There are endless sources of inspiration for me when it comes to food…from cookbooks, to celebrity chefs, family recipes and traditions to beautiful blogs and instagram accounts. There is definitely no lack of beauty and mouth watering influence all around to motivate and fuel creativity in the kitchen. Out of all the things that inspire me to cook and create new recipes, beautiful fresh produce has to be number one.
Nothing inspires me to cook and gets me excited about food like a lazy stroll through a farmers market or a well stocked grocery store. The abundance of gorgeously vibrant vegetables and fruits, with their intoxicating aromas and endless array of colours, make my mind instantly begin to buzz with ideas and visualise all sorts of creations and possible dishes that can showcase these wonderful gifts of nature.
So naturally, when the lovely Sahra of Foragers & Co. contacted me a couple of weeks ago about a possible collaboration, my heart danced with joy and I immediately screamed YES!
Foragers & Co. (instagram account here) was founded by Sahra just a few short months ago as a way to encourage people to buy more local & seasonal produce, eat better and be a little more conscious and educated about what they eat. She sources the freshest possible fruit and veg directly from the closest possible growers available here in New South Wales, packs them in different sized bags and delivers them directly to people’s doors all over Sydney.
This means that not only do they conveniently get produce that is exponentially fresher, but they can also feel good about contributing to a lower carbon foot print and supporting our local economy. What’s not to love??
I absolutely love what she is doing and am super proud to be joining forces with her on what hopefully will be the first of many projects to come.
For our first little collaboration, Sahra and I agreed that she would send me one star fruit/vegetable on a regular basis and I would try my best to showcase it in the most delicious way possible in a simple recipe of my own making. These gorgeous heirloom purple carrots were the first in line.
As soon as i saw their deep inky violet hue, my head was bursting with ideas. After not much deliberation (and my husband’s eager encouragement), I decided to make this healthier version of a classic carrot cake using these stunning purple carrots.
It just so happens that I had just bought the most striking bundt cake pan and was ITCHING to use it, so it all just fell into place. Don’t you just love it when the world makes perfect sense like that?
I used 100% wholewheat flour and sweetened the cake entirely with wonderful raw local honey for more flavour and less refined ingredients. These substitutions don’t always work well in all baked goods, especially the more delicate and technical pastries and cakes, and I am never one to compromise on taste…when I need to use white flour and sugar, I sure as hell use them, no apologies! But here, for this cake, they worked just perfectly. To up the goodness even more, I used a light flavoured olive oil as my choice of fat, instead of the not-so-nutritious vegetable oils traditionally used in carrot cakes. Coconut or macadamia oil would work beautifully too I reckon!
For the glaze, all I did was sweeten some cream cheese with a little more honey and loosen it up with some milk and add a hint of vanilla. I cannot even describe how delicious this stuff is! It was quite the challenge not to lick it all up while making it.
Of course, the batter was not exactly bright purple in colour, but when cooked, the inside of the cake was wonderfully speckled with deep muted purple spots, and I found that to be so incredibly beautiful! The flavour of purple carrots is practically identical to the orange ones, so of course you can use regular orange carrots in this recipe and it will be equally delicious.
I spiced the batter with a touch of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, which you could also customise to your liking, these are just the classic carrot-cake flavours, which I love. I am not the biggest fan of nuts inside cakes, but if you are then by all means, go ahead and add a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter for some crunch! Also, as always, this recipe makes quite a small cake (there’s only two of us here!), so double it for a bigger crowd.
I must say, I am truly delighted at how this cake turned out: it has a moist and tender crumb and isn’t overly sweet, it couldn’t be simpler to make and it is healthy and nutritious enough to be eaten for breakfast! WIN!
Tell me, what would you have done with these purple carrots? I still have some that I haven’t used up and would love your suggestions!
This was so much fun! I loved having to come up with a recipe based on a seasonal, beautiful ingredient like this. I can’t wait to see what else I get in my next surprise delivery from Foragers & Co.!
- FOR THE CAKE
- • 200g whole-wheat flour or spelt flour
- • 1½ tsp. baking powder
- • ⅓ tsp. salt
- • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- • ½ tsp. round ginger
- • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
- • 2 eggs
- • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- • 125ml (1/2 cup) honey
- • 125ml (1/2 cup) light flavoured olive oil, or melted coconut oil or macadamia oil
- • 200 finely grated carrot (purple or regular)
- FOR THE GLAZE
- • 125g cream cheese (such as philadelphia)
- • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- • 1-2 tbsp. honey
- • 3-4 tbsp. milk
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
- Grease and flour a 6-cup capacity loaf or bundt or regular round cake pan, set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, honey and oil. Add the dry ingredients in two additions and mix till combined (do not overmix). Add the grated carrot and fold through with a spatula or a spoon till well dispersed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean (time may vary slightly depending on the shape/size of the pan, check at 25 minutes). Leave to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a plate. When cooled completely, drizzle with the cream cheese glaze. The cake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To make the glaze: beat the cream cheese for 3-5 minutes until softened with a handheld electric mixer or stand mixer. Add the vanilla and honey (to taste) and beat until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until it reaches a nice pourable consistency.