Carrot, courgette and cardamom are a wonderful combination of flavours. The cake itself is moist enough but for that extra special touch you can add the delicious rosemary & orange crème fraiche. If you want to go all out, you can make mini carrots and courgettes out of marzipan with a little orange and green food colouring and angelica root for the stalks. This cake will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Ingredients

  • 275 g Self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Cardamom pods, split and seeds ground
  • 275 g Golden caster sugar
  • 4 Large free-range eggs
  • 250 ml Rapeseed oil, extra for greasing
  • 1 tblsp Vanilla extract
  • 200 g Carrots, peeled and finely grated
  • 200 g Courgettes, trimmed and finely grated (squeeze out any excess moisture)
  • For the rosemary & orange crème fraiche:
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tblsp Golden caster sugar
  • 2 Small fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 2 x 200 g cartons crème fraiche

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Lightly oil 2 x 23cm (9in) spring-form cake tins and line the bases with parchment paper.
  • Prepare the rosemary & orange crème fraiche. Pass the orange juice through a sieve into a small pan with half of the caster sugar and rosemary and simmer until reduced by half.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely, then remove the rosemary sprigs and discard.
  • Fold into the crème fraiche, then cover and chill until needed.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and cardamom with a wooden spoon.
  • In a stand-alone mixer (or in a large bowl, using an electric hand-held mixer), whisk together the sugar and eggs until pale and fluffy.
  • With the mixer still on, pour the oil into the bowl, in a steady stream, and mix until it is completely incorporated, then mix in the vanilla extract.
  • Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and fold in with a spatula until just mixed through.
  • Add the finely grated carrot and courgette and fold through until completely incorporated.
  • Divide the batter between the two lined cake tins and place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack. When the tins are cool enough to touch, gently release the cakes and return them to the wire rack, removing the base and parchment paper. Allow to cool completely.
  • If one of the cakes has risen more than the other, simply cut off the excess with a bread knife so that you have a flat surface to work with.
  • Assemble the cake by spreading one of the layers with half the rosemary & orange crème fraiche.
  • Place the second layer on top and spread with the remaining crème fraiche. Garnish with orange zest and rosemary flowers if available.
  • Cut into eight slices and serve on plates.