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Sugarless carrot cake

Just because you are trying to avoid refined cane sugar, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself this weekend. Introducing our sugarless carrot cake, filled with extra dates and pecans for an even richer flavour.

MAKES 1 // COOKING TIME 1 hour 15 min, plus cooling time

For the cake
Butter, to grease
375 g flour, plus extra to dust
375 g xylitol
1½ cups vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup pitted, chopped dates
3 cups peeled, grated carrots
60 g pecans, most chopped, a few reserved to decorate
For the icing
60 g xylitol, finely ground and sifted
500g smooth cottage cheese
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla essence
Cherries, to decorate

For the cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease three 20 cm round springform cake tins with butter and dust with flour.
2. In a bowl, beat together the xylitol, oil and eggs until thickened, light and fluffy, then set aside. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then add the dates, carrots and chopped pecans, and fold in.
4. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and bake for 40–45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
5. Remove the cakes from the oven and place on wire racks to cool for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and leave to cool completely.
For the icing
1. Beat together the xylitol and cottage cheese until smooth.
2. Mix in the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla essence.
3. To assemble, layer the 3 cakes with icing in-between them. Top with more icing, whole pecans and cherries.

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