Valentine's Cake

A delicious lightly spiced passion cake baked in a romantic heart-shaped tin. Iced with a luscious lemon-flavoured cream cheese icing.

Valentine's Cake

Ingredients

Cake
250ml mild/light olive oil
250g soft light brown sugar
4 large eggs
Zest of 1 large orange
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
125g wholemeal flour
125g plain flour, sifted
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
100g chopped nuts (optional) walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds
150g sultanas
250g finely grated carrot

Icing
100g butter, softened
200g full-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
200g icing sugar, sifted
Chopped pistachios, dried fruit or edible flowers for decorating

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/Gas Mark 3.
2. To make the cake, combine the olive oil, sugar, eggs, orange zest and vanilla extract together in a large bowl.
3. Add the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, salt and mix.
4. Stir in the chopped nuts, sultanas and grated carrot.
5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 50-55 minutes or until the centre is firm and a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin for 10-15 minutes before removing the spring-form cuff and transferring the cake from the base onto a wire rack to cool. For easy transfer of moist or sticky cakes lay a piece of baking paper over the base of the tin and fix the springform cuff over it.

To make the icing
1. Blend the softened butter and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth and creamy using a hand-held or stand electric mixer.
2. Beat in the fine lemon zest and juice. Once combined, add the icing sugar gradually and continue to beat until the icing is light and airy.
3. Split the cooled cake in half horizontally and spread 1/3 of the icing over the base, replace the top and cover the whole cake in the remaining icing. Use a palette knife to smooth over to ensure the heart shape is defined.
4. Decorate with chopped pistachios, dried fruit or edible flowers.

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