Christmas Carrot Cake

This fabulous carrot cake is taken to another level with the addition of Chilli Pepper Pete’s Ras-el-Hanout spice mix – it might sound crazy but it’s the perfect way to dial up the classic carrot cake flavours of cinnamon and nutmeg, which balance out the fresh sweetness of the carrot. Topped with rich cream cheese frosting, this is the perfect teatime treat – or you can turn it into a worthy replacement for the standard Christmas cake, with the addition of a pretty ribbon, a sprinkle of edible gold dust and a generous heap of white chocolate Maltesers to decorate…

200g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp Chilli Pepper Pete’s Ras-el-Hanout
1 tsp cinnamon
A pinch of salt
200g sugar
180ml vegetable oil
4 eggs
150g freshly grated carrot
50g chopped walnuts
For the frosting:
100g cream cheese
70g icing sugar
40g butter
To decorate:
White chocolate Maltesers
Edible glitter
Festive ribbon

1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C (170˚C fan). First, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, Chilli Pepper Pete’s Ras-el-Hanout, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

2. Next, in a mixing jug, beat together the vegetable oil and the four eggs, then add to the dry ingredients and mix briefly – don’t overbeat it, as it’ll make the resulting cake chewy, so just mix well enough to get rid of any big lumps and don’t worry about the little ones.

3. Grease a deep, loose-bottomed 7 inch cake tin, and line the bottom with a circle of greaseproof paper. Pour in the cake mixture and place in the oven for 50 minutes, or until the cake is well-risen, springy to the touch, and a fork inserted into the middle comes out clean.

4. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for a minute or two, then gently remove it and place on a wire rack to cool.

5. Once the cake is completely cold, you can decorate it. Weigh out the cream cheese, icing sugar and butter in a bowl and beat with a whisk until smoothly combined and nice and thick – when you first mix them together the mixture will be very sloppy, so keep beating it until it thickens up again.

6. Finally, top the cake with a generous layer of frosting, and finish off with a sprinkle of edible glitter and a pile of white chocolate Maltesers. Wrap the ribbon around the cake and tie with a bow, or secure neatly with a dressmakers’ pin.