We're living a Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle, putting our hearts and health first
170g unrefined caster sugar
235ml groundnut / sunflower oil
150g grated carrot
50g (one fruit) grated apple
75g pecans / walnuts, roughly chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Good pinch of cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
225g wholemeal self-raising flour
400g low-fat cream cheese*
Dollop of vanilla bean paste
200g icing sugar or natural sweetener (such as carob or agave syrup) to taste
*Tip* Waitrose's low fat cream cheese has just 0.7g of sat fat per 30g, whereas most others have 2.2 g!
Preheat the oven to 180 fan.
Beat the eggs, sugar and oil in a bowl until it's fluffy and pale.
Mix in the carrot, apple, nuts, dried fruit and lemon.
In a separate bowl, add the flour, bicarb and cinnamon. As it's wholegrain, you won't be able to sift it, so give it a mix with a whisk to fluff it up.
Fold the flour mix into the creamed eggs and oil.
Divide evenly into two round 8-inch cake tins, greased with oil.
Bake for 30 minutes. (check after 20 and pierce with a skewer to see if it comes out clean.)
Leave the cakes to cool completely before turning out.
To make the icing, beat the cream cheese with a whisk until it has become fluffy.
Add the vanilla and icing sugar, or natural sweetener to taste.
Chill the icing and use half to sandwich the cakes together, and the other half to decorate the top.
Obviously this is still cake and has sugar in it, so probably shouldn't be eaten every day.
Grated apple meant I could reduce the sugar content by 1/3.
Carrots, apples, and sultanas all provide a host of vitamins and minerals, while the nuts are sources of monounsaturated fats, and walnuts are sources of alpha linoleic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid.
Using groundnut oil or a sunflower or olive oil, in a reduced capacity, is much better than butter, as it has much less sat fat and is a source of mono and polyunsaturated fats, which help lower bad cholesterol.
Low-fat cream cheese still isn't ideal, but whipping it and only having a little amount isn't too bad for you, and very good for your soul.