I’m not one of those people who think that one has to love everything about their country just because they were born there – no, definitely not my style. There are lots and lots of things about Brazil I’m not fond of, lots of things that need to change.
That said, I have to be honest with you: Nigella’s Venetian carrot cake is good, but our Brazilian carrot cake wins by a landslide. ;)
Venetian carrot cake
slightly adapted from Nigella Kitchen
½ cup (77g) golden raisins
¼ cup (60ml) rum
¾ cup (150g) caster (superfine) sugar
½ cup (120ml) regular olive oil, not extra-virgin, plus more for oiling pan
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups (250g) almond meal (ground almonds)
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 medium carrots, coarsely grated (about 2 cups)
finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
3 tablespoons sliced almonds
Cinnamon scented cream:
1 cup (240m) heavy cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line the base of a 23cm (9in) springform pan with baking paper, then grease the paper and the sides of the pan with olive oil.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the rum, and bring to the boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
Whisk the sugar and ½ cup of olive oil in a stand mixer or by hand, until creamily and airily mixed together. Whisk in the vanilla and eggs. Fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, grated carrots, raisins (and any rum that clings to them) and finally the lemon zest and lemon juice.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very shallow in the tin. Sprinkle with the almonds and bake until the top is risen and golden and a cake tester comes out sticky but otherwise more or less clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides. Let cool until ready to serve. Transfer the cake to a serving platter.
Place the cream, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk until soft peaks form.
Serve the cake with the cinnamon cream.
Serves 8-10 – I made 2/3 of the recipe above and used a 20cm (8in) round cake pan with a removable bottom