I should have called this Blog "A twist on Mary Berry's carrot cake"!
My friend Sheila's birthday and my housekeeper's birthday combined with the lack of baking margarine and butter in the house (I made the first of 6 small Christmas cakes for the church carnival hence empty fridge), resulted in a quick trawl through "la Berry". I have made her carrot cake before which uses sunflower oil, but had found it very plain, overly bananaed (she includes 2 bananas) and not carrotty enough- all major flaws in my book. Not a raisin insight either! To add insult to injury her cream cheese topping is basically just cream cheese, lemon juice and honey - not a drop of icing sugar. This does not "a birthday cake make" in my books! So I did some adaptations of my own.
Using her recipe (and by the way it doubles very easily as I made 2 cakes), I used an extra carrot in addition to her weight of carrots, only 1/2 a banana in each cake mixture, a good half cup of raisins and sultanas per cake mixture, some vanilla essence and a handful of chopped dates. I omitted the walnuts as I did not have any, but last time I replaced them with pecans which worked well. I also added a teaspoonful of cinnamon and one of ginger. In place of the 2 tablespoons of milk, I used some greek yoghurt and added enough to get the batter to a good cake consistency which dropped gloopily off the spoon - not too thick otherwise the crumb will be big and crumbly.As you can see - the cake gets a crack on top but that is fine and although it looked quite firm when it came out of the oven, by the time it cooled, it was quite soft.
When the birthday girl cut her cake, the cake was very soft and had a really good texture. The verdict - the guests at the tea party thought it was scrummy. Many good comments and no negatives apart from "it's quite rich with that icing". It does not rise very high but maybe that was due to the width of my cake tin. I am sure someone with elegant tastes could pipe rosettes and place some walnuts on top!
I think my version is worth trying as is Mary Berry's and you make up your own mind.