Easter is upon us, along with the school hols, meaning two things – chocolate and keeping the kids occupied! It’s a while since I’ve posted a sweet recipe, and my mission to ‘healthify’ popular treats has moved to a cake already containing a vegetable element – the inimitable carrot cake! A healthy cake recipe? A few ingredient swaps can make a world of difference.

Not chocolate, I know, but with the Easter egg frenzy largely unavoidable, at least making this, as a single or double layer cake, as cupcakes, or as a tray bake, means baking that, at least, boasts health benefits (portion sizes and consumption frequency considering, too, of course!)

Replacing the butter with rapeseed oil gives the cake moistness and a dose of healthy omega 3, as do the walnuts. Use different nuts if you prefer, or a mixture for even more nutrients. Organic cold pressed rapeseed is the tastiest and the best health-wise, but take a look at the label of the standard vegetable oil – the ingredient should be rapeseed. Coconut palm sugar lowers the GI for better blood sugar balance, boosted by cinnamon (a spice proven to regulate blood sugar) The carrots speak for themselves! This recipe is now a favourite with one of my young taste test crew (my nieces) who hated carrot cake until she tried this one. So get cooking, and tell the kids exactly why the ingredients they’re using are so much better for them – practical skills and health education in the holidays, with delicious results. Who said school was the only place to learn?

Carrot and Walnut Cake

300 mls rapeseed oil
300g coconut palm sugar
3 free range eggs (organic preferably)
300g plain flour (organic preferably) sifted
300g grated carrots
100g walnut pieces or halves (or a mix of nuts)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Whisk together the eggs, sugar and oil until well mixed. Gradually add the flour, spices, bicarb, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Fold through the carrots and walnuts. This amount makes two standard round cakes – pour the mixture into tins lined with greaseproof, or into cupcake cases. Cook at 170 degrees for around 25 mins, less for cupcakes – check by inserting a cocktail stick, skewer or knife into the centre of the cake; if it comes out clean, it’s ready.
When cool, top with the icing of your choice, an extra sprinkle of chopped walnuts, or just a dusting of icing sugar and cinnamon.

Enjoy! 🙂

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