Coming back from Crete with a bottle of carob syrup in my suitcase, I wanted to bake something with it. I struggled to find a cake recipe to my liking on the web so I mixed a few recipes to get to this one.
Carob syrup (or molasses) is a natural liquid sweetener quite common in Crete and Middle Eastern countries. Australia also grows carob trees (see at the end of this post a list of stores where you can buy it when you are not in Greece). It is extracted from the pods of the carob tree (see below photos taken in South Crete last year). It has a very dark colour and can replace honey, agave syrup and sugar. Be aware that it has a bit of a bitter taste though. I personally prefer to use it in cakes or in my Greek style granola.
After a first failed trial: when I realized that the cooled cake was sitting on my kitchen countertop next to the eggs that were supposed to go in it…the texture was too compact; the second attempt was a success! This is the cake you see on the photos.
I had a few friends taste both of them and got different comments such as: “there is banana in it”, “nice chocolate cake”! The dark colour of the carob syrup makes it look like a chocolate cake for sure. As for me, there was a nice caramel smell in my kitchen when baking and also when I tasted it…and you, what will you taste? In any case, it is a yummy cake for this autumnal season.
120g olive oil
5g baking soda
150g hazelnut meal
150g carob syrup
5-8 crushed hazelnuts
Preheat oven at 180°C/350°F
Mix eggs with sugar until foamy and pale. Add olive oil.
Mix flour, baking soda and hazelnut meal and pour into the egg mixture.
Finally add carob syrup and the pears processed into a purée.
Pour into a greased and floured loaf pan.Sprinkle with the crushed hazelnuts. Bake for 40-45 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 5-10 min before removing from the pan.
Note: for a stronger nutty taste you could experiment with chestnut flour: cut down the plain flour to 150g and replace by 50g of chestnut flour.
You can find carob syrup in fine Greek grocery stores, Kilikio in Paris is an example, or online here:
These are only suggestions (non affiliated links), there might be plenty other options closer to you.