Carrot Christmas tea loaf

I've long been wondering whether you can sneak vegetables into a tea loaf - and it turns out you can. I've added lots of dried fruit and mixed spice to this one to make it taste really Christmassy, seeing as there's still over a week to go before I can tuck into my Christmas cake, but you could make this any time of year really. For a lighter version you could use soft brown sugar instead and cut down on the dried fruit.

Carrot Christmas tea loaf

20g candied orange peel, chopped
150g butter, softened
150g dark muscavado sugar
175g carrots, peeled and grated
2 large eggs, beaten
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
100g mixed dried fruit (currants, sultanas, cranberries) 
1 tbsp milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin with baking paper.

Place the butter, sugar, carrots, eggs, flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl and beat well until blended. Add the candied peel and dried fruit and stir in well. If necessary add the milk to give it a dropping consistency. Spoon it into the tin.

Bake in the oven for around an hour until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. This took around an hour and ten minutes in my oven. Leave to cook in the tin for a few minutes then turn out and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

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This recipe was amended on 10 December 2015.