Venetian Carrot Cake


I first had this carrot cake for breakfast in Venice at the stunning Ca’sagredo hotel which over looks the Grand Canal.  It seems a bit strange to have cake for breakfast unless you are hungover but in Italy its quite normal.  At Ca’sagredo as well as all of the usual fresh fruit, toast, eggs and delicious coffee they had two beautiful cakes; an apple tart with pistachios and a Venetian carrot cake.  This definitely has a different look to my favourite carrot and walnut cake with cream cheese icing.  It is more simple and has a gorgeous amber sponge and is the perfect quick cake to bake up for a Sunday teatime.  I managed to get the base for the recipe from the sweet chef at the hotel and have swapped the plain flour to spelt and added in some more grounded almonds.  It is pretty much the same and I know you’ll love it and maybe even for brekkie!

Serves 12


250g unrefined icing sugar

250g grated carrots, about 4 medium

90ml extra virgin olive oil (you could use sunflower oil)

3 medium eggs, light beaten

200g almond flour

100g spelt flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 vanilla pod

100ml orange juice (about 1 large orange) and the zest

Pinch of sea salt

Creme fraiche, toasted pine nuts, plus extra icing sugar for serving

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a non stick 10inch cake tin and after line with baking parchment.  Note that I used a loose bottom tart dish in the picture because I had misplaced my cake tin.  You can do the same but just please remember that there should be at least 1.5cm gap left from the batter to the top of the tin.  In order to do this you might just need to leave a little of the batter out.  Place the tin in the fridge while you carry on with the cake.

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients; spelt, almond flour, salt, and baking powder. In a mixer or using an electric whisk add the icing sugar and olive oil and mix the two together until just combined.  Then slowly add some of the beaten eggs and then a little of the dry flour mix.  Continue adding a little of each until everything is in the bowl and just combined.  Try not to over beat!  Now turn off the mixer and use a spatula to stir in the orange juice, zest, vanilla extract, seeds from the vanilla pod and lastly the grated carrots.   Remove the chilled cake tin from the fridge and scrape in the batter.  Place into the centre of the oven for about 30-35 minutes until a golden top has formed and the cake is light a stingy to touch.  You can also double check by carefully inserting a skewer and seeing it comes out clean.  If using a tart dish it can be quicker as the dish will be less dense so just try to gage it but check around the 25/30 minutes mark.  Leave cake to cool before removing from the tin.  Dust generously with icing sugar, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and cream for serving.  It keeps well for 2-3 days covered with cling film in a cool dry place.

Nina ParkerComment