Ottolenghi’s Carrot & Walnut Cake

Yes. Cake.

I baked a cake and I didn’t weep a single tear. Well, tears of anger and frustration. It’s been two years since I attempted to bake a cake without an accompanying sense of doom.

Life is not without its continued comedy moments, however. After supplying the boyfriend with the dimensions of the space ShitOven had occupied and agreeing to the make and model of NewOven, I’m afraid I assumed any checking of dimensions would’ve have occurred at his end.

They did not. Thus:


Ahhahahaha. Ha. Haha.


Anyway we are going with it and will eventually cover it up but in the meantime it’s running a nice line on stimulating any latent OCD tendencies I have.

This is a bloody brilliant cake. Moist and yum. Make it. MAKE IT NOW.

In my enthusiasm for non-charcoaled baked goods, I totally over-baked yesterday (upside is another post is already in the bag) and we have had to prevail upon patient friends to relieve us of some of the excess.

There is still some cake left, though. I believe cake makes an excellent breakfast.


You’ll need to gather:

160g plain flour
Half a teaspoon each of baking powder and bicarb soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground gloves (didn’t have, didn’t use, cake is fine without)
1 large egg PLUS another egg yolk
200g sunflower oil
260g caster sugar
50g walnuts, chopped (if walnuts don’t do it for you, exchange with something that does)
50g desiccated coconut
135g carrot, roughly grated (we used 4 carrots around the size of that in the photo)
2 more egg whites
Pinch of salt


175g cream cheese (tubs here come in 200g, so I just used it all)
70g butter, unsalted (I used salted and nothing bad seems to have happened)
25g honey (2 good squeezes, seemed fine)
More nuts, toasted, if you can be bothered. I couldn’t.


Grease and Line a 20cm springform cake tin (think this one is more like 23cm). I used a bit of sunflower oil to grease. Lining is a pain but please just get on with it, yeah?


Sift (or whisk) the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and spices in a bowl. In a separate cup lightly beat the egg & the egg yolk.


In another bowl, or in your fancy KitchenAid or Magimix if you’re burdened with such luxuries, put the caster sugar and oil and beat together on a medium speed for a minute or so. Top tip from the boyfriend (I’ve no idea if it’s true but chose to believe him) – with liquids like oils, grams and mls are pretty much the same. I used 200ml of oil, based on this theory, and the cake is fine.


Get your prepped egg, carrot, coconut and nuts ready, then slowly add the egg using a lower speed (or mixing by hand, as I did), then the other ingredients. Add the dry ingredients and fold through without over mixing.


As usual it’ll have more than a hint of the vomit about it at this stage, especially with the handy addition of carrot in this mix.


In a clean bowl, whazz the 2 egg whites and the pinch of salt till they form stiffish peaks. Your boyfriend will kindly do this bit for you. He will also grate the carrots. Thanks, boyfriend.


Gently fold the egg whites, in about 3 stages, into the mix, and don’t worry if there are some white streaks in it. Ottolenghi says its fine, and he is a kind of God so we must Trust in Him.

Into a preheated oven at 170C (gas mark 3) for an hour or so. Mine took an hour and ten mins and I was increasingly unsettled by the lack of burning smell. So unfamiliar. You’ll know it’s done when you check with a skewer and it comes out pretty clean.


Let it cool completely in the tin.

Beat the cream cheese till it’s smooth and light, and in another bowl beat the sugar, honey and butter till the same. I will say that Mr O loves a multi-bowl recipe. I recommend having your boyfriend on standby for washing up duties.

Mix the cream cheese and butter mix together. I’d actually run out of caster sugar and used fine brown sugar instead for the icing – perfectly delicious.


Ice the top. Add the nuts if you’ve been bothered.

Eat, whilst weeping quietly with relief.



2 thoughts on “Ottolenghi’s Carrot & Walnut Cake

  1. narf77 says:

    A simple kickboard from a local hardware shop (no Bunnings over there! 😉 ) will sort that problem out :). As a fellow OCD sufferer I love to line cake tins…it’s the most fun you can have without visiting the dentist ;). No Kitchen Aid here… just a good old lime green Breville that keeps on keeping on (totally unassisted by Everready batteries!). When we inherited Serendipity Farm from dad I also inherited a very dusty dead moth and spider filled measuring juggo thingo like you have. I must admit I don’t use it much but perhaps I should? You certainly have your mise en place going girl! You put me (and my rabid dashes to the fridge…”carrot cake…bloody grated carrot needed stat!”…) to shame. The boyfriend is spot on. Grams and mils are pretty much the same thing :). The brown sugar would have made your icing a sort of caramel creation…YUMMO! At least you threw yourself in at the deep end with your first baking attempt. No muffins or simple cupcakes for you! The full Ottolenghi or nothing! Kudos on your obvious success and now that shit oven is out of the picture I can only being to wonder at the amazing things that are going to start trickling out of that misaligned oven…remember the kick board… 🙂

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