Fussy eaters and ‘self-appointed professional food critics’ keep any family cook on his/her toes. I find that as soon as I get obsessed with a new lunchbox recipe, my family get bored with it.
They have no IDEA how much SUFFERING I go through to find one acceptable recipe.
I’m hopeful though, I seem to have a mostly co-operative lot who are game to try my new creations. However, once my new found lunchbox favourite drops off their favourite list and comes home uneaten, I know its time to move on to greener pastures.
Therefore I am a woman always hunting for new recipes. I sniff out new recipes at the work lunchroom and I ask random people to share recipes with me. I clip a new recipe to my evernote every week day and trawl through food blogs during my spare time. Each time I find one that ticks the nut-free box, I know I’ve found a lunchbox candidate. When I find the ‘full of veg but able to tempt a 4 yr old’ recipe, I know I’ve landed a lunch & dinner special.
I love this recipe because each time it comes back into rotation in my household, I have little mouths telling me how delicious it is between mouthfuls and asking me if they can take it to school/daycare. I love it because it’s full of carrots and seeds and has no nuts. I can also whip this up even when I’ve forgotten to stock up on milk and butter because the carrot and oil provide all the moisture.
Now that the kids are growing, my oldest child grates the carrots (my most hated job!) and it seriously takes only a couple of minutes to mix everything together. The only delay is usually my middle child asking to taste the flour and baking powder and salt and….everything else, and then rephrasing the request to ‘can I smell the nutmeg and the cinnamon’ when I refuse. We’re all good though, I get the opportunity to practice my deep breathing and patience.
What you’ll need
1½ cups plain whole grain flour ( e.g. whole wheat, oat flour, buckwheat)
1 cup brown or raw sugar
¾ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg or ginger
2½ cups grated carrots (about 4 large carrots)
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup flaxseeds or golden linseeds
½ cup sultanas or raisins
Frosting (Optional but not lunchbox friendly)
250g cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup icing sugar
1½ tablespoons lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF).
- Place the sugar and oil in the bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the eggs gradually and beat well.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg/ginger over the sugar mixture.
- Add the carrot, all the seeds and sultanas/raisins and mix until just combined.
- Pour into either a) 22cm-round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper; or b) muffin trays lined with cup cake baking paper; or c) 25cm l x 12cm d x 17cm w rectangular baking dish lined with non-stick baking paper
- Pop in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes or until golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean (about 20 minutes for the muffin sizes)
- Cool in tin then turn out onto wire racks.
For the frosting
- Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer or in a food processor until smooth.
- Add the icing sugar and lemon juice and beat until smooth.
- Spread frosting on the cooled cake.