My children have exceptionally finely tuned radars when it comes to trying out new dishes and show particular suspicion if I ever respond “it’s a surprise!” when they are faced with something new. Â They will fire questions about ingredients at me but I am used to this now and have a range of ripostes and distracting tactics at the ready. Â I’ve perfected acting in a slightly deaf, vague fashion when being cross examined, sometimes I will deflect questions by posing a conundrum so complex, lengthy and bizarre back at them that they will have forgotten their original question or my absolute favourite when faced with a query I would rather not answer, I look intently at the window and ask “is that a badger out there?”.
These discussions and my slippery evasiveness usually come to the fore when a less than popular vegetable has been snuck into something under cover. Â I do this in my never-ending efforts to find a way to make each and every vegetable delicious to my treasures. Â Rather as it was with this Beetroot and Carrot cake. Â Previously a regular kind of Carrot cake had been deemed acceptable so grabbing this particular baton, I decided to expand on the idea and add beetroot to the mix.
Now don’t misunderstand me, I am under no false illusion that by adding any old veg to a cake it miraculously becomes healthy. Â There is a sea of treats out there that contain ‘better for you’ ingredients – sweet potatoes, date syrup, wholemeal flour, quinoa or whatever but treats they are. Â A cake is a cake is a cake, something to enjoy occasionally but not every day. Â The reason I make this one is because I think it is absolutely delicious. Â The fact that it contains grated raw carrot and beetroot is a happy coincidence.
My son ate one slice of the first of these cakes but has mysteriously been full whenever offered a slice at a later date. Â My husband said he like it but could see why the children didn’t which, in itself, was fairly damning and my daughter simply eyed it as one would a snake.
So to everyone who has tried this cake and loved it (even those who were told the pink bits were raspberries….) I say thank you and to my family I say, never mind, all the more for me.
Beetroot and Carrot Cake
Grating the vegetables in a processor can make it a bit wet so I tend to do it by hand with a box grater, it only takes a few minutes.
300g carrots and beetroot (untrimmed or peeled weight), grated
250g self raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
150g soft brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
150ml sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a tiny bit extra for greasing the tin
2 eggs, beaten
125g icing sugar, sifted
50g soft butter
200g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 lime, zest and juice.
Preheat the oven to 170 and oil a 20cm tin with a little of the sunflower/vegetable oil and line the base. Â Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl, add the salt and sugar followed by the grated carrot and beetroot and mix well. Â Combine the oil and beaten egg and add this to the flour and vegetables and mix. Â It will be a thick mixture! Â Put into the tin, level the top and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Â Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before cooling completely on a rack. Â Meanwhile for the icing, beat the butter, sugar and lime really well before adding the cream cheese. Â It is important that this is at room temperature so it mixes in easily, don’t over beat it as it will quickly become runny. Â If it does however, don’t panic, just put it in the fridge until firmed up. Â Spread over the cake.