I’ve had a jar of dried lemon myrtle leaves sitting in my spice pantry for several months now; an impulse purchase when I spotted packs of them at my local Fiji Market. They’re probably almost due to be thrown out as they don’t smell as strong as they first did when I opened the packet – probably an indicator that the essential oils have dried up.
For those that are unfamiliar, lemon myrtle is an Australian native tree that’s endemic to rain forests in Queensland; something medicinally used by aborigines for thousands of years. The leaves made it into cooking for that refreshingly clean flavour and aroma that’s similar to lemongrass or lemon verbena. If I was a tea drinker I’m sure I’d be steeping leaves whenever I had it on hand.
I thought I’d give my spent lemon myrtle leaves one last hurrah before they got scattered amongst the mulch in the back garden. How about a cake?
It’s been well over a decade since I last made a carrot cake, so why not introduce an Australian native to the mix? I’ve used the base of a recipe I used to use at a café I worked at a long time ago. It’s a very dense and very moist cake that’s nothing short of decadent. I’ve done away with the typical cream cheese frosting and lightly iced it with lemon juice and sugar. More lemon made it into the batter as well as a decent piece of finely grated fresh ginger.
Ginger, lemon, lemon myrtle and carrot?
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Line the base of a 23 cm springform pan with baking paper, then grease the base and sides. Set aside.
Place the eggs, caster sugar, vanilla, oil and ¼ cup lemon juice into a large mixing bowl. Mix well using a wooden spoon. Add the carrot, ginger and lemon zest and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder and lemon myrtle, stir thoroughly and pour the batter into the prepared baking tin. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when tested.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing the cake and cooling completely on a wire rack.
Combine the icing ingredients and mix well until the sugar has dissolved. Brush or pour it over the top of the cake, reserving a little to drizzle over more when sliced. Best served at room temperature.
* I used Brookfarm macadamia oil infused with lemon myrtle.