Roasted hazelnut and carrot cake

Artisan Foods’ soft, nutty and satisfyingly squidy take on the perennial favourite

When you ask Uwe, the bakery manager, what his secret ingredient is, his answer is “made with love”, explains Iris of Artisan Foods. “We are not a factory.” As an occasional sampler of supermarket-bought cakes (we know, we know, but needs must sometimes) it’s a claim we can verify happily.

There is a clear, polythened distance between Uwe’s artisanal baking and those cold, soulless slabs—and that’s before you come to the ingredients list, which in the former comprises the finest ingredients Britain (mostly via Borough Market) has to offer, and in the latter does not often bear perusing.

You can see it in the form of the cake—the soft, carrot-mottled sponge, the hand piped icing—and you can see it in the cut of each fat, generous and satisfyingly sticky wedge.

Ancient mills
“It is a scrumptious cake,” says Iris simply. Artisan’s bakers use organic carrots, oranges and eggs from Ted’s Veg, and organic wholemeal flour from ancient mills in Gloucestershire. Carrot cake can be something of a cliché in baking, but the roasted hazelnuts take this cake down a road your common or garden carrot cake rarely treads.

Notes of burnt caramel, autumn walks in the woodland, bonfire smoke—their warmth envelops the otherwise zesty kick of the carrots, before being cooled by the orangey mascarpone icing which adds “a yummy finish”, Iris concludes. Because, as the GBBO contestants discover daily, a classic will only bear so much twist.