This cake is definitely a blast from the past. When I grew up, the country was going through all the traumas of the communist regime, and very often the food was rationed. I can’t remember the exact quantities, but for a family of 4 we had a 2l of oil and 2 kg of flour, and some butter per month. No chocolate or snacks. No coffee either. Instead of coffee, we had chicory coffee. Instead of chocolate we had coco powder and we used to make a faux chocolate salami. But when we didn’t have cocoa powder, we had carob. To be honest, we even used burnt sugar to make a cake resemble chocolate in flavour. But that’s another recipe.
For now, I’m giving you my version of a carob cake, with no butter or eggs. I used two types of flour, but you can use only plain. I used pears but apples go very well in here too. I used cardamon, but cinnamon is a good alternative. I used walnuts, but frankly, any other type of nut will work too.
Carob is first of all a tree. My grandmother used to have one in her garden, but I don’t think she ever used it in anything. It was for decoration.
The tree produces pods, similar to broad bean pods, of a brown-red colour. Inside, there are little seeds that can be ground into a flour and used to replace coco powder, the flavour is very similar, perhaps a little caramelised. Carob appears to have more health benefits than coco powder, but I am not looking into this. Diversity in our diets is more important than counting the benefits of everything we eat.
So, before making this cake, put 2 teaspoons of carob powder in a mug, add water and a dusting of cinnamon and enjoy a very delicious drink that will also help with sugar cravings (just sayin’)
Here is the recipe:
175g plain flour + 75g almond flour
150g caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
50ml olive or rapeseed oil
100g jam (apricot, orange marmalade, plum jam…or any)
50g chopped walnuts/almonds/hazelnuts (optional)
3 small pears – diced
Grease and line a 23x13cm loaf tin. Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
In a bowl, mix the two types of flour, sugar, carob and bicarbonate together. Separately, mix the oil and the jam with the water, add to the dry ingredients, and combine well. Add the walnuts and the pears. Pour the mixture in the tin and bake in for 35 minutes, then turn the heat off and allow the cake to cool in the oven.
Depending on what else you have in the fridge, a little whipped cream with a dash of whiskey can be a fabulous addition.