This delicious traditional Italian cake was the precursor to the carrot cake we know now and love but this is kind of marzipany without the bitterness. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity as it’s fantastic with coffee, for breakfast or with a glass of vin santo after dinner. Like a lot of Italian recipes it’s dairy free and it also has no oil or butter. It is mostly carrots, egg and almond.
4 egg yolks
2 lemons, zest only
225g of finely grated carrots
225g ground almonds
225g of sugar, I use golden caster sugar
1 heaped tablespoon of self raising flour (I use spelt but you can use gluten free from Doves flours)
4 egg whites whipped till soft peaks
A small handful of pine nuts
Pinch of salt
Icing sugar to dust on top
Preheat the oven to 180c or 350f. Prepare an 8 inch baking tin by placing a round piece of parchment in the bottom and oiling the sides, I use a cake release spray for this as it’s easier and you can get it online from Amazon.
With an electric hand whisk, beat together the egg yolks, lemon zest and sugar until pale and fluffy. With a big wooden spoon mix in the grated carrot followed by the almonds and the flour. Fold in the egg whites gently till you have a smooth batter, but don’t over mix it. Put the mixture into the baking tin and level out with a spoon. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top and place in the oven for about 45 minutes or until going nutty brown and is firm to the touch. Leave to cool and dust with icing sugar.