Marmalade Carrot Cake with tangy swirls of burst cranberries is the perfect “just-in-case” cake to have on standby during the festive season. A cut-up and keep kind of cake for family and friends. Not much effort for a whole lot of reward.
Merry Cakemas to you.
Having well-loved recipes that I can tweak to my heart’s content is a real time and energy saver. Usually they are savoury, but sometimes it is cake. Just as everyone needs a go-to lasagne, bread and soup recipe, so to do we need a basic cake. You know, just in case.
I’ve been making riffs of this polenta cake for over 25 years and it has never let me down. I’ve folded in – on separate occasions – figs, blood oranges, berries, rhubarb, turmeric and chocolate. Below is a Christmassy version from 2015. But today’s cake is a true family favourite.
I recently posted this cranberry marmalade carrot cake recipe on Instagram and my daughter messaged me to let me know that this is her favourite cake. As you can see, there is nothing fancy about it. But I pretty much guarantee that once made you won’t miss the fancy.
To be honest I’m not much of a baker, but this basic marmalade cake recipe is one that I turn to again and again. I can’t quite bake it with my eyes closed, but nearly.
It isn’t the kind of cake that wants angelic swoops of icing, or fancy fondant cut-outs. Which is just as well because that’s not me. I swoon in appreciation at the skills of my fellow food bloggers who Instagram their staggeringly beautiful cakes. But I ain’t that patient. Nor do I have that kind of skill. Rustic and wholesome is more more thing anyway, So I tell myself. 🙂
What’s in this cake?
Carrots, 200 grams of them.
Best orange marmalade.
Cranberries, cooked down just until they burst.
Banana – to replace some of the fat and sugar.
Oranges – juice and zest.
Dark brown sugar – it really adds a depth that white sugar just doesn’t have.
Light spelt flour and buckwheat flour. You could use all gluten-free. I sometimes do.
A few marmalade cake tips
1. Either make your own marmalade or get the really good stuff. Not supermarket own brand. I’m not normally picky about these things (I love own-brands for the most part), but the better makes have much more flavour and are less sweet, letting the citrus shine. Here is my trusted recipe for Tawny Seville Orange Marmalade. It really is quite good.
2. Give the grated carrots a good squeeze. The cake comes out very moist without need for extra liquid released by the carrots. Either use a clean tea towel or your (very clean) hands.
3. Wait an agonising half an hour before cutting into pieces. This ensures that the texture will remain remarkably fluffy for such a vegetable-laden cake.
4. If you don’t have a ripe banana, use about 100 ml of unsweetened applesauce, or even yogurt. The banana takes the place of some fat and sugar while keeping the cake amazingly moist.
5. This cake keeps very well. Let it cool completely, cut, and either store in an airtight cake tin or wrap cut cake in parchment paper and a double layer of foil. The cake will keep for up to five days at cool room temperature and one month in the freezer.
6. I’ve not made this as a vegan cake but I imagine it would work well with two flax eggs in lieu of the egg-eggs.
Taste the difference
Add in warm spices – cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, ginger, clove, nutmeg. Just a little of one type to let the cranberries stand out. I’ve opted for ginger this time.
Go nutty. Or a little seedy. 🙂 About 50 grams or so. I like pumpkin seeds or pecans.
Make it a bit boozy. Rather than brush marmalade on the warm cake, how about spooning on a little Cointreau?
**Remember to follow me on Pinterest and, if you make my Cranberry Swirl Marmalade Carrot Cake, click on the pin below and leave a photo of your make with a comment telling me what you think, or any awesome changes that you made. Similarly, any Instagram posts tagged @food_to_glow using my recipes will go on my Story if I see them. I’m always so proud when you share my recipes with the world. Yay!!!
Cranberry Swirl Marmalade Carrot Cake
Marmalade Carrot Cake with tangy swirls of burst cranberries is the perfect "just-in-case" cake to have on standby during the festive season. A cut-up and keep kind of cake for family and friends.
- 100 ml rapeseed oil or olive oil or 80ml coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 100 g dark brown sugar
- 6 tbsp orange marmalade divided use
- 200 g carrots grated and squeezed
- 1 banana medium, mashed
- 1 tsp ginger grated
- 1 orange zest and juice
- 125 g light spelt flour
- 100 g buckwheat flour or wholemeal flour
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 150 g cranberries fresh or frozen
- 2 tbsp orange juice or water
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Oil and line a 7x11 in/18x28cm pan with baking parchment.
Beat the oil, eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in 4 tablespoons of the marmalade, carrots, banana, ginger, orange juice and zest until well mixed.
Sift over the flours and the one and three-quarters teaspoon of baking powder. Fold gently, just until the flour disappears.
For the cranberries, place them in a small pan with the water or juice, and the sugar. Cook on a low-medium heat until the berries burst and are a lovely ruby goo.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Dollop on the cranberries, using the tip of a knife to swirl them a bit. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
When the cake is baked, pull it from the oven and brush or spoon over more marmalade - about 2 tablespoons. Let the cake cool in its tin for 15 minutes, then lift out by the paper onto a rack to cool further. Cut into 12-15 pieces.
This cake will keep well for up to five days at a cool room temperature.
The cake freezes beautifully. Cut into pieces and wrap in parchment paper and a double layer of foil. It will keep well for one month.
Improvise with the spices. Instead of ginger, try a teaspoon of cinnamon or mixed spice. Or perhaps 1/4 tsp of ground cloves or cardamom.
RIPE FOR PINNING!