Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pancakes or cake? Or both? Egg-free Carrot & Pecan cake

I totally missed the Shrove Tuesday boat, didn't I? All day, my blogroll, and Twitter, has been full of variations on the same pancakey theme. American, traditional English, sweet, savoury, all manner of toppings. All the food bloggers touting their best recipes. And where was I?

I'll tell you where. Begging my useless chickens to lay just one egg between them. No time to deliberate and cogitate over which particular variation of pancake would grace our plates - it was touch and go whether there would be any at all. Fortunately, the chickens produced (although they cut it pretty fine). Pancakes saved, but then, another, ahem, issue. The chocolate cake I made the other day lasted an embarrassingly short time, and I have a friend coming round for coffee tomorrow. Cake or pancakes? I could see a bit of a problem.

I know I could have bought some more eggs, but it's Shrove Tuesday - the time to symbolically eat everything up before a fast - or at the very least, the exercise of restraint - over Lent. I have been debating whether, rather than denying myself food of some description, to impose a social media blackout on myself for the next 40 days, but then I think I might shrivel up into a small pile of nothingness and cease to exist altogether. And besides, if I didn't have Twitter, how would I find out that I could make a perfectly delicious cake with - get this - NO EGGS AT ALL.

Well, who would have thought it? Mrs "I eat everything, no allergies here" Recipe Junkie commending, nay applauding, such a thing.

Well, it's mighty fine. The recommendation came from Jen who writes at Blue Kitchen Bake, and although another friend had offered an actual egg, (thanks, Mrs W) I thought it would be more exciting and more in keeping with the whole ethos of Shrove Tuesday to work with what I had and use up rather than acquire more. I fiddled around - less cinammon than Jen's and I added in some nuts and the frosting, but basically it's her idea.

I'll admit I was sceptical, but it's honestly delicious. I should have saved it until tomorrow when my friend is here (and frankly after all the pancakes I met, I could only manage a tiny nibble) but it's lovely cake, and the next time you have no eggs, you could give it a go. As long as you have carrots, of course.

Egg free Carrot & Pecan Cake with Lemony Cream Cheese frosting

120ml sunflower oil
120g honey
120g caster sugar
240g self raising flour
240g coarsely grated carrot - about 2 large carrots

75g chopped pecans
2tsp ground cinnamon
a shake of ground cloves

pinch of salt
And for the frosting:
35g unsalted butter
200g sifted icing sugar
About 3 tsp lemon juice (approx half a lemon's worth)
50g cream cheese
finely grated zest of a lemon

20x20cm loose bottomed cake tin, lined

Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

In a small pan, gently heat the oil, sugar and honey till the sugar dissolves. This ends up making something that looks a little like a brown lava lamp in a pan - especially if you have the heat on too high.

Combine the flour, cinammon, cloves, carrot, nuts and salt in a bowl, then add in the oil/sugar/honey mixture, and mix together.

Scrape into the tin and spread out, then bake for between 45 mins-1hr (or until a skewer comes out clean). Jen made hers in mini loaf tins which took around 30 minutes, and the original recipe is for a large loaf tin which will take between 1hr-1hr20 mins.

While the cake is cooling on a rack, make the frosting  by beating the butter for a minute or so (we're talking Kenwood beating here, not arm and wooden spoon) till it's soft, then add half the icing sugar and beat till it's in crumbs - try not to choke on the fine dust of icing sugar that will inevitably envelop you. Add in the lemon juice, beat to a paste, then add the rest of the icing sugar, the cream cheese and the lemon zest, and beat together till smooth, then spread onto the cold cake.

So given that I'm not going to give up Twitter, what shall I forgo for Lent? Well, perhaps eggs would be a good place to start?


  1. Pecans, carrots and lemons.... It's like heaven!! I'll have to have a go, need more pecans first.... Yum :)

    1. I reckon you could use walnuts, or go for raisins or something instead of nuts if there's nut allergies to contend with.

  2. That sounds great! I am a sucker for anything with pecans and cinnamon! :)

    1. I know I shouldn't be surprised - but it's really good. I'd never have thought of 'cake' without eggs - I usually go for flapjack of cookies in a similar situation, but now I have the knowledge of egg free cake too!

  3. Lemony crran cheese icing + carrot cake is a match made in heaven!

  4. Aw thanks, glad I could help you eat more cake! I adapted the recipe from one I found in an old book of my Mum's which used melted butter. It's a very handy recipe to have for those times when you need cake but have no eggs or butter. I like the sound of you cream cheese icing as well, might have to give that a go next time :)

    1. I have to say that I couldn't have had carrot cake with out it. Next time (there will be a next time) I might make the cake with ginger in it rather than cinammon - and defintitely lemon icing.

  5. Great way to incorporate both! These look tasty.

  6. Looking good RJ. My sister has just become vegan and I reckon I could tinker with this..

    1. I thik from the original (Jen's post) if you used Agave syrup hatwould make the cake vegan. Not sure how you'd pimp the cream cheese bit though? Straightforward lemon drizzle? In my humble opinion, it did make the cake...


I LOVE comments - please leave one. Unfortunately, I have been getting hideous amounts of SPAM so please can you do the word verification thingy?