new & improved carrot cake

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-free

I used to have a carrot cake recipe that I would use to woo people with. It was delicious & perfect, and completely stolen from Ottolenghi…. Yes, I confessed to this a few years ago in this post.

If it had been up to me, I would have gone on for another decade using the same tried & tested recipe. Not everything in this life is within my control, however.

You know how they say that good things come from bad situations? I’d like to think my new recipe is one of those good things.

I had a failed attempt where I’d simply tried to convert the old Ottolenghi recipe to gluten-free… my cake literally fell apart. Pieces. There were pieces of cake just sliding off & landing in a pile of crumbs. Disaster doesn’t even begin to cut it. Once I scrapped the conversion of his recipe & decided to start afresh with my own, things started to come together nicely.

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-freePleased doesn’t even begin to explain just how thrilled I am with the results. So that’s the moral of this little story… a change in circumstance led me to write my very own carrot cake recipe & branch away from the theft of someone else’s. I guess I became a better person for it.

Make it. Love it. Thank me later.

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apple, carrot & ginger juice….. with celery

Green juice.

I can’t believe I made green juice.

I don’t know what to tell you. It looks green, it smells like celery, but if you can wrap your head around those facts & move past it…. it really doesn’t taste that bad!

Let’s be honest here though, no one puts vegetables in their juice because they think it’s going to taste good. We do it because it’s good for us.

Yea, that’s what I told myself right before I downed the concoction as fast as I could. Halfway through the process though I had to stop for air & that’s when the taste finally hit me….. I was, surprised. At first the apple hit me, sweet & refreshing. It was quickly followed by the spicy kick of the ginger. The carrot was completely lost in the whole process, & the celery left a faint aftertaste at the end. Nothing repulsive though.

I suppose I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again. I hear it’s a fantastic boost of antioxidants for ones system. Super healthy without being painful.

You’re asking why, I can feel the “why??“s coming through my screen. There are a few answers that may help:
1. it’s summer & eating light is preferable since heavy meals just tend to sit there.
2. summer time means lots of nights slept away form home & it’s neigh impossible to eat correctly whilst on vacation… so a nice healthy juice helps kick one back into the right eating.
3. you want to look good in a bikini?
4. shut up, it’s healthy, just do it.

So there you have it. I drank green juice today. I survived it & it tasted good-ish. It wasn’t horrific, put it that way. If you dare to do the same, you might even be pleasantly surprised!

Mmmmmmmmmmm?? Hah!

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single serving carrot cakes…. a.k.a. carrot cupcakes

The thing we all love most about single serving desserts, is the complete lack of mess. There aren’t any big knives or extra washing. There’s just the one, neatly packaged dessert in the perfect serving portion ready for us to devour…. at least that’s what we all tell ourselves.

….try reminding yourself of that once you’ve scoffed down the 5th or 6th one in the last hour!

Alas, no will power.

So I’m sure I’ve mentioned (but there’s never any harm of mentioning it again) that I’m in London. As of tomorrow afternoon at 16:50 I will have officially been here for a full week. That’s seven complete days, or 168 hours.

I was lucky enough that in my first few days back there was plenty of sunshine to be had… even if the forecast did say rain. Alas, today though the English weather has caught up with me & it’s been one of those typically cold, damp, humid summer days that one becomes so accustomed to when living here. I will say this though, London when the sun is out is just magical.

However, I digress. We aren’t hear to talk about the beauty of rays of sunshine highlighting the accents on gorgeous English architecture carved from limestone, but rather the way a little cinnamon can bring a hint of comfort & naughtiness on an otherwise gloomy looking day. A trace of coconut creeping up in the background & a wonderfully creamy frosting.

I hereby proclaim today a pajama & cupcake day. So it has been done! And the best part, it’s all gluten-free!

The down side to London is that there’s no Mel in London. I miss my beast of a man & our terror of a dog. Oh my little Sushi. London will bring good things though, I hope.

On to the recipe!

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carrot cake with cream cheese icing

I don’t know if I want to share this recipe.

Like, I’m really struggling to justify spilling my secret weapon.

If I were to be challenged to a cake bake-off, this carrot, walnut & coconut cake would be hiding waiting to pop out at the last moment & steal the gold.

It’s that good.

Sometimes, I realize that by sitting & writing a blog, I’m putting all of Mel & my best kept secrets out there for the world to see. In moments like those I panic a little & think about pulling the plug on the whole operation. I think I’m a bit like my grandfather in that respect. And his mother come to think about it. Both of them at one point in their lives (or several times over if you want to go into details) were asked to give recipes to books or publications, and both of them neglected to put in at least one key ingredient. They were sneaky about it though, they left out ingredients that no one would ever think to add.

Yea, that’s right, my family did that. The thing is, their recipes are the kind that are worth being sneaky over. At some point I’m going to have to fly to New Orleans & spend a good few weeks with my grandfather in the kitchen, it’s the only way I’m ever going to get his secrets.

So, you see why I struggle with sharing sometimes? It’s not my fault I swear, it’s genetics. Genetics are to blame here & only genetics.

Clearly though I’m living proof that you can go against the grain, of go against what’s been ingrained rather. What ever the case may be. So, I plug on, keep the site up & running, & today, today I’m sharing my own personal secret weapon.

The dirty secret behind my secret weapons is, that it’s not even mine… oh dear lord the shame. It’s all out in the open now, no going back.

This carrot cake recipe came out of the ottolenghi cookbook. I never needed to make an alteration because it was perfect as is. The only thing I change is that sometimes I like to double the batter, triple the cream & turn it into a 3 layered cake with lots of cream between layers. Other than that, I know when I’m looking at perfection. So, on that note, I would just like to say…. from the depths of my heart, thank you Mr. Ottolenghi for sharing with us perfection.

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chestnut soup

We’re back to soups, chestnut this time. I know it sounds a little odd, but hear me out. It is cold outside. It is the time of year where you start finding street venders selling these little gems roasted on every corner. Soups are good for you, they warm the soul. Chestnuts are sweet in a comforting way. Yeah, I’m clearly all about comfort eating.

I know our soup images seem repetitious, I can’t find a way around that at the moment. Maybe we’ll do something crazy like photography it in a mug. Then again, that would just be silly. So I’ve just been reminded by my dearest little Julia who looks like an elf, that I do like pictures of soup in mugs. The reason she knows this, is being a food photographer herself, she showed me her portfolio & her images of soup in mugs & I was thrilled… I forgot. I’m going to copy her now. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Enjoy the soup. The sweet, hearty, chestnut soup.

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