“I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.”
Mae West

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone FrostingCarrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting …  a carrot cake doesn’t get better than this. I’ve made a few in the past. One from Ottolenghi, the Cookbook, and then another a few weeks ago with butter instead of oil. The one with butter was kind of OK. This one a few days ago was fabulous! Sang out loud you can say….

CarrotsA few days ago, my ‘almost good for nothing‘ gardener harvested the last bunch of carrots from my little patch. They were so pretty. I made a chicken, carrot and broccoli stir fried rice for the kids. Some were shared with labourers working in the area. I still had quite a few. I knew it was time for carrot cake.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting The recipe I picked was the BBC Good Food ‘Yummy Scrummy Carrot Cake’ recipe. I adapted it slightly, and it turned out to be the best carrot cake ever … yummy scrummy too as they declare it to be. I’m not going to need another recipe for carrot cake again.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting I substituted a few things. Skipped the raisins and threw in walnuts, used some whole wheat flour too. Changed the frosting entirely. Once again made the cardinal error of forgetting that the recipe said self raising flour. Forgot to add baking powder, and used just baking soda! Call it good fortune. I got the best cake ever!

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting Frosting? In the fridge was some leftover homemade mascarpone from the Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Strawberry Mascarpone Gateau. I spiked the frosting with a teeny dash of  Grand Marnier {isn’t necessary though}. I also added a tbsp of homemade bitter kumquat marmalade to the whipped frosting.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting I licked the bowl clean after I was done frosting … it was that good! To tie the flavours and colours together, I added slivers of walnuts {a nut slicer is quite handy here}, and snipped some candied orange over the top. Garnishing is the fun part, therapeutic too. I love the whimsical slivers of walnuts on the top,  and the contrast of the orange against the deep white mascarpone frosting.

Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting Time for the taste test. as it was time for the teens to come in from school. Vegetables in a cake is always scary ground. I offered them a square each. It hit the spot with both. They had seconds, the lad thirds. Kept praising it.  I think it was the frosting that added to the appeal of the cake. It’s a nice Easter Carrot Cake! Simple too.

Media mention

As I go, I’d like to share a little feature about Passionate About Baking that The Crest Edition of  The Times of India carried yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised to find myself there as I flipped through the pages sipping my morning coffee. Thank you TOI!!

[print_this]Recipe: Carrot Walnut Cake with Mascarpone Frosting your picture


Light, moist, full of flavour, this Carrot Walnut Cake is the best I’ve ever made. Walnuts, orange, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg and whole wheat all give this great texture and taste! Adapted from BBC Good Food

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

  • Carrot Walnut Cake
  • 200g light muscovado sugar
  • 175ml sunflower oil
  • 3 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • 140g grated carrots (about 3 medium)
  • grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 100g walnuts
  • 125g plain flour
  • 45g whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Frosting
  • 100g low fat cream, chilled
  • 50g icing sugar {to taste}
  • 150g mascarpone, chilled
  • 1 tbsp bitter orange marmalade
  • 1 tbsp Grand Marnier {optional}
  • Sliced walnuts, candied orange peel etc for garnishing


  1. Carrot Cake
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the base and sides of an 8″ square baking tin.
  3. Place the sugar, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Whisk with a wooden spoon until mixed.
  4. Add the oranges zest, carrots and walnuts. Whisk to mix.
  5. Add the baking soda, whisk again, and then add both flours. Mix until just blended and pour batter into baking tin
  6. Bake for about 45 minutes until done.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Frosting
  9. Place all ingredients in large bowl and whip until thick. Taste and adjust for sweetness.
  10. Spread frosting over cake. Garnish with snipped candied orange peel, slivered walnuts etc.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

  “Happy Easter. May happy thoughts and springtime flowers brighten all your Easter hours.”
Author Unknown

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsSo what are you making for Easter Mr PAB asked, referring to the ever ‘hungry’ blog! Moi? I had no plans but he talked me into some. Having studied in convents all my life, I’ve been charmed by hot cross buns for long, long, but never baked a batch. Maybe this was the time! Soon enough,  the sweet aroma of Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns wafted gently through the house!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

A hot cross bun is a sweet, spiced bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top, traditionally eaten on Good Friday. In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion. Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten.

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsMy version is non traditional yet quite delicious! I bookmarked a few recipes including one in my Thermomix cookbook, but eventually went for an oft used basic recipe. It’s the one I adapted for Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pull-Apart Loaf & Popovers from The Pioneer Woman, a ‘light as air’ flavourful dough, one that can take a stuffing, and is quite a fun dough to play with!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsStuffing? Yes indeed! I had a small idea creeping into my head as I had strawberries calling to be roasted yet again. I wanted to try adding a small ‘heart‘ of that roasted goodness into my hot cross buns. I cooked the syrup to a thick reduction to ensure the filling stayed ‘stuffed’ in! Also, instead of traditional currants I opted for chocolate chips.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsThe recipe never fails. For the ‘cross’ on top I piped some thick stirred plain flour and water. The buns were delicious and disappeared pretty soon. The red heart of roasted balsamic strawberries was a nice surprise as you bit through the bread flooding your palette with flavour and balsamic sweetness. It paired well, as does the chocolate, with an otherwise not too sweet bread.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsButtermilk keeps the dough light, and the vanilla bean adds gentle, beautiful flavour. If I had placed the buns apart on a large baking sheet I’d have managed individual hot cross buns, but since I used a smaller baking pan, they rose into each other and resulted in a pull apart bread. No regrets however!!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsI like this dough recipe, and keep simplifying it as I use it more and more. The basic dough is eggless, butter free and light. Yeast, soda and baking powder combine to make sure it rises well. Its versatile too as I’ve used it in Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread some time ago. More recently it popped up on PAB as the base of Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry and Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls.Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip BunsIt’s one those recipes you can keep returning to, experiment with and enjoy in different avatars. I might try using the dough for a slow overnight rise sometime soon. So many ideas to keep the hungry PAB and kids happy, but often the lack of time!Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns

[print_this]Recipe: Hot Cross Strawberry Chocolate Chip Buns
your picture

Summary: Light and airy hot cross buns made with a yeasted {eggless] buttermilk dough flavoured with vanilla beans and chocolate chips. A sweet roasted balsamic strawberry reduction floods the palette as you bite through the otherwise not so sweet bun.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes plus resting time

  • Buttermilk Dough
  • 240ml {1 cup} buttermilk, room temperature
  • 70gm {1/4 cup} granulated sugar
  • 60g {1/4 cup} extra light olive oil, or any neutral oil
  • 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 270gm {2 1/4 cups} all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • Filling
  • 50gm {1/4 cup} unsalted butter, melted
  • 100gm dark chocolate, chopped {good quality}
  • 1 serving roasted balsamic strawberries {recipe follows}
  • Icing
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • Enough water to make it into a thick paste {approximately 1/4 cup or less}
  • Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  • 225gm strawberries
  • 30gm  {2tbsp} brown sugar
  • 15ml {1tbsp} balsamic vinegar


  1. Buttermilk Dough
  2. In a large bowl or  your food processor,  place all the dry ingredients, followed by the oil and buttermilk. Knead to a soft pliable dough. It will be sticky. Cover and let it rise for at least an hour.
  3. {Thermomix: Place all ingredients in TM bowl. Mix at Speed 6 for 5 seconds. Knead at intermittent speed for 2 minutes. Leave dough in TH for an hour until it doubles. Cover TM if weather is cold.}
  4. Assembling:
  5. Roll the dough into a large rectangle. Spread 1/3rd of the butter over it, and sprinkle half the chocolate chips over. Fold over twice like you would do puff pastry and repeat again with 1/3rd butter and the remaining chocolate chips.
  6. Divide the dough into half, then into 6 equal portions each. You should have 12 portions. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll the dough into balls.
  7. Take a ball of dough, flatten on the palm of your hand, place a scant tsp of completely cooled roasted balsamic strawberries on it, and pull the edges over it to cover the filling. Gently roll back into a ball, ensuring that the filling is trapped in. Place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet/pan.
  8. Repeat with remaining balls of dough.
  9.  Allow to rise covered while you make the flour mix for the cross and preheat the oven to 220C.
  10. Mix the flour gradually with the water to get a thick paste. Place into a ziploc bag, snip off a corner and pipe crosses over the dough balls.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes on 220C, reduce the heat to 200C and continue to bake for a further 10-15 minutes until nice and golden. Paint with the remaining butter as soon as the buns come out of the oven.
  12. Serve warm or at room temperature.
  13. {Caution: Don’t be tempted to bite into a hot ‘hot cross bun’ as the filling might burn your mouth.}
  14. Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  15. Toss the quartered strawberries well with the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes until nice and bubbly, stirring once or twice. Strain the strawberries and reserve in a bowl. Place the liquid in a pan and reduce over heat until nice and thick. We need a thick strawberry reduction for the stuffing! Cool completely, transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate until needed.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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