The call went out on Messenger for help with catering for more than 20 schools visiting our town for a Zone Cross Country at the Golf Course and Bowling Club. This started a baking frenzy among Nundle Public School parents, anticipating about 700 runners and their families in our town of 300 people. Within minutes replies came through offering cupcakes, muesli and fruit biscuits, savoury cheese and vegemite scrolls, blueberry muffins, and soup. Even friends without children at the school donated baking, including pies and sausage rolls from Jenkins Street Guesthouse.
I used the opportunity to flick through my collection of recipes and baked a recipe I had saved from a June, 2014 Home Beautiful, for Spiced chai carrot cake with honey mascarpone cream. It was a selection of recipes from Eleanor Ozich's My Petite Kitchen Cookbook (Murdoch Books). At the top of the recipe is a quote from Eleanor Ozich, "I particularly love making this cake in the colder months." With its cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves chai spices the scent and flavour of this carrot cake with a difference is quintessentially autumn and winter.
I doubled the recipe and it made two, light-textured cakes easily. Making mascarpone cream icing continues that lightness, with the addition of delicious crunch of the pepita and sunflower seeds. I didn't have shredded coconut, so used desiccated coconut, and it was OK. Next time I'll make sure I have shredded coconut for the additional texture.
Ingredients: Carrot Cake. 3 eggs, 175g honey, maple syrup or agave syrup (125ml or 1/2 cup), 185ml olive oil (3/4 cup), 200g almond meal (2 cups), 125g rice flour (3/4 cup) or 100g buckwheat flour (3/4 cup), 155g grated carrots (1 cup), firmly packed,1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp bi-carbonate of soda. Mascarpone cream. 240g mascarpone cheese (1 cup), grated zest of 1 lemon, 2 tsp honey, maple syrup or agave syrup, 2 tbsp pepitas, 2 tbsp shredded coconut, 2 tbsp sunflower seeds.
Method: Preheat oven to 160C. Line a 20cm diameter cake tin with butter and grease proof paper. I used a cake tin with a removable base. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Pour batter into the cake tin. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the cake tin completely before turning out onto a plate.
To make the masarpone cream, combine mascarpone, honey, and lemon zest in a bowl, spread on top of cake, and sprinkle with pepitas, sunflower seeds and coconut.