I absolutely adore carrot cake; in fact I might go so far as to say that it’s my favourite cake in the world, and me and my boyfriend Matt made it this weekend when we went back to Birmingham for his brother’s birthday because I needed baking to cheer me up. This is where this post takes a turn for the worst:
Something I haven’t mentioned before on this blog (mainly because I wanted this to be a place where I could really indulge my love for cooking and baking without worry or fear, but also because some of my friends and family read this) is that I’ve been battling with Anorexia since I was about 17ish (I’m 19 now). I think it became a real problem after I went travelling last summer; I volunteered for a month in a Nepalese orphanage and lost quite a lot of weight, and then when I went to university I had full control over what I was eating, so the problem became worse and my friends started to notice. It’s an incredibly secretive and destructive illness, and only a few weeks ago I finally worked up the courage to tell my Mum about it, and I’ve been trying to receive help and give recovery a go ever since. The waiting list for anorexia treatment on the NHS is pretty long at the moment though, so I’m trying to challenge myself on my own, and trying to recapture my love of food and eating again – mainly by making food fun.
I basically wanted to write this down in the hope that it’ll inspire me to properly give recovery a go, as I’ve tried myself before and it didn’t really work; I’ve got a big support system this time round, and hopefully this means more substantial and nutrient-filled recipes will be coming your way soon :)
So back to the carrot cake after that rather depressing digression; Matt has been incredibly supportive about everything, and after I went to the GP about it only a couple of days ago (still haven’t been referred to the eating disorder clinic yet because of the new computer system at uni, will update when I get more news) he’s been helping me with my little challenges, one of which was to make a cake and actually eat it for once. So we made carrot cake (recipe below) and also went for afternoon tea at the Whale Tail Cafe in Lancaster, right by our uni – it’s really lovely in there, an amazing atmosphere, and they’re so welcoming of vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free diets. We’ve been a couple of times, and they have really good salads and lunch options – in fact Matt said that the bean burger he had there was better than any meat burger he’d tried!
So here are some pictures of the food from the cafe, our carrot cake and recipe (nicked from this website: http://ethicalchef.co.uk/recipe/carrot-cake-vegan/ but with some lovely lemon curd added in the middle) and the promise that from now on, I won’t be posting calorie counts, and I will try to eat some of each and every recipe I post.
Love, Emily x
P.S. Feel free to comment with any personal posts about struggles with eating disorders, I’d love to be able to talk to people going through the same thing. Also if you have any questions feel free to comment, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Epic Lemon-Filled Carrot Cake
For the cake
225g of grated carrot
170g of caster sugar
170g of sultanas
280g of self-raising flour
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger
200g of vegan margarine
200ml of orange juice
1 teaspoon of orange zest
Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
For the icing
115g of vegan margarine
170g of icing sugar
Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
A little bit of orange zest for the top
Lemon curd or apricot jam to fill (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius, and prepare two round cake tins by greasing the sides and lining with greaseproof paper
- Cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the grated carrot and sultanas
- Slowly add the orange juice and zest
- Add the flour, salt, spices and vanilla and mix (but do not over mix, it makes the mixture all rubbery and horrid)
- Spread into the cake tins and bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through
- Once they’re cool, spread lemon curd over one cake and put the other cake on top so that the lemon curd sandwiches the cakes together to make one – then spread the top with the icing (just mix the icing ingredients until creamy) and top with either some orange zest or chopped nuts – I went for orange because I don’t really like nuts.
Serves around 8 depending on how big your slices are :)