Monday, 10 March 2014

Carrot Cake Arabian Style

It feels like it is time for cake. You will have noticed from my previous posts that I don't often include cakes. That is because if I make them, I eat them and then I have to double the amount of exercise I do to try and maintain a healthy weight. As I am very reticent about increasing my exercise level, then I have to forego the cakes. But, I have a spicy recipe that I wanted to share.

This recipe 'Arabian Carrot Cake' is inspired by Tamara Milstein's recipe 'Sephardi Carrot Cake' from her book 'Bake your Cake & Eat it Too'. It is a book I have had for many years and just occasionally I pick it up to check out her lovely photos and drool over the recipes. I have made this cake a few times and each time it has turned out perfectly.

According to Tamara, the Sephardi were Jews who lived in and around the Middle Eastern Arab countries and Europe since late 15th century after they were expelled from Spain, when Spain was a Muslim country. The Sephardi have taken these flavours and adopted them into their diet. The flavours of this cake are very Middle Eastern, a cuisine I like very much and use in my cooking on a regular basis.

My recipe includes a good mixture of fruit and nuts, eggs and spices and just a very small piece with a Turkish coffee will keep you going for the rest of the day.

Arabian Carrot Cake

Ingredients - oven temps 180 degrees fan forced

250g caster sugar
6 eggs separated
zest of 2 lemons
2 cups grated carrot
3 cups ground almonds
1 cup self raising flour
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 cup toasted pistachio nuts
1/2 cup sultanas
8 dried apricots chopped
10 dried prunes chopped
1/4 cup toasted flaked almonds
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbls apricot jam or similar
1 tbls boiling water
sprinkling of icing sugar
  • Grease a round springform cake tin or a fluted cake tin, with butter.
  • Beat egg yolks, lemon zest and sugar until light and creamy. 
  • Fold in grated carrot, chopped prunes, apricots, sultanas, ground almonds and mix well. 
  • Add flour, cinnamon and 3/4's of the nuts that have been slightly crushed. (I usually put them in a tea towel and give them a few bashes with a rolling pin). The mixture will look a little heavy at this stage but the addition of the egg whites will perk it up.
  • Beat egg whites with salt until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the mixture. Be thorough but gentle and keep as much air in as possible.
  • Spoon the mix into the cake tin. Sprinkle a few more nuts over the top.
  • Bake in the oven for around 40 minutes until nicely brown on top and when a skewer is inserted in the centre and comes out clean.
  • Turn the cake out and cool. 
  • Mix jam with boiling water and glaze the top of the cake with a pastry brush. Add a dusting of icing sugar before serving.


  1. What an interesting cake - I love the untypical flavours for a carrot cake. I'm sure it smelt delicious coming out of the oven!

  2. Thanks Christina. I love these flavours, they so remind me of times spent in the Middle East. And yes, the whole house smelt delicious.