Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Elderflower Frosting & Sugared Cranberries

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This carrot cake is always a winner when I have friends over or when I take it to house parties. It’s moist and so easy to make. This time I added some elderflower cordial to the frosting to add a floral tone. I love elderflower cordial and we always have a bottle in the house, even though we mostly use it for gin & tonics. If you like elderflower, you may also like this Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie.

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This recipe is for a small 19cm round cake mold. But you can easily double the recipe to make a larger cake.

Ingredients:

For the sugared cranberries:

2 cups of sugar

2 cups water

2 cups of fresh cranberries, washed and picked through

¾ cups of sugar

For the carrot cake:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of shredded carrot

3/4 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

Zest of 1 mandarin

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the cream cheese and elderflower frosting:

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cream cheese at room temperature

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

2 cups of icing sugar

Extra:

Fresh mint leaves for decoration (optional)

 

 

Start by making the sugared cranberries the night before. Place 2 cups of water plus 2 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir from time to time. Once the simple syrup is done, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes. You want to let it cool before you add the cranberries otherwise they may pop.

Once the syrup has cooled down, add the cranberries and stir to coat them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, drain the cranberries. You can save the simple syrup for another recipe or for a cocktail. Place the ¾ cup of sugar on a shallow plate and start rolling the cranberries in it until they are evenly coated. Then place them on a baking sheet and let them dry for at least 1 hour.

To make the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with parchment paper. Grease and flour the edges of the mold.

Beat the sugar with the eggs. Then add the vegetable oil, shredded carrot, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Finally add the mandarin zest and the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool down completely before you start making the frosting.

To make the frosting, whisk the softened butter with the cream cheese until well combined. Then add the elderflower cordial and whisk. Then gradually add the icing sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth frosting.

Carefully remove the cake from the mold and plate it. Then frost it with the help of a spatula. I only added it to the top and swirled it around a bit with a spoon. Place some of the sugared cranberries in the middle of the cake. If you want you can add a few mint leaves for extra color. Keep the cake in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Gigli with Chorizo, Flower Sprouts & Sumac Roasted Chickpeas

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I saw these flower sprouts at my supermarket and I was very curious to try them so I just got them. If you have never seen or heard of them, they are a mix between Brussels sprouts and kale. They cook very quickly and are mild in taste. They add a nice texture to this slightly spicy pasta dish.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

200grs of gigli pasta or any other pasta that you prefer

60grs of chorizo, thinly sliced

1 medium shallot, chopped

1 clove of garlic

½ cup of tomato puree

½ cup of vegetable or chicken stock

Salt

Pepper

Cayenne

Pinch of sugar

For the Flower sprouts:

2 handfuls of flower sprouts

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pinch of garlic powder

Salt

Pepper

For the sumac roasted chickpeas:

1/3 of a cup of canned chickpeas

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of sumac

Pinch of salt

Extra:

Grated Parmesan for serving

 

Preheat your oven to 180/350F.

Mix the chickpeas with the olive oil, salt and sumac. Spread them over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Roast them for 20 minutes.

Slice off the tough ends of the flower sprouts. Then slice them in half, trying to separate the leaves as much as you can. Pour the olive into a pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, saute the flower sprouts with some garlic powder, salt and pepper. This will only take 1 or 2 minutes. Transfer them to a bowl and set them aside.

Cook the chorizo in a large pan until slightly brown on both sides. Do not use any oil, as the chorizo will render enough of its own fat anyways. Once the chorizo is brown, transfer it to a small bowl. Keep the fat in the pan. Add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Then add the garlic and tomato puree. Cook for 1 minute and then add the stock, salt, pepper, cayenne and sugar. Let it reduce for about 6 minutes until it becomes a sauce. Taste for salt.

In the meanwhile, cook the pasta as instructed on the package.

Once the sauce is ready, add the chorizo, flower sprouts, chickpeas and pasta. Mix well. Serve with some grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

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