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. 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. 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. I do this in my never-ending efforts to find a way to make each and every vegetable delicious to my treasures. Rather as it was with this Beetroot and Carrot cake. 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. 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. A cake is a cake is a cake, something to enjoy occasionally but not every day. The reason I make this one is because I think it is absolutely delicious. 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. 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. 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. Combine the oil and beaten egg and add this to the flour and vegetables and mix. It will be a thick mixture! Put into the tin, level the top and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before cooling completely on a rack. Meanwhile for the icing, beat the butter, sugar and lime really well before adding the cream cheese. 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. If it does however, don’t panic, just put it in the fridge until firmed up. Spread over the cake.