Carrot and Marmalade Cake



As many of you know, I am originally from Florida. Lived there 24 years in fact. Twenty-four largely sun-soaked, carefree years. But now I call Edinburgh, the beautiful capital of Scotland, home. Although I miss my family and friends, the year-round, bathwater-temperature climate, and the cheap and abundant seafood, I truly love my adopted city. I love the warm, but appropriately cautious people (you would be as cautious if your ancestors endured a similar border-raiding history); the vibrant cultural scene; the handsome nuanced buildings, often in gardens I used to think only existed in movies; and the wealth of nutritious and delicious produce – from brambles to venison. I have even grown to, if not love,  at least appreciate the certifiably crazy weather. Florida merely has a climate, punctuated by thunderstorms and the occasional hurricane, but no real weather to speak of – or seasons.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, whenever I meet someone new – a British person – the conversation often goes something like this: “You’re not from around here. Where are you from?”   Me: “Florida, but I’ve lived here over 20 years.”   Them: “Good God!…Why?” Then I get an opportunity to let said person see this beautiful, green and pleasant land through my eyes. Admittedly it’s rainy, blowy and a bit parky (cold), but if we had great weather everyone would want to live here. I’m sure there would have to be some kind of quota system to visit our tiny loch and mountain-dotted country. I don’t do Florida down, but I like to remind folk of how much we have here. They probably still think I am a bit bonkers though.

But one thing we don’t have here, and that I miss very much, is citrus. Good old Florida citrus: tangelos, grapefruits, minneolas, limes, lemons, pomelos, uglis, tangerines, mandarins, satsumas and even the little, fairly useless kumquat. 
When I was younger I didn’t appreciate the mood-boosting sunset hues of the red grapefruit, nor the usefulness of mouth-puckering rough lemons and key limes. I took for granted that I could just pluck the low-hanging fruits from a tree, for free. Now, lemons and limes are a hugely appreciated staple in my kitchen. I use one or the other every single day, sometimes several times a day: fresh squeezed lime in my cold green tea (usually three glasses), fresh lemon juice in a daily salad or two, in marinades, dressings and ceviches, as the acidic perk in creamy sauces or to cut through the healthy oiliness of salmon. I often just squeeze it onto a random meal instead of (or as well as, if I am honest) salt. And of course, in cakes: lemons, limes and oranges, and their zingy zest.

I have previously confessed to not having a tremendous sweet-tooth. If given a choice I would opt for savoury over sweet, mostly. But show me a slice of homemade lemon drizzle cake, extra heavy on the lemon, and I will all but bite your hand off.

Today’s cake is not quite that zingy but nearly so. It is rich with deep-amber marmalade and studded with raisins and seeds, and has minimal oil and sugar to keep it on the right side of healthy. I have waxed lyrical about citrus in last year’s seville marmalade post so will leave it to you to click through to it if you fancy some additional nutrition information. We all know it is filled to bursting with essential Vitamin C, but it also has fairly useful amounts of folate, potassium and good amounts of cholesterol-binding fibre. Of interest to cancer researchers is the phytochemical d-limonene, which has been shown in animal studies to help slow the rate of tumour growth, as well as increase the levels of liver enzymes  that detoxify cancer-causing compounds (carcinogens). More cancer-specific information on d-limonene is from mskcc.org in their ‘About Herbs’ section. I use this Memorial  Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center site a lot in my work, double-checking facts and getting new information on herbs and natural compounds that are used in cancer prevention and cancer treatment.

Other especially-lemony and citrussy recipes on food to glow are lemony courgette and fine bean tagliatelle in herbed creme fraiche, courgette, lemon and elderflower cake, watermelon, lime and green tea soothie, and lemon geranium cake. But really, most of my recipes have some kind of citrus in them. Told you I love citrus!

And, if you can’ get enough of the little orbs of sunshine, check out the other blogs’ participating in #citruslove. Click on any of the little thumbnail images to take you straight to a new recipe. I know I will be trying a few.


Carrot and Marmalade Cake

This is an easy and delicious way of making a sweet treat healthy and packed full of fibre.

100 ml rapeseed oil (not extra-virgin)
2 eggs
150 g dark brown/muscovado sugar
4 heaped tbsp best quality dark marmalade (the nippier the better; here’s mine)
100 g self-raising flour
125 g self-raising wholemeal flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
200 g carrots, finely grated
1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
juice of one orange (zest too if your marmalade is quite sweet)
50 g pumpkin seeds
50 g raisins
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

Grease/oilspray a 18 x 28 cm/7 x 11 inch pan (or equivalent) and line on all sides with non-stick baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.

Vigorously mix together the oil, eggs and sugar until it is thick and leaves a trail when the spoon is lifted. I am a weakling so I defer to the power of my Kitchen-Aid mixer. Sift over the flours and baking powder, then add the remaining ingredients, folding gently. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin; bake for 35 minutes, or a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle of the cake. Leave to cool in the tin before removing and stripping off the baking paper. This freezes well but will keep for 3-4 days in an airtight tin (keep in a cool place). If you like, heat extra marmalade and pour over the cake for a gorgeous, zingy glaze.

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14 thoughts on “Carrot and Marmalade Cake

  1. mmmmmmmmmm this looks lush, i still get gip for the beetroot cake recipie from the band, athough they didnt guess what was in it.

    • Glad you like the nutrition bits as well as the recipes. I have toned it down since the earliest days, but I think it is good to highlight the health benefits of foods, where appropriate. I just can’t resist :D

    • I don’t know what to say, other than thank you, ChileQueen. Very flattering and blush-making. Other than the recipe itself, I never know when I sit down what I will write about, so I’m glad you appreciate it. Cheers, lovely!

    • I am citruslove-ing – number 93 – through Mis Pensamientos. Thanks for the personal invite though, and for commenting. For me every month is citruslove month. I might struggle a bit more with chocolate in February, so close after Christmas!

  2. What a delectable cake for the season of citrus! Orange, carrot and banana sound like a delightfully vibrant idea after the indulgent holiday season.

    • Yes, egg replacer or chia seeds could easily make this vegan. Please let me know if you make it as I would like to be able to put in your method (attributed) alongside the original. And thanks for putting up with my rambling stories.

  3. I have lots of carrots but no marmalade :(. I might have to use some of that homemade Arbutus unedo (Irish Strawberry Tree) jam that I foraged and made a little while ago. It has been sitting in the fridge for a while now and I figure it might be time to use it in this nutritious little black dress :)

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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