I was given this recipe on a recent course and I believe it had been adapted from a Nigella one originally. The sugar, butter and flour have all been replaced by healthier alternatives so although it remains a treat, you can indulge without the guilt!
If you haven’t come across stevia before it is a plant based sweetener that doesn’t effect your blood sugar levels like other sugars. This can be found under various brand names in the sugar section of most good supermarkets.
Prep time approx. 20 mins, cooking time 30-40 minutes
Ingredients: makes 20 squares
3 tbsp. pine nuts
2 medium carrots, approx. 250g
60ml dark rum, brandy or orange juice
150g stevia but you can also use xylitol if preferred
125g olive oil (and yes grams is correct)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
250g ground almonds
1/2 tsp nutmeg
juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 180 degrees / 160 degrees fan/ gas mark 4.
Grease and line a square tin approx. 23cm wide.
Put the pine nuts into a small frying pan and toast over a medium to high heat until golden brown. Ensure you keep them moving the whole time or they will burn very quickly.
If possible grate the carrots using the fine grating disc on a food processor. If not grate by hand. Then spread on double thickness kitchen roll or a clean tea towel to absorb as much moisture as possible.
Meanwhile put the sultanas and rum into a small saucepan and simmer gently until most of the liquid has been absorbed (less than 5 minutes).
Whisk the stevia, olive oil and eggs (ideally with an electric whisk as it will be much quicker and easier!) until creamy, light and airy.
Then whisk in the vanilla and fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, carrots and sultanas with any remaining rum from the pan. Finally stir in the lemon zest and juice. Mix thoroughly but gently.
Turn the cake mixture out into the tin and level the surface with a spatula. Scatter the pine nuts over the top and put into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake is cooked when the top is risen and golden and a skewer comes out sticky but more or less clean.
Remove from the oven and let the cake sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the tin. Leave on the rack to cool completely before cutting.