Turn your spare and ugly-looking vegetables into cake

Sheena has ditched the topping to make her carrot cake healthier

Sheena has ditched the topping to make her carrot cake healthier

There’s only one problem with having a sack full of wonky carrots.

It’s the perfect excuse to eat cake.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the scandal of food waste and how huge amounts of vegetables don’t even make it off the fields or are sold as animal feed, just because they are deemed too imperfect for supermarket shelves.

Regular readers may recall that, unable to buy any of the ugly veg being sold off cheaply as part of a trial at five distant Asda stores, I instead bought a 10kg sack of carrots for £2.70 from a pet food store close to where I live.

The carrots are misshapen, broken or just not very pretty. But guess what? They taste the same as prettier, far more expensive carrots. And, because I’ve got so many, buying them has definitely helped me on the way to my five fruit and veg a day. I’ve used them in salads, as a side veg, as crudites. I’ve shared them with the pet guinea pigs and made big vats of carrot and coriander soup. But, I have to confess, I’ve also developed a liking - even a love - for carrot cake. It’s not quite as bad as it sounds.

My carrot cake is actually more of a loaf. I’ve dispensed with the calorie-laden, filling and topping to make it a little more healthy and, if I didn’t know better (which, sadly, I do), I’d be tempted to say it comes close to being a complete, nutritious meal in itself.


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My recipe comes from Suffolk’s own Delia Smith (who, many years ago, taught me to cook omelettes. But that’s another story). It not only contains 200g of grated carrots but other goodies, including sultanas, orange zest and walnuts. And, I have to tell you, it is delicious.

I’ve been making an industrial-sized loaf each week since buying my carrot sack and, as I keep trying to tell myself, despite the sugar, it must be a little bit good for me. Surely? Certainly better than most cakes.

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It seems I’m not the only one to wonder. ‘Is carrot cake good for you?’ is a popular question on internet search engines. And the answers are not all bad. According to one site, grating and cooking carrot increases the amounts of beta-carotene (a source of vitamin A) that can be absorbed by our digestive systems. Add oil, as you do in carrot cake, and it boosts the beta-carotene still further.

I think I need a slice of cake to celebrate....

Email sheena.grant@eadt.co.uk or tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

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