January 9, 2013

Italian Carrot Cake Recipe

Updated September 2016 with new photos

By In Recipes

I’m more a Nigel or Hugh FW man than a Nigella lover; but there she was in a seemingly endless run of her programs one afternoon on the Food Channel. Playing in the background, really, as I sipped on a glass of Port and read the Hobbit on my Kindle. As Smaug flew over Long Lake down to a fatal coupling over Esgaroth I caught mention of the ‘original’ carrot cake; hailing according to the pouting lips of Nigella, from Italy.

A scrabble under the sofa and a pen and note book are retrieved to record this interesting sounding recipe. Two large carrots… grate by hand, not in a machine as this makes them too wet… 150g caster sugar… 125ml olive oil but not extra virgin “too grassy”… ok got all that… whisk in 3 eggs, add a teaspoon of vanilla, add the ground almonds… Ok, how much? I ask. Nigella ignores me. How rude I thought. But then she is on the telly and I’m lounging on the sofa spilling vintage port over a note book.

Oh the joys of YouView, where you can rewind live programs. I listen intently but no, Nigella steadfastly refuses to divulge the quantity of the ground almonds she adds to the mix. I assume this is a purposeful ploy to get all to buy her book… not that I can recall which specific book it is from.

As it happens I have all the ingredients in the store cupboard. A miracle in itself. And I cobble together the ground almonds from various opened packets – don’t look at the use by dates! – just under 250g ground almonds. Which seems about right to me, based on other ground almond type cakes at any rate. I therefore rustle up a version of Nigellas Italian Carrot Cake and hope for the best. The result is rather tasty.

Italian Carrot Cake

Italian Carrot Cake

Italian Carrot Cake Recipe

Italian Carrot Cake
The 'original' Carrot Cake recipe comes from Italy; this is a version adapted from a Nigella TV show.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 hr
Main Ingredients
  1. 2 Large Carrots grated, moisture drained
  2. 150g caster sugar
  3. 125ml ordinary olive oil
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 250g ground almonds
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  7. Pinch nutmeg
  8. half a lemon zest and juice
  9. 75g golden sultanas
  10. 60ml golden rum
  11. handful of pinenuts
  1. 250g double cream
  2. 2 tsp icing sugar
  3. 2 tbsp rum
  1. Oven to 180C. Line and grease a 23cm springform cake tin.
  2. Soak the golden sultanas in the rum (Nigella heated hers).
  3. Grate the carrots and drain off/squeeze out any access liquid.
  4. Lightly toast the pinenuts in a dry pan. allow to cool.
  5. Whisk together the sugar and olive oil until creamy.
  6. Continuing whisking and add the vanilla, the eggs and nutmeg.
  7. When combined fold in the ground almonds, the carrots, the sultanas and soaking rum, lemon zest and juice.
  8. Pour mixture into the tin, scatter over the pinenuts and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  9. Once cooked allow to cool a little before removing from the tin.
  10. For the cream whisk until stiff peaks and add the icing sugar and rum. I believe Nigella used mascarpone cheese rather than double cream.
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A slice of Italian Carrot cake with a rum-laced cream

Updated September 2016 with new photos.

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  1. bellini January 18, 2013

    Since travelling to Italy late last year I am obsessed with making cakes made with almonds, no flour, olive oil. This is a must try.

  2. Lauren February 1, 2013

    This looks really delicious. I have never really been a big fan of carrot cake but this one I think I can actually like. I should definitely try making this one for my friends who do love this flavor.

    • Andrew February 1, 2013

      This is totally different from the American version – no sickly frosting on the top for a start! I really like it (but I also like the American version too 🙂 )

  3. Hip Hop Shop June 22, 2013

    I love carrots cake, and this one looks really taste 😉


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