until you have a syrupy consistency.
- Fold in the flour and spices, incorporating plenty of air, then add the carrots, raisins, orange zest and juice. Stir lightly until they are mixed through evenly. The mixture should be fairly runny.
- Pour into the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 45 mins. The cake should be golden and springy. Check with a skewer: if it comes out clean, it’s done! Be careful not to overbake, you want it to be moist.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- Warm some orange marmalade in a pan until just runny, then remove from heat. While the marmalade is warming, mix some more juice from the orange with a little nutmeg in a shallow bowl and soak a couple of handfuls of raisins in the juice.
- With a pastry brush, spread the marmalade of the top of the cake and sprinkle on the raisins and pinenuts.
- It is wonderful served warm with just a drizzle of fresh cream.