Nigella Lawson shares most ‘divine’ carrot cake recipe

“I long thought that carrot cake was an American invention, until I found out that an early version was made by Venetian Jews,” said Nigella Lawson.

While an American carrot cake has a sweet cream-cheese filling, Nigella’s carrot cake has no dairy, nor gluten (unless wanted).

Nigella explained: “I decided to use ground almonds in place of flour to keep the gluten-averse brigade happy, too.”

While her carrot cake is free from dairy and gluten, there is the option of topping the carrot cake with mascarpone cream.

“It is divine to eat,” Nigella promised about her Venetian carrot cake. “It tastes perfect.”

Venetian carrot cake

Serves: eight to 10 slices


For the carrot cake

  • Three x 15ml tablespoons toasted pinenuts
  • Two medium carrots
  • 75g golden sultanas
  • 60ml
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 125ml olive oil, plus some for greasing
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Three large eggs
  • 250g ground almonds
  • Half a teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Finely grated zest and juice of half of unwaxed lemon

For the mascarpone cream (optional)

  • 250g mascarpone cheese
  • Two teaspoons of icing sugar
  • Two x 15ml tablespoons of rum



Preheat the oven to 180C (160°C fan/gas mark four/350°F). Line the base of the cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides with olive oil.

Toast the pine nuts, grate the carrots, and then wrap the carrot slices in kitchen roll to soak up excess liquid.

Put the golden sultanas in a small saucepan with the rum, bring to the boil, turn down and simmer for three minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and oil until mixed.

Whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, then fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, grated carrots, golden sultanas, and the lemon zest and its juice.

Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

Sprinkle the toasted pine nuts over the cake and put it into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the cake sit in its tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing it from the tin and leaving it on the rack to cool.

Remove the cake to a plate to serve; mix the mascarpone with the icing sugar and rum and put in a bowl to spoon alongside.

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