Venetian Carrot Cake

 In continuation of my dinner party description from the previous post, I made a Venetian-themed dessert as well. It was a carrot cake recipe was featured on Nigella Lawson's show Nigella Kitchen. Again, it happened to be gluten free because instead of wheat flour, it used almond flour. I couldn't find almond flour at my store, so I just ground 2 1/2 cups blanched almonds in my food processor to get an equivalent volume of almond flour. This is carrot cake to the nth degree because it combines the classic flavors with rum, raisins, and lemons. The resulting cake, which has a nubbly texture, was so rich we could only eat small pieces.

I did alter the recipe of the frosting. I initially followed the recipe exactly, but gave it a little taste and was like, "hello booze!" There was way too much rum for my taste, so I added the juice of the remaining lemon half as well as more powdered sugar, then used only half of my newfangled frosting. Even my friends who don't like frosting seemed to like this one because it's actually not too sweet and it doesn't have that crunchy sugar crystal texture some frostings have. It was creamy and nearly a cross between a glaze and a frosting.

The exciting thing about this meal, between the lasagna and the cake is that you can eat a delicious Italian meal even if you are on a gluten-free diet. Add a salad and some wine and you are good to go.

Venetian Carrot Cake
Printable Recipe


1/4 cup rum
1/2 cup golden raisins (aka: sultanas)
2 medium carrots
1/2 cup light olive oil (not extra virgin)
3/4 cup unbleached sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups almond meal/flour
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
juice and zest of half a small lemon
3 tbsp pine nuts
non-stick cooking spray

Mascarpone Cream:

4 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 tbsp rum
1/2 cup powdered sugar
juice of the other half of the lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan or spring form pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/4 cup rum with the raisins and bring to boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer 3 minutes; set aside.
3. Coarsely grate the carrot by hand or the food processor and place on a double layer of paper towel or a clean kitchen towel so excess moisture will drain away.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, blend the oil and sugar until lighter in color and slightly airy, then fold in the eggs and vanilla.
5. In a large bowl, add the almond flour and nutmeg; fold in the egg mixture, the raisins including the rum, the carrots, lemon juice and zest. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake, 30-40 min, or until the outer edges are lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting with the mascarpone cream.
6. To make the mascarpone cream, by hand or in the food processor, combine the mascarpone, rum, sugar, and lemon juice and pulse until creamy.
7. Finally, add the pine nuts to a dry pan and toast them over medium heat, keeping an eye on them the whole time because they burn quickly.
8. Frost the top of the cooled cake with the cream, allowing it to run down the sides. Garnish with the pine nuts.

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