Carrot and Pineapple Cake

This recipe is from a handwritten recipe book I bought many years ago at a church bazaar in a town called Smithfield, which is located in the true South African platteland. I have often wondered who the owner of the book was; this person with the neat, clear print and an obvious love for food. The pages are yellow and quite brittle and in some places there are traces of oils spilled onto the paper. The book and its many recipes tell a story of a life lived around food; as nourishment and a daily necessity, of preserving the abundance of the vegetable garden, and a life filled with cooking and baking in order to bring joy to others. This carrot and pineapple cake represents the author of this special book. It is filled with nourishment, deliciousness and one of the very best cakes I have ever eaten. Bake it as an ode to the mysterious writer of this very special book. May you enjoy preparing and eating it as much as I do.

625ml cake flour

10ml baking powder

7,5ml bicarbonate of soda

15ml mixed spice

5ml salt

375ml brown sugar

310ml sunflower oil

62,5ml smooth apricot jam

4 eggs

500ml grated carrot

1x 440g tin of crushed pineapple, drained (or 250ml of fresh pineapple, blitzed and drained)

125ml pecan nuts, roughly chopped

Preheat your oven to 190℃.

Sift the cake flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice and salt into a bowl.

Beat the sugar and oil in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, until well blended.

Add small amounts of the apricot jam to the mixture while running the machine on a medium speed.

Add the eggs one by one. Once the eggs are incorporated, run the mixer on high speed for about 2 minutes.

Add the carrot, pineapple and nuts and mix well on a low speed.

Take the bowl from the mixer and sift the dry ingredients over the wet mixture. Fold the two mixture together with a spatula until well blended.

Grease a 28cm tube cake tin and sprinkle with dry breadcrumbs to coat the inside surface.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes. Test the cake to see if its done by inserting a wooden skewer into the centre. If the skewer comes out clean the cake is done, if not, put the cake back into the oven for another ten minutes or so.

Once you have taken the cake from the oven, allow it to firm and cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool.

This cake is moist and fresh and needs nothing more added to it, however, I do sometimes make a mixture of icing sugar and lemon juice to pour over it. Feel free to add a classic cream cheese icing if you wish and a sprinkling of pecan nuts to round it off.

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